Culver Hearth Tower from Stony Lake – Stokes State Forest

August 13, 2022 – Sandyston, NJ

Problem: Average

Size: Roughly 5 miles

Max elevation: 1,568 ft.– whole elevation achieve roughly 700 ft.

Route kind: Circuit

Purchase Map: Delaware Water Gap & Kittatinny Trails Map #122 – 2021

Free Map: Stokes State Forest North 2018

Trailhead parking: Stony Lake Day Use Area – Sandyston, NJ 07826

Open day by day from 8:00 am to eight:00 pm. – Full service restrooms on web site

Entrance Charge: Free entry for the 2022 season


Overview:

Stokes State Forest is positioned within the Townships of Sandyston, Montague and Frankford in Sussex County, New Jersey. Stokes is comprised of 16,447 acres of mountainous woods within the Kittatinny Mountains, extending from the southern boundary of Excessive Level State Park southwestward to the japanese boundary of the Delaware Water Hole Nationwide Recreation Space. The park is operated and maintained by the New Jersey Division of Parks and Forestry.

The Stony Lake Day Use Space has 45 picnic tables with adjoining grills positioned subsequent to the eight-acre Stony Lake. Picnic tables and grills can be found on a primary come-first serve foundation. A toilet with flushing bogs is positioned on web site. At present, swimming is just not permitted at Stony Lake, or any of the lakes in Stokes State Forest. Entrance charges are charged from Memorial Day weekend to Labor Day.

Stony Lake Day Use Area - Stokes State Forest

Stony Lake Day Use Space – Stokes State Forest

A view of the whole Stokes State Forest could also be had from the Culver Hearth Tower which is located on Culver Ridge, previously often called Normanook, positioned within the coronary heart of the Kittatinny Mountains, about one mile northeast of Culver Hole. The broad Wallkill and Paulins Kill Valleys, the main a part of the forested Kittatinny Mountains from the Delaware Water Hole to Excessive Level, and stretches of Pike County, Pennsylvania and Orange County, NY, could also be seen from this vantage level.

Culvers Station Lookout - Stokes State Forest

Culvers Station Lookout – Stokes State Forest


Historical past:

Stokes State Forest was named after Edward C. Stokes, governor of New Jersey from 1905 to 1908, who personally donated the primary 500 acres to the state to determine the park. The forest began with 5,932 acres after the State of New Jersey bought one other 5,432 acres within the Kittatinny Mountains. Further acquisitions through the years by the State of New Jersey, have introduced the forest to its present measurement of 16,447 acres.

Stokes State Forest was residence to 2 Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) camps throughout the 1930’s, Camp S-57 and Camp S-71. From 1933 to 1942, the CCC males of Stokes constructed Dawn Mountain Highway, constructed plenty of the forest’s intensive path system, erected the pavilions, lean-tos, and cabins, dammed streams to create Lake Ocquittunk and Skellinger Lake, and planted tons of of timber all through the forest. The New Jersey Faculty of Conservation now occupies the websites of the deserted CCC camps. Pictured under are members of the Civilian Conservation Corps Camp S-51 in September of 1933 in Stokes State Forest.

CCC Camp S-51 - September 1933

CCC Camp S-51 – September 1933

Culvers Station Lookout was initially established in 1908 and the location was first often called the Normanook Hearth Tower. In 1918, a metal tower was constructed and was staffed by a state observer. The current Aermotor 47′ tower, with a 7’x7′ cab, was erected in 1933 and sits at an elevation of roughly 1,509 ft above sea degree. The lookout is positioned within the Appalachian Path hall on Culver Ridge in Stokes State Forest, Sussex County, New Jersey. Culvers Station lately obtained a brand new coat of paint in 2022. It was positioned on the Nationwide Historic Lookout Register on August 1, 1992.

Culvers Station Lookout - Stokes State Forest

Culvers Station Lookout – Stokes State Forest

The Gren Anderson Shelter was in-built 1958 by members of the New York Part of the Inexperienced Mountain Membership in reminiscence of their president, 1956-57, below the sponsorship of the NY– NJ Path Convention.

