April 22, 2024
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Linking Northern and Central NJ, Bronx, Manhattan, Westchester and CT

Hike Mount Tammany in Worthington State Forest

This strenuous hike is only about four miles long, but it involves an elevation gain of nearly 1,200 feet in only 1.4 miles. The hike climbs Mount Tammany in Worthington State Forest (within the boundaries of the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area) on a very rocky footpath and affords spectacular views over the Delaware River and Mount Minsi, with the rolling hills of Pennsylvania in the background. On the way down, you’ll go by an attractive waterfall and pass through the narrow gorge of Dunnfield Creek, studded with rhododendrons, with the waters of the cascading creek below. The hike should take about three-and-a-half hours. Dogs are permitted on leash.

 

To reach the trailhead from Teaneck, take I-80 West towards the Delaware Water Gap, and continue for about 65 miles until you are just one mile from the toll bridge into Pennsylvania. Immediately beyond milepost 1, take the exit for “Dunnfield Creek/Appalachian Trail” and bear left at the fork. Continue past the underpass on the left and turn right into a parking area at signs with “P” and “hiker” symbols, as well as a sign for the Dunnfield Creek Natural Area. (If you miss this exit from Route 80, take Exit 1, turn left at the end of the ramp, and continue on the service road parallel to Route 80 past the visitor center. Turn left at the underpass, go under Route 80, turn left again, and turn right at signs with “P” and “hiker” symbols.) 

 

The trailhead is about 70 miles from Teaneck, and it should take about one hour and 10 minutes to get there. This is a very popular hike, and the parking area often fills up early on weekends, so you might want to do this hike on a weekday.

 

Near the entrance to the parking area, you’ll see a sign for the Mount Tammany Trail (also known as the Red Dot Trail). You will be taking this red-on-white-blazed trail all the way up Mount Tammany. Follow the trail up wooden steps and bear left when you reach junctions with several side trails that lead to another parking area. The trail briefly levels off on a wide path, but it soon reaches stone steps that mark the start of a rather steep climb. Passing through a dense forest of hemlocks and deciduous trees, the trail ascends steadily on a rocky footpath.

 

After bearing right and climbing over several rock outcrops, you’ll reach the first panoramic viewpoint, from open rocks just to the right of the trail. You can see up and down the Delaware River, with Arrow Island in the river to the left, and Mount Minsi directly across the river in Pennsylvania. You’ve hiked nearly half a mile and climbed about 400 vertical feet to reach this point, so you’ll want to rest from the steep climb and take in the view.

 

When you’re ready to continue, follow the trail upwards on a more gradual grade through an open forest, with an understory of blueberries. In about 10 minutes, the trail bears right to cross a streambed (often dry). Soon, you’ll reach the base of a talus slope, which the trail climbs, first on rock steps and switchbacks, then on a rugged route over the jagged rocks. Just beyond, there is a short level stretch, but the steady climb soon resumes.

 

As you approach the top of the mountain, the grade moderates, and there are views through the trees to the right. Finally, you’ll reach the end of the Red Dot Trail, marked by a triple blaze on a rock. Turn right and follow a jagged rock outcrop downhill for about 100 horizontal feet to another panoramic viewpoint over the Delaware River and Mount Minsi, with the rolling hills of Pennsylvania in the background. You’ve now climbed nearly 1,200 vertical feet, and you’ll want to take another break here.

 

After you’ve rested from the climb, retrace your steps to the trail. Just ahead, you’ll see a triple-blue blaze that marks the start of the blue-blazed Pahaquarry Trail. Follow this trail, which heads northeast along the ridge of Mount Tammany on a rocky footpath, climbing gradually, with west-facing views through the trees.

 

In a quarter mile, the trail turns sharply left at a sign for the Blue Dot Trail—the trail is actually blazed solid blue—and soon begins a rather steep descent on a rocky, eroded woods road. After a while, the descent moderates somewhat, but the road remains quite rocky for most of the descent. Towards the base of the descent, sections of the trail have been relocated off the eroded road and onto a parallel footpath.

 

A little over a mile from the summit, you’ll arrive at a junction with the green-blazed Dunnfield Creek Trail. Turn left and follow the joint blue and green blazes, which follow a wide path parallel to Dunnfield Creek. Just ahead, you’ll notice an open area with a bench that overlooks an attractive waterfall on the right. Continue ahead a short distance until you reach a wooden footbridge that spans the creek. Here, a short unmarked trail on the right leads to the base of the waterfall. This is another good spot to take a break.

 

When you’re ready to continue, cross the footbridge and continue along the trail, which parallels the creek on a wide path. Soon, the Pahaquarry and Dunnfield Creek Trails end, and you continue ahead along the creek, now following the white-blazed Appalachian Trail. This is the most scenic portion of the hike, as you pass through the narrow gorge of Dunnfield Creek, studded with rhododendrons, with the waters of the cascading creek below to your left. In another half mile, the trail bears left and crosses Dunnfield Creek on a steel bridge with a wooden deck. Just ahead, you’ll reach the parking area where the hike began.

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