This route takes in Chikahoki Falls, Otter Hole, and an awesome viewpoint at Wyanokie High Point with 360° views of the area, including NYC on a clear day.
Located in the New Jersey Highlands region just west of the Wanaque Reservoir, Norvin Green offers a variety of rugged hikes. There are short hikes with outstanding views and long, challenging loops for the experienced hiker.
Updated: 8/2017 – Minor edits/updates. 7/2016 – New video added. 6/2014 – Revised description, new photos, and GPX.
Our two cents: Wyanokie High Point has one of the best views in the state, but Norvin Green also contains some of the most rugged terrain. Beginners or casual hikers will want to stick with the short hike to the view.
Mileage: 7.7 miles roundtrip, moderate with a few decent elevation changes. There is an extensive trail system so it’s easy to create other shorter or longer loops.
- Short: 2.6 miles. Out-and-back to the amazing view at High Point. Noted in the description below.
- Longer, challenging variation: 8.6 miles. Wyanokie High Point, Carris Hill, Buck Mountain
Map: Map #115 of North Jersey Trails or the map on the park site. Note: Blaze colors are used multiple times for trails in this park. For example, a WHITE blaze marks both the “Lower” and “Post Brook” trails on this route but “Lower” has a black “L” on white.
Books: Different routes that include High Point are in 50 Hikes in New Jersey, Hiking
New Jersey, Hike of the Week, and Take a Hike New York City. A longer, very challenging route is detailed in 60 Hikes Within 60 Miles: New York City. Hiking the Jersey Highlands contains 6 shorter hikes with trail descriptions and maps – but it’s now out of print and hard to find.
Parking: N41 04.192 W74 19.303
Rt 287 to exit 55, take 511 N (Wanaque), continue through Wanaque for several miles. Make a left onto West Brook Rd. Continue across Reservoir. At the T-intersection, make a left. The 2nd left is Snake Den Road. There is a sign for the Weis Ecology and the Highlands Natural Pool on the left side of the road. Continue uphill and bear left on Snake Den, continue past some houses until arriving at a large dirt lot on the right.
Restrooms: Best bet is a gas station or Quick Chek on Rt. 511.
There are rustic outhouses on GREEN, near the Highlands Natural Pool in the beginning of the hike. There was a closed sign on the outhouses 7/2016. A composting toilet is planned for 2017, but unsure if that is available yet.
Hike Directions: Overview: GREEN (Otter Hole) – BLUE (Hewitt Butler) – RED on WHITE CIRCLE (WCI) – BLACK L on WHITE (Lower) – WHITE (PBT – Post Brook Trail) – BLUE (Hewitt Butler) – GREEN (Otter Hole).
0.0 – Start following GREEN (Otter Hole), which is the paved road/trail that runs from the end of the parking lot, by the gate and some signs, between a stream and a field.
After the field, GREEN (Otter Hole) goes to the right of the Highlands Natural Pool and then veers left where there are several different trail markers on a tree in addition to GREEN (Otter Hole).
Head uphill past a few water cascades, through a rocky section and bridge, then cross a woods road to a trail kiosk.
0.6 – Continue following Hewitt-Butler (BLUE). [YELLOW (Mine) trail leaves to the left]. Head steeply uphill to several viewpoints. GPS: BLUE/YEL Split
1.0 – Continue following Hewitt-Butler (BLUE). [WHITE (Macopin) goes off to the right] GPS: BLUE/WHITE JCT
Head uphill past a large glacial erratic with a BLUE blaze on it.
1.3 – At markings on two trees close together, veer LEFT to start following RED on WHITE CIRCLE (WCI) and TEAL DIAMOND (Highlands). [BLUE (Hewitt Butler) leaves to the right, TEAL DIAMOND (Highlands) also goes to the right].
Head towards a large rock painted with “HI POINT”, an arrow, RED on WHITE CIRCLE (WCI) and a TEAL DIAMOND (Highlands) blaze. GPS: RED/BLUE/TEAL
Scramble up around the rock, heading up to cross a steep outcropping of bare rock.
1.4 – Arrive at High Point for a 360-degree view of the area. On a clear day, the New York City skyline is visible. This is a terrific spot for a break. GPS: WyanokieHighPoint
[Short option: retrace the route from this point for a 2.6 mile hike.]
Variation: In a park full of awesome trails, it’s hard to choose a “best” route, so if you’re up for it… here’s an alternative to the more gradual, easier-going Lower trail:
At High Point, turn around and scramble back down to the junction with “Hi Point” on the rock. Follow Hewitt-Butler (BLUE)/TEAL DIAMOND (Highlands) instead to another view and then on to YELLOW (Carris) for more views. This is harder and has more elevation change. End up at the point at 3.4 miles below, at GPS: Lower/Carris). For an extension of this variation… check out “Wyanokie High Point, Carris Hill, Buck Mountain”.