Gren Anderson Shelter - Stokes State Forest

Gren Anderson Shelter – Stokes State Forest


Trails Overview:

A 12.5-mile-long part of the Appalachian Path follows the Kittatinny Mountain Ridge by Stokes State Forest. Along with the Appalachian Path, there are greater than 63 miles of marked trails inside Stokes State Forest along with the 17-mile-long Blue Mountain Loop Path. Trails range in size from one half mile to 4 miles, and over terrains starting from flat lowlands to rocky mountains. Most of the trails join, providing the hiker quite a lot of journeys from an hour to a full day.

Trails used on this hike:

Stony Brook Path (brown blazes – 1.6 miles) ~ Begins out heading northeast on a woods street that ascends very regularly. After about 0.8 mile, the brown-blazed path turns proper and heads in a southerly route because it ascends extra steeply on a rocky path. After 1.6 miles and an elevation achieve of about 458 ft, it ends at a T-intersection with the Appalachian Path on the forested ridge.

Appalachian Path (white blazes – 1.1 mile) ~ Heads south alongside the forested ridge for simply over a mile, gaining about 160 ft of elevation upon arriving on the Culvers Station Lookout Tower.

Tower Path (inexperienced blazes – 1.1 mile) ~ Descends the ridge steeply at first, requiring the usage of each fingers and ft in sure locations for the primary a number of hundred yards or so. After crossing Dawn Mountain Highway, the path descends rather more regularly, however stays an ankle breaker kind path. The path loses about 525 ft of elevation in 1.1 miles as much as the junction with the Stony Brook Path. The Tower Path is co-aligned with the Stony Brook Path for the final 1/2 mile alongside a simple strolling woods street till it reaches the car parking zone.

All the paths are properly marked and properly maintained. The one foot site visitors that we noticed was on the AT close to the fireplace tower and a pair pairs of hikers on the Tower Path.


Hike Overview:

The New York-New Jersey Path Convention calls this “some of the in style circuit hikes in Northwest New Jersey.” I’m not positive about that as we didn’t see too many individuals on the paths or vehicles within the giant car parking zone. However, it’s a very good hike in a scenic space with a number of factors of curiosity.

Appalachian Path, a lookout tower and panoramic views, you actually can’t go fallacious with this hike. Throw in flippantly trafficked trails, a historic Appalachian Path shelter, loads of parking, full service restrooms on the trailhead and free admission and you’ve got your self an excellent day on the paths. The one detrimental factor that I can say is that each one the streams have been dry after we did this hike. Apart from that it was a very good hike. Aside from the world surrounding the fireplace tower, the paths have been properly shaded. The reasonable elevation achieve makes this an excellent hike for these heat summer season days. In hindsight, I might have achieved this loop counterclockwise, ascending on the Tower Path which is barely harder and descending on the Stony Brook Path which might have been a a lot simpler downhill once I was just a little drained.

Please Notice: I wouldn’t advocate doing the Tower Path if the bottom is moist or icy. A sturdy pair of climbing boots with good ankle assist is advisable for this hike.

Upon arriving on the Stony Brook Day Use Space after a 1-1/2-hour drive, we took a stroll to take a look at Stony Lake and at 8:45am, there was nobody else round. The big car parking zone was almost empty.

parking lot - Stony Lake Day Use Area

car parking zone – Stony Lake Day Use Space

The water degree was just a little low on the day that we visited.

Stony Lake - Stokes State Forest

Stony Lake – Stokes State Forest

The restrooms have been clear with working water and flush bogs. Greater than sufficient stalls in each the Males’s and Girls rooms with loads of rest room paper, full cleaning soap dispensers and air hand dryers.

restrooms - Stony Lake Day Use Area

restrooms – Stony Lake Day Use Space

This clockwise lollipop loop begins and ends on the Stony Lake Day Use Space. Ascending on the Stony Brook Path and descending on the Tower Path.

