High Point State Park rises above the very cool spot nearby where New York, Pennsylvania and New Jersey bump into one another. (Legend has it only Pennsylvania said "Excuse me.")
New Jersey's highest and possibly friendliest spot lies (lays?) within High Point State Park, near Sussex. The land was donated by Colonel Anthony and Susie Dryden Kuser and turned into a nature reserve in 1923.
The park is comprised of more than 15,650 acres filled with wildlife and 50-miles of various paths for hiking, biking and horseback riding -- in addition to the winter sports of cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, freezing your buns off, dogsledding and snowmobiling.
The natural beauty of the park -- enhanced by landscaping designed by the famed Oldsted Brothers -- defies the snarky humor heaped upon New Jersey's many less attractive spots.
The distinguished High Point Monument was completed in 1930 and remains dedicated to the memory of New Jersey's wartime heroes.
Hearty souls may climb the bazillionty-nine stairs that lead to the apex of the 220-foot spire. From the top, once you regain your strength, you will love the panoramic view of the Pocono and Catskill Mountains, and the Wallkill River Valley.
The best part of High Point State Park? The 18-miles of the Appalachian Trail that grace its boundaries.
Three shelters are provided for thru-hikers to rest and relax before hitting the Trail once again.
High Point is quite a haul from the southern terminus of the AT at Springer Mountain, 1330 miles to the south.
Mount Katahdin is merely 884 miles to the north -- including the famed and/or dreaded 100-Mile Wilderness in Maine.
Hikers approaching from the south appreciate the views along the ridgeline of the Stokes and Worthington State Forests.
Southbounders can see the High Point Monument in the distance as they pass through a lovely, and sometimes strenuous, hemlock gorge.
The scenery is spectacular in either direction and friendly folks are abundant.
The Appalachian Trail runs alongside the park's headquarters, which has indoor plumbing and an outside spigot for those who have been in the wilderness too long.
Rangers will hold packages, if you want to add this to your list of mail drops. The address is below.
If you're hankering for a hot dog during the summer or a place to take a hot shower for free, you're welcome to jot on down to the concession stand at Lake Marcia, less than a mile away.
On a good day, you'll get to meet the park's smiling customer service representative, Vikki Howell.
Vikki kindly passes out pamphlets advising you what to do if you meet a bear in the woods.
Lesson #1? Don't panic. hahahaha
While you're at the ranger station, take a look at the displays of local fauna and flora. They are educational and appealing to the eye.
Across the road is the path back into the woods, when you can't take "civilization" any more.
You can knock off a state or two on a section hike, or go as far as you'd like. This is America. Land of the free and home of the brave. Knock yourself out.
All we ask is that you carry out whatever you carry in. We'll do the same for you.
Address: High Point State Park, 1480 State Route 23, Sussex, NJ 07461.
Tags: Tourism, Appalachian Trail Conservancy, Appalachian Trail, Hiking, US Forest Service, and Robert Sutherland Travel Writer
Published Jul 30, 2015. The goals common to the Appalachian Trail Conservancy and Baxter State Park are similar but are they compatible? Can their paths merge atop Mt. Katahdin?
Published Jan 5, 2015. The High Point Cliffs area in the Bull Run Mountains Preserve in Virginia will be closed indefinitely as of January 15, 2015, to allow for regeneration.
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