Steeply climb to the summit of Mt. Tammany (1527′) for amazing views over the Delaware Water Gap, then follow the Kittatinny ridge along a fire road before heading over to beautiful Sunfish Pond. Return is via the scenic Dunnfield Creek Trail.
Fun Fact: The mountain in the photo is actually Mt. Minsi in Pennsylvania – as that is the view from the summit of Mt. Tammany.
- Longer, about 11.5: Continue on Turquoise to go around the pond, turn left onto the Appalachian Trail to the south end of the pond and pick up Dunnfield from there.
- Option: Return via Appalachian Trail instead of Dunnfield Creek. The AT is slightly shorter and w/o the creek hops, but less scenic and more rocky in our opinion (and more busy).
- Variation: Up Tammany via RED DOT, down BLUE DOT, Dunnfield to Sunfish Pond, return via AT. We have not done this combo and don’t have mileage.
Updated 9/3/15: Revised description and GPX.
Our two cents: The Gap is one of the most beautiful areas to hike in NJ and is especially stunning in Fall. This hike can make for a long day; make sure you are up for it as once you are down the fire road a ways, there isn’t a shorter bailout. The trail surface is rocky up Tammany, and not as much along the ridge.
The fire road is not as popular/crowded as the areas around Mt. Tammany or Sunfish Pond and has a very remote feeling to it. However, because there are no views along the ridge and it was somewhat overgrown in August 2015, you might find it a bit of a slog. In late July to August the wild blueberries along the fire road ripen. The return via Dunnfield requires multiple stream crossings which can be a tad tricky after a lot of rain.
Map: You should have the Kittatinny Trails. The NPS park map will work, but it’s not great. If you are romping around the woods for 10+ miles, have a good map!!
Parking: N40 58.291 W75 07.531
Route 80 West to just before the last exit in New Jersey. On the right is a sign for Dunnfield Creek Natural Area. There is a parking lot on the right, then a large main lot in the center and if that is full, you can park
on the grass next to that* at the visitor center. The road is one way so you can’t backtrack to a passed lot unless you get back onto Rt 80 and come around.
*Update 6/7/15 – The grass lot was closed off, and anything in the main lot that was not a marked parking space had cones blocking it (normally, cars are parked in every nook and cranny). This reduces the amount of parking available by quite a bit, and there were only 1 or 2 spots available when we arrived in the AM. A police truck was monitoring the lot, and signs were up warning of recent break-ins. Also, when we left at around 1pm, the gate to the visitor center (Rt 80 E) was closed and the lot full.
This may have been a one-time thing, or It was again like this on 8/22/15 so either this is the parking situation now or maybe just for the summer.
Restrooms: Porta-john in the far side of the lot (as of Aug 2015). But we’ve gone and there hasn’t been one. If that is the case, there are some at the visitor center.
To get to the visitor center: head back out onto Rt. 80 from the lot and take the very next exit right, then make a left like you are going to go around to 80 E, then instead of merging onto 80, immediately head to the right into the visitor center, there are rows of toilets there.
Hike Directions: OVERVIEW: RED DOT to Mt. Tammany summit – BLUE DOT – MT. Tammany Fire Rd. – Turquoise/Sunfish Pond Fire Rd to Sunfish Pond – backtrack on Turquoise to Sunfish Pond Fire Rd – Dunnfield Creek (GREEN) from the southern end of Sunfish Pond – Appalachian Trail (WHITE)
0.0 – Near the entrance of the parking lot, on the right side, look for the big brown RED DOT sign. The trail is marked with a red dot painted on a white background. Start following RED DOT. GPS: RedDotTrail
0.5 – Nice view with the summit (left), Rt. 80 and the Delaware River going through “The Gap” in the center, and Mt Minsi on the right. GPS: GapView
There is a very rocky section shortly after this viewpoint. Continue to follow the RED DOT trail up – there is only one trail in this area and is mostly easy to follow. Pay attention on the rocky sections for markers to guide you through – they may be painted on the rocks as well.
1.3 – Broad views of the Gap area, across Rt. 80 to Mt Minsi in Pennsylvania. GPS: MtTammanyViewpoint Scramble down the rocks for a unique break spot or stay at the top. This is also a good area to watch hawks.
This is the end of the RED DOT trail. Look for the BLUE DOT markers follow them beyond the viewpoint. GPS: RedDot-BlueDot Now follow BLUE DOT along a woods road.
1.7 – Start following the unmarked Mt. Tammany Fire Road, straight. [BLUE DOT leaves to the left]. GPS: BlueDot/Fire Road
3.3 – Pass a HELIPORT sign on the left. GPS: HELIPORT
4.7 – Turn LEFT to start following TURQUOISE. [Mt. Tammany Fire Road, continues straight] The trailhead may be hard to spot but there should be a little rock pile. GPS: Fire/Turquoise
The Turquoise Trail is narrow with vegetation and heads downhill to cross Dunnfield Creek, before going back uphill.
5.4 – Turquoise meets up with the Sunfish Fire Road. Turn LEFT and now follow the unmarked fire road. GPS: Turq/Fire Road Sunfish Fire Road is briefly co-joined with Turquoise, but the markings are sparse.
5.7 – Turn RIGHT to now follow Turquoise as it leaves the Fire Road and heads toward Sunfish Pond. GPS: TurquoiseTrail
5.9 – Arrive at Sunfish Pond. There are rock slabs to sit on with a view of the Pond. Back track on Turquoise to the Fire Road when ready to leave.
[Option: Continue around the pond on Turquoise, turning LEFT onto the Appalachian Trail (WHITE) which follows the western shore of the Pond. At the southern end of the Pond, meet up with these directions at 6.7 below]
6.2 – Back at the Sunfish Fire Road, turn RIGHT onto the fire road.
6.7 – Southern end of Sunfish Pond. There is a bench tucked in by the water and another nice view from this end of the Pond. GPS: Sunfish Pond
With your back to the pond, look LEFT to start following Dunnfield Creek (GREEN).
[Option: Follow the Appalachian Trail (WHITE) back instead]
Dunnfield Creek (GREEN) heads uphill and then down a steep rocky section. After a low, seasonally wet section, the creek will eventually come into view, and the trail follows it the rest of the way back.
Keep an eye out for the GREEN markers which can be sometimes hard to spot. They will also indicate to cross Dunnfield Creek several times on rocks.
8.9 – Pass the Holly Springs Trail on the right. GPS: HollySprings
10.0 – Pass the BLUE DOT trail on the LEFT. GPS: Dunnfield/BlueDot
There are some nice water cascades and a bridge to cross.
10.3 – The Appalachian Trail comes in from the right (there is a large signpost). The Dunnfield Creek trail ends here. Follow the Appalachian Trail (WHITE) as it follows the creek back to the lot.
Hiked: 10/23/10. Trail Blog: “Mt. Tammany and Sunfish Pond in the Fall“
Hiked: 3/22/09. Trail Blog: “Water Gap: Mt. Tammany, Fire Road, Sunfish Pond, Dunnfield Creek“
Hiked: 8/03/08. Trail Blog: “Water Gap – Mt. Tammany to Fire Road to Sunfish to Green”