Musconetcong Gorge – Pine Run Waterfall Loop

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Waterfall where the WHITE trail meets the abandoned rail line

Checking out Musconetcong Gorge’s cascades after a lot of rain.

For us, a holiday weekend means heading in the opposite direction of Jersey’s beach traffic.

We’d just had a lot of rain so we went west on Rt. 78 to check out Musconetcong Gorge’s cascades.

We hadn’t been since 2009 (“Musconetcong Gorge Preserve – White and Yellow“), and planned on doing a similar but longer route by just going further on Highlands to Staats Rd. and then backtracking to the Switchback trail down to the Railway trail.

For detailed hike directions visit our main “Musconetcong Gorge” page.

But when we arrived at the stream crossing at Pine Run, we saw there was a WHITE trail that wasn’t on the map – bonus trail! – so we decided to take that instead on our return.

Pine Run

After hopping Pine Run on rocks that were just begging to be slipped off of, the Ridge/Highlands trail continued uneventfully until Staats Rd., where we retraced our steps to the stream.

The Highlands Trail does continue after some road walking, which is not one of our favorite things. Don’t bother unless you just want to add some mileage to the hike like we wanted to.

Back at Pine Run we took the WHITE trail steeply downhill over large and somewhat slippery rocks.

It was very scenic following the stream down a gorge – but most of the time we were trying to stay balanced on rocks while dancing around the generous amounts of poison ivy that flanked the trail.

(Used our trusty bar of Burt’s Bees Poison Ivy soap as soon as we got home!! *update… sadly, they’ve stopped making this*)

We heard the sound of gushing water as an abandoned rail line trail came into view, and were surprised to find…

…a large, beautiful cascade/waterfall. Well, fancy meeting you here!

This, like the WHITE trail we just were on, were nowhere on the trail map.

The rail line trail is not that thrilling but it helps make loop hikes. We veered off onto RED (which looks orange…) which later ends at the intersection of several trails near the main waterfall/gorge area.

The markings are confusing with red and orange blazes that are close in color and/or don’t match the map, and a proliferation of blazes seemingly every which way.

“Ohhh wait, THIS is also the blue trail? Not just orange? Or is this a red marker?” and so forth.

Cascades along the ORANGE trail

This is the kind of local park that only takes a visit or two to get the layout down so its not an issue, but if you are trying to makes sense of the map (or want to describe a route to someone…) then you may be in for a challenge.

Overall: The main gorge waterfalls and cascades are in the beginning of the park within short hiking distances, and the scenery and multiple cascades makes the map confusion and the Poison Ivy Two-Step worthwhile.

Miles: 5.3

Wildlife spotted: Toads. Does poison ivy count as wildlife? I swear a few leaves tried to grab my ankle….

1 thought on “Musconetcong Gorge – Pine Run Waterfall Loop”

  1. Thank you for this review. We hiked here yesterday and found the trail markings vs Map confusing as well. However beautiful scenic hike! Luckily we were there prior to poison ivy sprouting!

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