Culver Fire Tower Loop from Stony Lake

Culver Hearth Tower Loop from Stony Lake

The ascent to the ridge is an extended, however extra gradual climb to the fireplace tower. Descending on the Tower Path is considerably steeper on a particularly rocky path.

elevation profile - Culver Fire Tower Loop

elevation profile – Culver Hearth Tower Loop


The Hike:

The hike begins at a gated woods street to the left of the big kiosk, simply ft from the car parking zone. That is the route of three separate trails – the Blue Mountain Loop Path (blue blazes), the Tower Path (inexperienced blazes) and the Stony Brook Path (brown blazes). You can be following the brown-blazed Stony Brook Path for the primary 1.6 miles of the hike so take note of the brown blazes. Comply with the woods street because it regularly heads uphill in an easterly route. In about 530 ft, The blue-blazed Blue Mountain Loop Path leaves to the left, however it is best to proceed forward, following the brown-blazed Stony Brook Path.

Stony Lake Trailhead - Stokes State Forest

Stony Lake Trailhead – Stokes State Forest

Stony Brook Trail - Stokes State Forest

Stony Brook Path – Stokes State Forest

Stony Brook Trail - Stokes State Forest

Stony Brook Path – Stokes State Forest

Stony Brook Trail - Stokes State Forest

Stony Brook Path – Stokes State Forest

Stony Brook Trail - Stokes State Forest

Stony Brook Path – Stokes State Forest

In one other 200 yards or so, the Stony Brook Path turns left at a junction with the Coursen Path which begins on the correct. Then in about 460 yards from the junction with the Coursen Path, the green-blazed Tower Path leaves to the correct. This can be your return route, however for now, proceed forward following the brown-blazed Stony Brook Path. The path quickly narrows in locations and the path floor turns into fairly rocky. In about 0.8 miles from the trailhead, the Stony Brook Path turns sharp proper, crossing a moist space and begins to ascend just a little extra steeply with Stony Brook (dry after we visited) to the correct of the path.

Stony Brook Trail - Stokes State Forest

Stony Brook Path – Stokes State Forest

Stony Brook Trail - Stokes State Forest

Stony Brook Path – Stokes State Forest

Stony Brook Trail - Stokes State Forest

Stony Brook Path – Stokes State Forest

Stony Brook Trail - Stokes State Forest

Stony Brook Path – Stokes State Forest

Stony Brook Trail - Stokes State Forest

Stony Brook Path – Stokes State Forest

Stony Brook Trail - Stokes State Forest

Stony Brook Path – Stokes State Forest

Stony Brook Trail - Stokes State Forest

Stony Brook Path – Stokes State Forest

Stony Brook Trail - Stokes State Forest

Stony Brook Path – Stokes State Forest

Stony Brook Trail - Stokes State Forest

Stony Brook Path – Stokes State Forest

Stony Brook Trail - Stokes State Forest

Stony Brook Path – Stokes State Forest

Stony Brook Trail - Stokes State Forest

Stony Brook Path – Stokes State Forest

Stony Brook Trail - Stokes State Forest

Stony Brook Path – Stokes State Forest

Stony Brook Trail - Stokes State Forest

Stony Brook Path – Stokes State Forest

Stony Brook Trail - Stokes State Forest

Stony Brook Path – Stokes State Forest

Stony Brook Trail - Stokes State Forest

Stony Brook Path – Stokes State Forest

Stony Brook Trail - Stokes State Forest

Stony Brook Path – Stokes State Forest

Stony Brook Trail - Stokes State Forest

Stony Brook Path – Stokes State Forest

Stony Brook Trail - Stokes State Forest

Stony Brook Path – Stokes State Forest

Stony Brook Trail - Stokes State Forest

Stony Brook Path – Stokes State Forest

Stony Brook Trail - Stokes State Forest

Stony Brook Path – Stokes State Forest

When the path reaches Dawn Mountain Highway, it turns left and runs alongside the paved street for about 100 ft, turns proper and reenters the woods, now climbing extra steeply. In about 0.2 mile, a blue-blazed aspect path (scarcely blazed) seems on the left. The Gren Andersen Shelter (with water and latrine) is only a quick distance down this path. It’s possible you’ll need to take a brief detour to take a look at the shelter which is utilized by thru-hikers and backpackers.