Continue ahead, following the RED on WHITE CIRCLE (WCI) and TEAL DIAMOND (Highlands) markers on the rocks (they may be hard to spot). Steadily descend through an open area before reentering the shade of the forest and leveling off.
2.1 – Turn RIGHT to start following BLACK L on WHITE (Lower). [RED on WHITE CIRCLE (WCI) and TEAL DIAMOND (Highlands) continue straight over a stream]. GPS: LowerWHT/RED-WCI
3.4 – Wooden arrow signs: Weis 2.4 miles and YELLOW (Carris) arrow to the right, BLACK L on WHITE (Lower), YELLOW (Carris).
Continue following BLACK L on WHITE (Lower) as it passes the end of YELLOW (Carris) on the right, goes over a rock, and veers to the left. GPS: Lower/Carris
Soon, arrive at a junction at a bend in a brook with wooden arrows for E and W PBT, BLACK L on WHITE (Lower), Chik Falls, O-H Prkg, Carris.
Turn RIGHT, now following WHITE (PBT) to the west. [WHITE (PBT) also goes to the left, east. BLACK L on WHITE (Lower) ends]. GPS:PBT/Lower
3.8 – Chikahoki Falls. To view the falls from the front instead of the side, rock hop or cross fallen trees if the water level allows it. Sometimes we’ve seen a wooden plank too.
Continue following WHITE (PBT) up sharply to the right as it passes by the top of the falls.
4.0 – Start following BLUE (Hewitt-Butler) and TEAL DIAMOND (Highlands). [WHITE (PBT) ends. BLUE (Hewitt-Butler) and TEAL DIAMOND (Highlands) also go to the right] GPS: WHITE/BLUE/TEAL
4.3 – Continue on BLUE (Hewitt-Butler)/TEAL (Highlands Trail) passing YELLOW (Wyanokie Crest) on the right and then left. GPS: BLUE-TEAL/YEL(WC)1 and 2
4.6 – Continue on BLUE (Hewitt-Butler)/TEAL (Highlands Trail) [Unmarked trail on left]. GPS: BLUE/UNMRKED
4.9 – Junction of BLUE (Hewitt-Butler)/TEAL DIAMOND (Highlands) and the start of GREEN (Otter Hole) on the right. GPS: BLUE/TEAL/GREEN
Veer LEFT on BLUE (Hewitt-Butler) to check out Otter Hole – a nice water cascade that makes for a good break spot. [Beyond the water crossing is a parking area for another great hike: Torne Mountain/Osio Rock.]
Retrace your steps to the junction with GREEN. Start following GREEN (Otter Hole)/TEAL DIAMOND(Highlands).
5.3 – Sign: Weis/Pkg is 1.6 miles. Continue straight, now following just GREEN (Otter Hole). [YELLOW (Wyanokie Crest) crosses the trail, TEAL DIAMOND (Highlands) leaves to the left]. GPS: GRN/YEL(WC)
5.5 – An overlook to the west. Continue on GREEN (Otter Hole), mostly level with minor elevation change. GPS: Overlook on GREEN
6.2 – Continue on GREEN (Otter Hole). [RED (WCI – Wyanokie Circular) crosses left and right (to High Point)]. Sign: Weis/Pkg is 1.3 miles. GPS: RED(WCI)/GREEN
6.5 – Continue on GREEN (Otter Hole). [WHITE (Macopin) starts on the right and leads to High Point.] GPS: GREEN(OH)/WHT-Macopin
Continue on GREEN (Otter Hole) as it joins and leaves a rocky woods road.
7.3 – At the trail kiosk from the beginning of the hike, turn LEFT to retrace your steps on GREEN (Otter Hole) back to the lot. GPS: KioskBL/YEL/GRN
Hiked: 4/24/16. Variation, from Otter Hole lot. Trail Blog: “Otter Hole, Chikahoki Falls, Carris Hill, and High Point in Spring”
Hiked: 10/26/15. Variation, HP/Carris Hill/Mines/Ball Mtn.
Hiked: 6/1/14. Trail Blog: “Norvin Green – Panoramic Views and Waterfalls”
Hiked: 8/30/13: Variation from Glenwild Ave. Trail Blog:”Wyanokie Crest, Carris Hill, High Point”
Hiked: 4/25/09. Trail Blog: “Norvin Green State Forest – High Point, Chik Falls and Otter Hole loop”