Appalachian Trail – Sunfish Pond to Raccoon Ridge

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Raccoon Ridge

A steep but short approach to Sunfish Pond via Garvey Springs, then expansive views along the Appalachian Trail at Raccoon Ridge.

11.8 or 6.6 or 3.0 miles. Versions noted in the description below. Rocky trail surface. Garvey Springs is steep; AT is mostly level until approaching Coppermines if you do the long loop.

  • 3 miles: to Sunfish Pond via Garvey Springs out-and-back.
  • 6.6 miles: to Raccoon Ridge viewpoint out-and-back.
  • 11.8 miles: This loop, using Coppermines and Kaiser.
  • Variation, challenging: ~16 miles – stay on the AT thru Catfish Pond Gap to Catfish Fire Tower out-and-back.
  • Variation, shorter: ~5 miles – Garvey – Sunfish – AT – Douglas loop (longer but less steep on the return)

Our two cents:

Garvey Springs is the short-but-steep way to get to Sunfish Pond (instead of the longer approach via Dunnfield or AT). Most will want to turn around at the Raccoon Ridge viewpoint, but for avid hikers the long route is enjoyable.

We like to use the Garvey Springs approach when prepping for hiking trips since it puts a steep-ish section at the start/finish and the AT allows us to up our mileage. Raccoon Ridge is a good place to watch hawk migrations.

Updated: 5/2021 – Description changed to reflect that TURQUOISE is now called Buckwood (BLUE); not re-hiked.


Panorama from Raccoon Ridge

Panorama over Raccoon Ridge

Map/Books:

Kittatinny Trails section #120. A shorter variation to Raccoon Ridge that excludes Sunfish is in Hike of the Week. The Appalachian Trail in this area is detailed in 50 Hikes in New Jersey.

Restrooms:

From the lot, walk into the campground area a bit and a bathroom building is on the left.


Parking: 41.01317 -75.08217 [Douglas lot; Old Mine Road]

Rt. 80 W to the last exit in NJ (1) for Millbrook/Flatbrookville which bears right onto River Road/Old Mine Road.

Cross a one-lane bridge with a stop light and continue on Old Mine Rd for about 4 miles, passing a sign for Worthington and the driveway to the park office. The lot will be on the left and has a sign.


Hike Directions:

Overview: Garvey Springs (ORANGE) – Appalachian Trail (WHITE) – Buckwood (BLUE) to view of Sunfish – Appalachian Trail (WHITE) – Coppermines (RED) – Coppermines/Kaiser connector (BLUE/RED) – Kaiser Road (BLUE) – Appalachian Trail (WHITE) – Garvey Springs (ORANGE)

0.0 – From the parking area, cross Old Mine Road to start following Garvey Springs (ORANGE).

Garvey Springs trailhead across from the Douglas parking lot.

0.6 – Continue on Garvey Springs (ORANGE) as it turns left and follows Rock Cores (GREEN) for a bit, before turning right and continuing steeply uphill.

Trail intersection of Garvey Springs and Rock Cores

Continue on Garvey Springs (ORANGE).

Garvey Springs with ferns on either side

1.3 – Garvey Springs (ORANGE) ends. Turn RIGHT and now follow Appalachian Trail (WHITE) briefly.

Appalachian Trail

1.4 – Turn LEFT and follow Buckwood (BLUE) over to a view of Sunfish Pond.

View of Sunfish Pond from the Turquoise trail

Retrace Buckwood (BLUE) back to the AT.

[Alternate: stay on Appalachian Trail (WHITE) to check out the pond instead; skipping Buckwood (BLUE)]

1.6 – From Buckwood (BLUE), turn RIGHT to again follow the Appalachian Trail (WHITE). [Pass Garvey Springs (ORANGE) on the left.]

// 3 mile route: Turn left and take Garvey Springs (ORANGE) back down to the lot. //

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Stream rock hop on the Appalachian Trail:

Stream rock hop on the Appalachian Trail
Rocky Appalachian Trail

3.3 – Wide views over NJ and PA from Raccoon Ridge. There is a owl decoy on a tall poll – this is a hawk watch area.

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// 6.6-mile route: turn around here and retrace the Appalachian Trail (WHITE) back to Garvey Springs and down to the lot. //

Leave Worthington State Forest and enter Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area.

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4.0 – Continue on Appalachian Trail (WHITE). [Kaiser Road (BLUE) starts to the left]

5.9 – After heading downhill over a very rocky section, turn LEFT to start following Coppermines (RED). [Appalachian Trail (WHITE) continues straight.]

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7.1 – Turn LEFT and now follow Coppermines/Kaiser connector (BLUE/RED). [Coppermines (RED) continues straight.]

7.2 – Turn LEFT and now follow Kaiser Road (BLUE) on a woods road that heads gradually uphill. [Kaiser Road (BLUE) also goes right].

8.2 – Kaiser Road (BLUE) ends, veer RIGHT and start following the Appalachian Trail (WHITE). [Appalachian Trail (WHITE) also goes left – this intersection was passed earlier].

10.6 – Turn RIGHT and now follow Garvey Springs downhill, retracing the route back to the parking lot.


Hiked: 9/3/16. 11.8 miles.
Hiked: 8/31/08. 16 miles. Trail Blog: “Garvey Springs to AT North
Hiked: 9/3/06. 9.9 miles. Trail Blog: “Sunfish – AT