Stony Brook Trail - Stokes State Forest

Stony Brook Path – Stokes State Forest

Stony Brook Trail - Stokes State Forest

Stony Brook Path – Stokes State Forest

Stony Brook Trail - Stokes State Forest

Stony Brook Path – Stokes State Forest

Stony Brook Trail - Stokes State Forest

Stony Brook Path – Stokes State Forest

Stony Brook Trail - Stokes State Forest

Stony Brook Path – Stokes State Forest

Stony Brook Trail - Stokes State Forest

Stony Brook Path – Stokes State Forest

Stony Brook Trail - Stokes State Forest

Stony Brook Path – Stokes State Forest

The open entrance lean-to was in-built 1958 of oak logs minimize from standing timber on the web site. The Inexperienced Mountain Membership contributed all different supplies and labor, however upon completion the shelter can be the property and accountability of Stokes State forest. The title “Gren Anderson Shelter” was chosen as a tribute to their president who had died the yr earlier than, whereas nonetheless in workplace. A fund-raising marketing campaign raised about 260 {dollars}, which proved to be an ample sum to satisfy all bills.

Gren Anderson Shelter - Stokes State Forest

Gren Anderson Shelter – Stokes State Forest

Gren Anderson Shelter - Stokes State Forest

Gren Anderson Shelter – Stokes State Forest

Gren Anderson Shelter - Stokes State Forest

Gren Anderson Shelter – Stokes State Forest

Gren Anderson Shelter - Stokes State Forest

Gren Anderson Shelter – Stokes State Forest

Gren Anderson Shelter - Stokes State Forest

Gren Anderson Shelter – Stokes State Forest

If you end up achieved trying out the Gren Anderson Shelter, retrace your steps to the Stony Brook Path and proceed forward. In one other 150 ft, the Stony Brook Path ends at a T-intersection with the Appalachian Path (AT). Flip proper at this junction and comply with the white blazes of the AT southwest alongside the forested ridge. There aren’t any views on this part of the AT. The path, though rocky, is just not as dangerous as another sections of the AT on this space.

Stony Brook Trail - Stokes State Forest

Stony Brook Path – Stokes State Forest

Appalachian Trail - Stokes State Forest

Appalachian Path – Stokes State Forest

Appalachian Trail - Stokes State Forest

Appalachian Path – Stokes State Forest

Appalachian Trail - Stokes State Forest

Appalachian Path – Stokes State Forest

Appalachian Trail - Stokes State Forest

Appalachian Path – Stokes State Forest

Appalachian Trail - Stokes State Forest

Appalachian Path – Stokes State Forest

Appalachian Trail - Stokes State Forest

Appalachian Path – Stokes State Forest

Appalachian Trail - Stokes State Forest

Appalachian Path – Stokes State Forest

Appalachian Trail - Stokes State Forest

Appalachian Path – Stokes State Forest

In a couple of mile, the green-blazed Tower Path begins on the correct. You’ll return to this spot to proceed the loop, however for now, proceed forward on the AT for about one other 250 ft to the location of the Culvers Station Lookout Tower.

Continue past the junction with the Tower Trail

Proceed previous the junction with the Tower Path

Continue past the junction with the Tower Trail

Proceed previous the junction with the Tower Path

Culvers Station Lookout - Stokes State Forest

Culvers Station Lookout – Stokes State Forest

There’s a picnic desk by a rock outcrop with a west-facing view that makes for a great place to take a break.

View west from near the base of the Culvers Station Lookout

View west from close to the bottom of the Culvers Station Lookout

A Black Vulture hovering above the ridge.

