About the Appalachian Trail in New Jersey

Overview

72.2 miles*

The Appalachian Trail in New Jersey presents one of the most interesting continuous geologic features of the entire trail.

Kittatinny Mountain is a 40-plus mile ridge with several distinct summits stretching from High Point, New Jersey (1803’) to Wind Gap, some 15 miles into Pennsylvania.

Not surprisingly, the name “Kittatinny” derives from a Lenape Native American word meaning “endless hill” or “great mountain”. The range was formed during three geologic episodes. The first (1,000 million years ago), formed peaks as high as today’s Rocky Mountains and trapped sedimentary Paleozoic rocks (including sandstone, shale and limestone) between large blocks of Precambrian rocks (mostly granite), formed by intense heat and compression.

The resulting erosion by streams, wind, and glaciers left the nearly continuous and remarkably consistent in elevation mountain range that we see today. The only major breaks in the range occur at Culvers Gap and Delaware Water Gap. Both of these breaks showcase the power of water. While the range rose, the water continued to cut its way through. In the case of Delaware Water Gap, the Delaware River won. It still cuts through the gap to this day. Culver Gap tells a different story. Here the river successfully cut through the gap for a time but was then “captured” by the Flat Brook system on the west side of the range. The water stopped owing through the gap and this break in the range became known as a “wind gap”.

* 2006-2011 data compiled by the Appalachian Trail Conservancy

Selected Highlights on the AT in New Jersey

Sunrise Mountain

The Sunrise Mountain Picnic Shelter was built in the 1930s by the Civilian Conservation Corps. The views from the ridge (1650′) are far-flung, as is true with most places along this stretch.

Pochuck Boardwalk

Pochuck Boardwalk Built for only $36,000 (thanks to an incredible number of donated work hours), the 1.5-mile-long Pochuck Boardwalk and 110-foot suspension bridge took 24 years to plan and seven years to build. In addition to getting the trail off busy area roads and providing a safer hiking experience, the boardwalk provides excellent wildlife viewing. Over 200 species of birds are known to frequent the marsh and it’s filled with endangered and threatened plants as well.

Best Section Hike in New Jersey

High Point, NJ to Fox Gap, PA (N to S) - 49.9 miles

I love this hike. You basically follow the same ridge with little change in elevation for 40-plus miles. The two things to be prepared for are the potential lack of water and the fact that this area has one of the highest concentrations of bears in the eastern US. Please take the necessary precautions, including cooking and eating food away from lean-tos, tents, or hammocks and storing food correctly.

Get Ready to Hike the AT

Interested in hiking the AT? You may find Appalachian Odyssey a useful resource. I section-hiked the AT over nearly three decades with a good friend and we learned a lot! Includes profile maps of all 28 section hikes, 80+ color photos and a great feel for what it’s like to hike the various sections.

Interested in the history of the AT? How the trail came into being is the subject of my book, Blazing Ahead.

If you have any questions about trip planning, please contact me by email at jeff@jeffryanauthor.com. I look forward to hearing from you.

If you are interested in hiking the trail, you may find my book Appalachian Odyssey: A 28-year hike on America’s trail a useful resource. I section-hiked the AT over nearly three decades with a good friend and we learned a lot!

If you are interested in the history of the Appalachian Trail  —  how the trail came into existence in the first place and the powerful personalities that got it built — you may enjoy my book, Blazing Ahead: Benton MacKaye, Myron Avery and the Rivalry that Built the Appalachian Trail.

If you have any questions about trip planning, please contact me on Twitter (@JeffRyanAuthor) or by email (jeff@jeffryanauthor.com). I look forward to hearing from you.

 

*Based on 2006-2011 data compiled by the Appalachian Trail Conservancy.