High Point State Park is a 15,654 acre park which extends eight miles southwest from the NY State border. The park is connected to Stokes State Forest and is located in the Kittatinny Mountains in Sussex County NJ. High Point State Park was donated to the state of NJ by Colonel Anthony and Susie Kuser in 1923 as a public nature preserve.
The day we visited we took the Monument trail located near High Point Monument. The monument was built by the Kusers for wartime heroes and is located at 1,803 feet above sea level which is the highest point in the state of NJ. Views seen from the monument include the Pocono Mountains in PA and the Catskill Mountains in NY.
The 3.7 mile Monument Trail was constructed in the late 1930s by the Civilian Conservation Corps and follows a mountain ridge. Scattered throughout the trail are beautiful viewpoints such as the one below.
American Chestnut sprouts were especially plentiful in many spots on the trail. The American Chestnut was once a very important tree in the eastern seaboard forest until an exotic blight wiped out most of the mature trees over a hundred years ago. The blight only affects the tree structure and not the ancient root system of these once massive trees. The root system sends up new shoots over time. The American Chestnut Foundation is currently working on saving this once majestic tree and restoring its natural footprint.
Many Striped Maples were found, a tree that I have seen in many books but had not yet seen in person. Another bonus find was finding a few Pink Lady Slippers in seed. The Pink Lady slipper is considered endangered in NJ.
Other flora found on the hike include Big Toothed Aspen, Serviceberry, Winter Green , Black Huckleberry and Cottonwood. For fauna we spotted a common raven.
The trail provides a good opportunity for nature study, beautiful views, and a good workout. Check out more information on High Point State Park by clicking here.
Feel free to e-mail NJUrbanForest at NJUrbanForest@gmail.com with any comments, memories or suggestion! Thank you and have fun exploring!
I recently visited Wawayanda State Park with a mission to find spring wildflowers. We took part of the 1.8 mile William Hoeferlin trail (blue blaze) to the .7 of a mile Black Eagle Trail (green/white blaze). The Black Eagle Trail leads back to the park access road. You can check out these and other trails found at Wawayanda State Park here.
Pink Lady Slipper was first on the list. Pink Lady Slippers can live up to twenty years in the wild but take a long time to get established. There is no point in picking one in the wild to take home as it will quickly die outside of its natural habitat.
As I wandered along looking for more flowers I instead discovered two trees hugging.
Soon after, I found some downy yellow violets.
I finished off the hike by spotting some Trout Lily. Trout Lily is one of the earlier bloomers and one of the first to go usually by June.