Black Vulture

Black Vulture

View northwest from near the base of the Culvers Station Lookout

View northwest from close to the bottom of the Culvers Station Lookout

Culvers Station Lookout Tower, which remains to be in use for recognizing forest fires, was erected in 1933. When it’s manned, you possibly can climb up the 47′ tower and go contained in the 7’x7′ cab.

Culvers Station Lookout - Stokes State Forest

Culvers Station Lookout – Stokes State Forest

Culvers Station Lookout – Stokes State Forest

Culvers Station Lookout – Stokes State Forest

Culvers Station Lookout – Stokes State Forest

Culvers Station Lookout – Stokes State Forest

Culvers Station Lookout – Stokes State Forest

Culvers Station Lookout – Stokes State Forest

The New Jersey Forest Hearth Service maintains a system of 21 fireplace towers at strategic places all through the state. These towers are staffed with fireplace observers who monitor for smoke of their geographic area, speaking with different close by towers to pinpoint the situation of smoke. Not less than one tower in every division is operated each time the woods are dry sufficient to burn and all towers are staffed throughout the months of March, April, Could, October and November.

Culvers Station Lookout – Stokes State Forest

Culvers Station Lookout – Stokes State Forest

Culvers Station Lookout – Stokes State Forest

Culvers Station Lookout – Stokes State Forest

Culvers Station Lookout – Stokes State Forest

Culvers Station Lookout – Stokes State Forest

The pictures under have been taken from slightly below the cab. It definitely is price it to climb the tower no less than half approach to take pleasure in these fabulous views that stretch all the best way into New York and Pennsylvania.

View north over New Jersey and into NY and Pennsylvania

View north over New Jersey and into NY and Pennsylvania

View west of Kittatinny Lake, the Delaware River Valley and into Pennsylvania

View west of Kittatinny Lake, the Delaware River Valley and into Pennsylvania

View south over the Kittatinny Valley

View south over the Kittatinny Valley

View east over the Appalachian Trail as it heads towards Sunrise Mountain and beyond.

View east over the Appalachian Path because it heads in direction of Dawn Mountain and past.

Excessive Level, the best elevation within the State of New Jersey, is 13.5 miles away in the event you comply with the Appalachian Path (AT) north. The AT passes close to the bottom of the monument.

View northeast of High Point Monument

View northeast of Excessive Level Monument

Stony Lake is seen under, the beginning and ending level of this hike.

View of Stony Lake from near the base of the Culvers Station Lookout

View of Stony Lake from close to the bottom of the Culvers Station Lookout

Near the base of the Culvers Station Lookout

Close to the bottom of the Culvers Station Lookout

If you end up achieved having fun with the 360° views from the tower, retrace your steps on the AT to the junction with the green-blazed Tower Path. Flip left and comply with the inexperienced blazes to a rock outcrop with extra west-facing views. Simply to the correct, the path descends steeply over rock slabs for a number of hunred yards. You will have to make use of each your fingers and ft to deal with this part of path. It’s in all probability not a good suggestion to hike this part of the path in moist or icy circumstances.

Turn left on the green-blazed Tower Trail

Flip left on the green-blazed Tower Path

The start of the green-blazed Tower Trail

The beginning of the green-blazed Tower Path

Tower Trail - Stokes State Forest

Tower Path – Stokes State Forest

Tower Trail - Stokes State Forest

Tower Path – Stokes State Forest

Tower Trail - Stokes State Forest

Tower Path – Stokes State Forest

Tower Trail - Stokes State Forest

Tower Path – Stokes State Forest

Tower Trail - Stokes State Forest

Tower Path – Stokes State Forest

Tower Trail - Stokes State Forest

Tower Path – Stokes State Forest

As soon as previous the preliminary steep part, the grade moderates because it descends on a particularly rocky footpath. Cautious consideration ought to be paid to keep away from twisting an ankle or tripping.

