Beaver Brook Trail to Lost Lake

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Lost lake surrounded by green trees and vegetation

Hiking the Beaver Brook trail to Lost Lake, where there is a beaver lodge and dam.

8.2 or 5.6 miles. Varies between rocky trail and some wider woods road. Beaver Brook trail section is less traveled and may be overgrown.

Our two cents:

Up for a wee bit of an adventure on the trail-less-taken? Then this wild-n-remote feeling hike may be for you.

We’ve always enjoyed hiking to Lost Lake for it’s off-the-beaten path feel – but it’s not for everyone.

Not recommended for casual or new hikers. Beaver Brook trail was very overgrown in many places so be sure to use tick protection, spot check at breaks, and reapply as needed.

There’s always the option of trying it and turning back if it’s not for you. And the 5.6 mile version without Beaver Brook Trail is more of a standard hiking experience.

Beaver Brook Trail is within Rockway River Wildlife Management Area; you may want to avoid hiking it in hunting season or be sure to wear blaze orange.

Two 8.2 mile versions: Out-and-back or a loop that includes Headley Overlook (a little limited as far as viewpoints go but still nice).

Updated 6/2021: Re-hiked; major changes to route and description due to a change to the Highlands Trail; made into a loop that includes Headley Overlook. Old update notes to page bottom.


Map:

This hike starts in Mahlon Dickerson Reservation and then enters Rockaway River WMA for the Beaver Brook Trail. There isn’t one current map that shows this whole hike.

This entire hike is covered by the Jersey Highlands Trails BUT the Highlands Trail area is out of date. The Mahlon Dickerson park map is updated, but it no longer shows the Beaver Brook Trail.

You can follow along on your smartphone with our Beaver Brook Interactive Map. There may be paper Mahlon Dickerson maps in the kiosk in the parking lot, or print out from the park site ahead.

Books:

A complete description of the Beaver Brook trail is found the The New Jersey Walk Book.


Parking: N41 00.462 W74 35.144

Rt 287 to Rt 80 W. Exit 34 to Rt 15 North. Right onto Weldon Road. Large parking area on the right.


Restrooms:

Portable toilets in the parking lot. If approaching from Rt. 15 North, there is a QuikChek about a quarter mile before the exit for Weldon Road (on the left and not well marked).


Hike Directions:

Overview: Highlands Spur (BLACK DOT on TEAL DIAMOND) – Highlands (TEAL DIAMOND) – BLUE – Beaver Brook (WHITE) to Lost Lake and then retrace – YELLOW – Highlands (TEAL DIAMOND) – Unmarked Service Road – YELLOW

Highlands Trail uses a TEAL DIAMOND as well as a “Highlands Trail” Diamond.

0.0 – Highlands Spur (BLACK DOT on TEAL DIAMOND) trailhead is at the back middle of the lot, not far from the portable toilets.

Pass the YELLOW trail on the left (might not notice it).

Almost immediately arrive at Saffin Pond. It’s easier to see if you step a bit to the right.

Saffin Pond with a bridge in the distance

Head LEFT, following Highlands Spur (BLACK DOT on TEAL DIAMOND).

Rocky trail with a black dot on teal diamond marker

The trail hugs the pond and is very rocky. There may signs of beaver activity.

Saffin Pond

The short spur trail continues next to Saffin Pond and approaches the bridge on the other end.

Trail with green foliage on the side next to a pond with a bridge in the distance

0.3 – At the end of the pond, just beyond a bench, make a sharp LEFT onto a gravel path and start following Highlands (TEAL DIAMOND).

This route does not go over the bridge at the end of the pond.

Bridge over the end of Saffin Pond

0.5 – At a T-intersection with a bench and gate, turn LEFT to continue following Highlands (TEAL DIAMOND).

The gate to the right blocks the old route of the Highlands Trail.

Yellow posts with a chain blocking trail access

Highlands (TEAL DIAMOND) is a flat and wide in this section.

Wide flat trail surrounded by green trees

0.8 – Turn RIGHT to start following BLUE. The hike returns to this intersection again towards the end. [Highlands (TEAL DIAMOND) continues ahead. YELLOW is ahead and left. There’s a sign for Saffin Pond.]

BLUE heads downhill and curves almost on to itself a few times because it’s a mountain bike trail. It continues downhill until it reaches a bridge.

2.1 – Follow BLUE as it turns LEFT. Another gate is on the right for the old Highlands Trail.

Cross Weldon Brook on a wooden footbridge. The trail starts to head uphill gradually after the bridge.

Weldon Brook

2.4 – At a junction with unmarked trails, turn RIGHT to continue following BLUE. There is a sign noting that to the left the old route of the Highlands Trail is closed.

Old markers are painted over but there was a WHITE one leftover on the back of a tree, from when Beaver Brook used to start here.

Straight is an unmarked trail that is not on the park map but it is shown on the Jersey Highlands Trails leading to the YELLOW trail.

Highlands rerouted sign on tree

Continue following BLUE over a large rock slab.

Large slab of rock with a boulder on it

2.8 – Continue straight to now follow Beaver Brook (WHITE). [YELLOW crosses left and right].

// Shorter 5.6 miles, skipping Lost Lake: Instead, turn LEFT to now follow YELLOW. Scroll down in the description to the next yellow box to continue. //

There is a trail kiosk and sign stating you are leaving a Morris County Parks Property.

Beaver Brook (WHITE) becomes more rugged, traversing some rock slabs and eventually heading downhill on the way to the lake.

Beaver Brook trail

3.2 – Cross an unmarked trail. Sometimes Beaver Brook (WHITE) can be overgrown in areas or hard to spot.

