Jul 7, 2014 · 9:00 AM
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Join us for a difficult 20 mile hike between Bear Swamp Wildlife Management Area and Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area.
The route includes both on and off trail sections, as well as some pleasant back roads.
After meeting at Bear Swamp, we will shuttle with as few cars as possible to the starting point. We'll begin the hike by following sections of the Upper Ridge Trail system, then get on the Old Mine Road, first commercial road in the United States which operated between the Pahaquarry Mines and Kingston NY.
The Upper Ridge Trail is for the most part a long abandoned road which makes it's way through the hills of the northern part of the recreation area. We'll then make our way through fields and to abandoned roads as well as active dirt roads past historic farms including the 1795 Kyte Farm.
A section of Old Mine Road we will be walking is the one that was recently re-opened after being closed by one of the only remaining families with private land along the entire route. This will complete another leg of the Perimeter of NJ series.
We'll continue on Old Mine Road past the old Shappanack grave yard and head up the old Military Road to Walpack Center, the ghost town in the middle of the park.
We'll walk the road south of Walpack Center, then cross the bridge over the Flat Brook. From there, we continue further through fields and such, and we'll cut through an old farm site on our way south.
From here, we'll continue on a brief section of dirt road, then head along an unmarked trail to the amazing Hidden Falls, also known as Silver Sprays Falls. We'll continue above Hidden Falls, bushwhacking along the creek above it in search of more waterfalls.
On previous hikes in the vicinity, the off trail bushwhacking up these creeks revealed many hidden waterfalls we'd not have seen otherwise.
The creek will lead us up hill to Woods Road Trail. We'll turn left here and follow it until we reach the Appalachian Trail on Bird Mountain. We'll be on the AT briefly, then bushwhack off of it to a hidden rock outcrop and hopefully some more views.
Next, we'll embark on a difficult bushwhack down the ridge around rocky outcroppings to an old camp, then continue onto an area backroad. The backroads will lead us to Bear Swamp Wildlife Management Area.
We'll traverse the WMA property on and off trail and try to avoid the swamp lands as best we can. There appears to be an old woods road on the south side of the property that will get us most of the way back to the parking lot.
This hike is NOT gear toward beginners. There were be several very difficult sections, and the distance is greater than what we usually cover for a hike this difficult.