<<<Hikes in NJ - Trails Less Taken
Sourland Mountain Preserve
Summary: Easy to moderate hiking over boardwalks and through the boulders of Devil's Half Acre and Roaring Rocks.
Update 1/24/13: Since this hike was posted in 2009, the "Roaring Brook Trail" (RED, 2.1 miles) has been added to the park, and the location of Marker 7 moved. The description and GPS file has been updated to reflect the addition, and the route is now longer.
5.7 miles. Easy to moderate. The “Ridge Trail” is rocky, and there is some minor elevation gain. Even though it's called the "Ridge" trail, there are no views from any of the trails.
- Shorter: 5.0 miles - follow only the SQUARES of the Ridge trail
- Short: 1.4 miles “Maple Flats” (TRIANGLE only), and .5 miles Pondside (CIRCLE only).
- Also: There are several trails marked "C" (Connecting) throughout the park, which can be used to shorten the hike at several points.
Mountain biking, horseback riding and bouldering are also allowed. From info located online, this appears to be a no-hunting park.
Map: You can print out the map from their site, and maps may be in the trail kiosk.
Books: None of the books we have mention the Roaring Brook trail. A variation of this hike (Ridge Trail only, 5 miles) can be found in Best Day Hikes Near Philadelphia; another variation appears in 60 Hikes Within 60 Miles: New York City but is out-of-date in the area of marker #7 (it's still a really worthwhile book to get though, lots of great hikes!).
Parking: N40 28.428 W74 41.655
East Mountain Road, Hillsborough, NJ 08844. Directions can be found on the park site.
Restrooms: Porta-john in the parking lot.
Hike Directions: Overview: Ridge Trail (WHITE Square) - Roaring Brook (RED Circle) - Ridge Trail (WHITE Square).
There are several trails marked "C" (Connecting) throughout the park, which can be used to shorten the hike. Trail junctions have numbered signs that coorespond to the trail map.
The trailhead for all trails starts behind the trail kiosk, near the treeline.
0.0 miles – Start following Ridge Trail (WHITE Square)
0.2 miles – Continue straight on Ridge Trail (WHITE Square), passing Marker #1 on the left.
0.6 miles – Continue straight, passing a "C" Connecting trail on the left. The trail heads uphill and loops through an area of large boulders.
Continue straight, passing the other end of a "C" Connecting trail on the left
1.8 miles – Pass another "C" Connecting trail on the left, and then shortly after that the trail splits in a "Y" at Marker #4.
Veer right to start following Roaring Brook (RED Circle). [The Ridge Trail (WHITE Square) continues off to the left]
3.3 miles – Roaring Brook (RED Circle) ends in an area of large boulders.
Start following the Ridge Trail (WHITE Square) as it veers to the right - though we don't recall seeing a blaze at this point. [The Ridge Trail (WHITE Square) also goes to the left]
3.5 miles – Marker #7 is near a very large cairn (hiker pile-o-rocks). Continue straight on the Ridge Trail (WHITE Square)*. [A "C" Connecting trail goes left and leads to marker #6]
Follow the Ridge Trail (WHITE Square) down several switchbacks before the trail levels out, and arrives at an opening in a chain link fence.
*Note: There is also an unmarked trail at Marker #7 that veers to the right, and leads to the same place as the main trail, though is a bit shorter. It's not on the map and is not blazed at first, but past a large blowdown it was also marked with white squares. It joins up with the actual trail at a break in a chain link fence right before Marker #8 below.
The actual trail leads down some tight switchbacks that, for whatever reason, we found to be on the annoying side. And they were quite muddy after all the rain we'd had. Your choice as to which trail to take.
3.9 miles – Walk throught the fence opening to Marker #8, and continue straight on Ridge Trail (WHITE Square). [A "C" Connecting trail goes left, also leading to Marker #9]
4.3 miles – Marker #9. Continue straight on Ridge Trail (WHITE Square). [A "C" Connecting trail goes left, leading back to Marker #8. Right leads out to Rt. 601.]
Pass some stone remnants of a structure. There are several boardwalks and stone pathways in wet areas.
5.0 miles – Marker #10 [Also marked with a Triangle]. Turn RIGHT, following the Ridge Trail (WHITE Square).
5.4 miles – Marker #11. Cross the pipeline cut and the Ridge Trail (WHITE Square) continues on the other side.
5.5 miles – Marker #12 [Also marked with a Triangle and Circle]. Turn RIGHT and head towards a pond on a grassy area in a field. At the pond, the parking lot will be visable off to the left.
Hiked: 1/19/13. Trail Blog: "Sourland Mountain – Ridge and Roaring Brook Trails"
Hiked: 8/8/09. Trail Blog: "Sourland Mountain Preserve – Ridge Trail"