Ferns covered a trail

Head through an area with mountain laurel thickets.

Mountain laurel thickets

The small white cup-shaped flowers were blooming the day we hiked.

White cup shaped flowers on a mountain laurel thicket

3.7 – Cross another unmarked trail. Lost Lake will come into view through the trees.

View of a lake through trees with a large rock in the foreground

3.8 – An open grassy area with a little more of a view of Lost Lake and a large flat rock to sit on.

View of Lost Lake through a clearing in the the trees

This is an obvious stopping point and hikers might assume this limited view of the lake is the end goal.

But we’ve always continued down to the edge of Lost Lake for our break, 0.2 miles from here.

It’s hard to tell where the trail continues after the clearing but the trail becomes more noticeable after the rock. Beaver Brook (WHITE) was less used beyond this point so take that into consideration.

White marker on a tree beyond a large rock.

4.0 – Beaver Brook (WHITE) goes through a huge split rock. A smaller piece sits next to the gigantic boulder it used to be part of.

Large rock with a split off piece

Split Rock looks cool coming back the other direction too, with several sharp angles.

Hiker past a large split rock

Continue following Beaver Brook (WHITE) through some ferns and overgrown areas.

Hiker on a fern covered trail.

Soon the trail approaches the shore of the lake.

Lost Lake seen beyond an overgrown trail

4.1 – Beaver Brook (WHITE) comes to the edge of Lost Lake where there are logs to sit on and enjoy the view.

Lost Lake with lily pads and vegetation

This is the turn around point, but the trail does continue past this log (note below).

A beaver lodge is across the lake and they’ve dammed the water on one end.

Beaver lodge on a lily pad covered lake

Zoom in to a beaver dam on Lost Lake, circa April 2014:

Close up of a beaver lodge on a lake

The dam from another angle, also from 2014. We were able to get closer to the edge of the water then.

Beaver dam on Lost Lake

Looking back at the trail along the lake.

When ready, turn around and retrace the route back on Beaver Brook (WHITE) to the YELLOW trail junction.

// Optionally, continue the adventure… The Beaver Brook (WHITE) trail continues another ~3.1 miles to a parking lot on Berkshire Valley Road. There is a water crossing on planks not long after this spot. We last did that 2015 so we don’t know the condition. Couple of viewpoints later are quite limited, and the trail is more rugged with several elevation changes from Lost Lake on. See Trail Blog links at page bottom for more detail. //

5.4 – Back at the junction with YELLOW from earlier, turn RIGHT to now follow YELLOW. [BLUE is ahead, and YELLOW is also to the left.]

// Out-and-back option: 8.2 miles. Instead, retrace the route back, BLUE to TEAL. Another option is BLUE to YELLOW back. //

Wide level trail with a yellow marker on the tree

// Shorter 5.6 mile version from here on. //

YELLOW is a more defined trail than Beaver Brook (WHITE) and an open swampy area is visible throught the trees to the right.

Open swampy area seen through trees with large boulders in the foreground

Cross a wooden footbridge. It may be wet and muddy before it.

Hiker across a footbridge

YELLOW zig-zags uphill for a stretch.

6.2 – Veer RIGHT to now follow Highlands (TEAL DIAMOND). [YELLOW and Highlands continue ahead].

6.3 – Follow a side trail off to the RIGHT for two limited views – if you miss it, no biggie. The second view has a rock to sit on. Soon, the side trail meets back up with Highlands (TEAL DIAMOND).

Viewpoint over green hills with low clouds in the sky

Continue following Highlands (TEAL DIAMOND) as it meanders through the forest.

Highlands Trail

Pass a large glacial erratic on the side of the trail.

Glacial erratic on a trail

6.7 – Arrive at Headley Overlook. Trees block the view but a telephoto lens or monocular helps to see past them.

Panoramic view from Headley Overlook

Directly behind is an arrow sign for “Lake Hopatcong” but we didn’t notice the lake in the distance.

We’ve been to Headley Overlook twice (2010 and 2012) and recalled Lake Hopatcong being just slightly visible. It could be blocked with foliage or we weren’t at the proper angle.

Headley Overlook

6.8 – Turn LEFT and now follow an unmarked woods road. On the park map this is marked as a service road. There is a sign for Headley Overlook. [Highlands (TEAL DIAMOND) continues ahead].

Headley Overlook sign next to a gravel trail

Continue following the wide gravely woods road downhill.

7.1 – Continue straight, now following YELLOW (co-joined with Highlands (TEAL DIAMOND)). [YELLOW and TEAL also go left].

7.7 – Back at the junction from earlier, veer right to just follow YELLOW. [Highlands continues straight, BLUE is left]. Follow YELLOW back to the parking lot.

Teal and Yellow markers on tree

—-
Hiked: 6/12/21. Revised route.
Hiked: 8/15/15. Trail Blog: “Hiking Beaver Brook Trail Past Lost Lake
Hiked: 4/13/14. Trail Blog: “Mahlon Dickerson – Beaver Brook to Lost Lake
Hiked: 9/26/09. Trail Blog: “Beaver Brook Trail… and a bear in a tree
Hiked: 4/14/06. 6.5 miles. To Lost Lake from Berkshire Valley Road.


Updated: 8/15/15 – Beaver Brook can be crossed at the power line cut via a long plank on a dirt embankment. 4/21/14 – re-hiked, description updated, photos added, and GPS track added. Due to it now being difficult to cross Beaver Brook at the power line cut (construction work disturbed the crossing), we’ve changed this hike to stop at Lost Lake instead of continuing into a 10 mile hike.