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 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.
Striped Maple was found growing along the trail. Striped Maple is a small tree (15-30 feet tall) that is found usually in Northern NJ. 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:
For fauna we spotted a Common Raven.
The trail provides a good opportunity for nature study, beautiful views, and a good workout.
Take Route 23 approximately 7 miles north of the town of Sussex, NJ, or 4 miles south of Port Jervis, NY.
Feel free to comment below with any bird sightings, interesting plants, memories or suggestions! Thank you and have fun exploring!