This is the second highest peak along the Appalachian trail in NJ. Highpoint memorial tower, Wantage valley, Rattlesnake Mountain and Delaware River are all visible from this vista. A pavillion and benchmark were placed at this location by the CCC in 1931(rumor is that the pavillion was a rest and shoeing station for the pack mules and horses during the construction of the AT).
On a recent hike (6/18/05) I sighted a pair of young American Bald Eagles (one in full dress, the other an immature golden brown) among the many raptors that soar these skies. Gliders and stunt planes can often be seen to the northeast at the small Sussex County airfield.
Black Bears ARE active in this area, so please treat them with respect and dignity....DO NOT APPROACH! APPROACHING A BEAR MAY CAUSE RANGERS TO REMOVE OR EUTHANIZE THESE MAGNIFICENT ANIMALS!
Take I-80 to exit 34B and merge onto 15 North. Follow 15 North and here's where you make some choices.
For the weekend backpacker: Turn right at the light for Rt 94 and follow to the intersection at Rt 23, turn left on 23 North and follow that to HighPoint State Park, 2.5 miles north of Colesville, NJ and 6.0 miles south of Port Jervis, NY. Overnight parking and the AT trailhead are a few hundred feet south of the park headquarters on the west side of Rt 23. Rangers ask that all hikers register and get a parking permit at the Park Office. Once you're hiking, you can follow the AT south along the ridgeline (southbound) or follow the red blazed Iris trail to the left (old woods road) along a glacial erratic with several boulder fields and mountain lakes to the east. The AT and Iris trails intersect near Dutchshoe Rock and the Rutherford shelter and again at the Mashipicong shelter. There's usually water and 'magic' near the bear boxes at each shelter(many thanks to the trail angel, Desperado). Continue south on the AT to reach Sunrise Mtn. ENJOY!!
For the day hiker: Continue on 15 North until it intersects State Hwy 206 in Sussex county (near fair grounds). Follow 206 North to Culver's Lake. Just about a mile past the lake, you'll see an entrance to Stokes State Forest on the right, turn at the second right after the park sign and follow the signs for Appalachian Trail Parking. The trailhead is to the left of the park information sign at the north west corner of the lot. Walk north on the AT, passed the Gren Anderson shelter (dedicated to a hiker and trail maintainer) then continue to the Normanook (Culver's) Fire Tower and then on to the summit. It's a great afternoon hike on 5.6 miles of beautiful trail!
Finally, (but why?) you can also drive to the AT about 300 yards north of the pavilion by not turning into the Stokes parking lot and following that road to 5.8 miles to it's eastern terminus. The parking lot has a well marked trail that joins the AT to approach the summit
No matter how you get there, the views are tremendous from the top.
(distances and printable maps to follow)
This is the northmost vista in Stokes State Forest. It is patrolled by park rangers, but they seem to leave hikers alone after dusk. Camping is only permitted in designated spots. The sign at the entrance to the trail in the parking lot says 50ft off the trail, 150ft from a road. (take that as you will)
When To Climb
This mountain is accessible throughout the year. Winter is a little more difficult with icy rocks and stream crossings along the trails.
see red tape
All I can say is "wow!".....to think that this kind of beauty is less than 2 hours away from the buzzing metropolis of NYC and Philadelphia....it simply amazes me.
Bears can be heard from the summit and moving around in the woods. They're most active in the early morning in caves situated below the pavillion. Rarely do they make an appearance, but when they do, it's a photo op like no other you'll ever experience.