Tower Trail - Stokes State Forest

Tower Path – Stokes State Forest

Tower Trail - Stokes State Forest

Tower Path – Stokes State Forest

Tower Trail - Stokes State Forest

Tower Path – Stokes State Forest

Tower Trail - Stokes State Forest

Tower Path – Stokes State Forest

Tower Trail - Stokes State Forest

Tower Path – Stokes State Forest

Tower Trail - Stokes State Forest

Tower Path – Stokes State Forest

Tower Trail - Stokes State Forest

Tower Path – Stokes State Forest

Tower Trail - Stokes State Forest

Tower Path – Stokes State Forest

Tower Trail - Stokes State Forest

Tower Path – Stokes State Forest

In about 0.4 mile, the Tower Path crosses Dawn Mountain Highway diagonally to the correct. The path now descends much more reasonably, however the tough rocky path stays an ankle breaker.

Tower Trail as it crosses Sunrise Mountain Road

Tower Path because it crosses Dawn Mountain Highway

Tower Trail as it crosses Sunrise Mountain Road

Tower Path because it crosses Dawn Mountain Highway

Tower Trail - Stokes State Forest

Tower Path – Stokes State Forest

Tower Trail - Stokes State Forest

Tower Path – Stokes State Forest

Tower Trail - Stokes State Forest

Tower Path – Stokes State Forest

Tower Trail - Stokes State Forest

Tower Path – Stokes State Forest

Tower Trail - Stokes State Forest

Tower Path – Stokes State Forest

Tower Trail - Stokes State Forest

Tower Path – Stokes State Forest

In about 0.7 mile from the junction with the AT, the Tower Path crosses a picket footbridge over Stony Brook constructed by the volunteers of the West Jersey Path Crew in 2019. A brief distance past, you’ll attain the junction with the brown-blazed Stony Brook Path. Flip left and retrace your steps a couple of 1/2 mile, again to the car parking zone, the place the hike started.

Tower Trail - Stokes State Forest

Tower Path – Stokes State Forest

Tower Trail - Stokes State Forest

Tower Path – Stokes State Forest

Tower Trail - Stokes State Forest

Tower Path – Stokes State Forest

Turn left at the junction with the Stony Brook Trail

Flip left on the junction with the Stony Brook Path

coaligned Stony Brook/Tower trails

coaligned Stony Brook/Tower trails

coaligned Stony Brook/Tower trails

coaligned Stony Brook/Tower trails

coaligned Stony Brook/Tower trails

coaligned Stony Brook/Tower trails

coaligned Stony Brook/Tower trails

coaligned Stony Brook/Tower trails

Turn right to remain on coaligned Stony Brook/Tower trails

Flip proper to stay on coaligned Stony Brook/Tower trails

Turn right to remain on coaligned Stony Brook/Tower trails

Flip proper to stay on coaligned Stony Brook/Tower trails

coaligned Stony Brook/Tower trails

coaligned Stony Brook/Tower trails

coaligned Stony Brook/Tower trails

coaligned Stony Brook/Tower trails

coaligned Blue Mountain Loop/Stony Brook/Tower trails

coaligned Blue Mountain Loop/Stony Brook/Tower trails

Stony Lake Trailhead - Stokes State Forest

Stony Lake Trailhead – Stokes State Forest


Overview:

A extremely good hike in an space that doesn’t appear to get a lot foot site visitors. The car parking zone on the finish of the hike was as empty as after we started the hike. The views from the fireplace tower are the spotlight of the hike, however the tranquil environment make this trek worthwhile. We drove 1-1/2 hours to do that hike and it was definitely worth the drive. On the best way again we stopped to select up some recent corn, Jersey Tomatoes and a Cherry-Peach Pie which have been all scrumptious. As said beforehand, I might do that hike in reverse, ascending on the Tower Path and descending on the extra knee pleasant Stony Brook Path.

Professionals:

Culvers Station Lookout, panoramic views, flippantly trafficked trails, properly marked and maintained trails, scenic panorama.

Cons:

Rocky ankle-breaker kind trails.


Take a hike!

Culver Fire Tower from Stony Lake – Stokes State Forest

Culver Hearth Tower from Stony Lake – Stokes State Forest


Sources: