Loop with streams, water cascades, mines (closed), ridge views, the Catfish fire tower, rhododendron tunnels, and a swamp.
10.2 miles; shorter options. Rocky trail surface. Coppermine Trail follows a stream for a lot of the way, and heads gradually uphill. Rattlesnake Swamp trail skirts the swamp and can be soft or muddy in several areas.
- Shorter: 1.4 mile, 2 mile. 4.8 mile, 7.2 mile options – noted in the description below.
- Alternates: Use nearby Kaiser trail to make other loops.
- Nearby: Van Campens Glen, Laurel Falls, Sunfish Pond – Garvey Springs and Douglas Loop, Appalachian Trail – Sunfish Pond to Raccoon Ridge.
Do this in the spring for maximum water flow or after recent rain. There are several nice cascades along the way, though the larger waterfalls seem to be no more.
The trails in this area have lots of Mountain Laurel or Rhododendron (blooms May-June and June-July, respectively).
In addition to the Catfish Fire Tower and picnic table, there are many viewpoints (and nice break spots) along the Appalachian Trail that overlook rural New Jersey so fall is a nice time to hike this too.
An overview map is on the park site but as of 6/2019 there are no detail maps provided online. For paper maps check a visitor center (Kittatinny Point, Millbrook Village).
Note: Interactive Maps shows “Rattlesnake Trail” as point along the Appalachian Trail but is not near the actual intersection of the AT and Rattlesnake Swamp.
A good 5.7 loop starting from Mohican Outdoor parking instead and hitting the cascades but skipping the mines is in Best Day Hikes in New Jersey (New, 2019).
Parking: N41.03835° W75.02752
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 7 miles.
The parking lot is on the left, with a sign for Coppermine on the right side of the road. (Don’t confuse it with the Douglas parking lot that you will pass on the left before.)
The lot is on “Old Mine Rd, Hardwick Township, NJ 07825” – but this is a park road in the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area with no street number to enter into a GPS.
A porta-john was in the lot as of 6/2019. A composting toilet building is a few minutes drive north of the parking area, near “Poxono Access” on the map.
Bathrooms at the Kittatinny Visitor Center, but that is on Rt 80 E and you’ll need to loop around. There is rest area on Rt. 80 W. about 20 minutes before the trailhead: Delaware Water Gap Travel Plaza.
Update 6/2019 – Re-hiked, updated description and online map data, added photos. Removed this hike from the Best Waterfall Hikes in NJ page as they’ve changed and reduced in flow from when we originally added it. Still a great hike though! 4/2016 – Re-hiked first mile only, added new photos, minor description changes.
Overview: Coppermine Trail (RED) – Unmarked Spur Trail – Coppermine Trail (RED) – Appalachian Trail (WHITE) – – Unmarked Trail – Rattlesnake Swamp (ORANGE) – Road through Mohican Outdoor Center – Coppermine Trail (RED).
0.0 – The Coppermine Trail (RED) trail head is across Old Mine Road from the parking area.
Just a bit down the trail, at a post, turn LEFT onto a well-worn but unmarked trail for about 0.2 mile. There were several water cascades along the stream in 2016 but not as many in 2019.
The trail ends at a closed mine entrance. Turn around and return to the post.
When back at the post, turn LEFT to continue on Coppermine Trail (RED), passing some building remains.
The trail will start to head uphill on an old woods road.
0.5 – Continue on Coppermine Trail (RED), passing the junction of Kaiser Spur – Lower (BLUE) on the right. [This can be used to connect to the Kaiser trail for other hike loops.]
0.6 – Pass a closed mine entrance on the right, up a short steep incline (easy to miss).
Shortly, cross a stream on a wooden footbridge near some pretty cascades. Continue following Coppermine Trail (RED) as it switchbacks uphill.
[Shorter, 1.4 miles: Turn around at the bridge and retrace.]
1.0 – The trail rises above the stream. Several cascades may be visible below before arriving at an open area with cascades and possibly a small waterfall (2019: now hard to see and too overgrown to bother getting closer).
(Note: The main waterfall in this area in 2011 was dry in 2016. By 2019 it was hard to tell there used to be something there, it was so clogged.
In 2016, a waterfall appeared in an area that I don’t think had one in 2011 – so it’s likely that the water route changed. By 2019, this was hard to see and get to.)
[Shorter, 2.0 miles: Turn around and retrace.]
1.2 – Turn LEFT to continue on Coppermine Trail (RED)
[Kaiser Spur – Upper (BLUE) goes right and would meet up with Kaiser (BLUE) to make a loop back to the parking lot]
2.4 – Turn LEFT to now follow the Appalachian Trail (WHITE). [Coppermine Trail (RED) ends].
[Shorter, 4.8 miles: Retrace the route from this point.]
Cross a stream on a bridge, then cross over the gravel camp road (which leads to Mohican Outdoor Center). The Appalachian Trail (WHITE) heads steadily uphill to gain the ridge.
3.2 – Get a peek of the ridge views to come at two rocks, with limited views. There are better in just a bit.
3.5 – Shady rock in a little open area we like to stop at – but there are multiple view points and good break areas along the ridge (we didn’t mark all of them). There’s another just after this one.
3.8 – Pass Rattlesnake Swamp (ORANGE) on the left (easy to miss, tucked back a bit) and continue on Appalachian Trail (WHITE).
[Shorter, 7.2 miles: Turn left and follow Rattlesnake Swamp (ORANGE) and resume directions at 7.3 below. This removes 3.0 miles and the fire tower from this hike.]
4.7 – Catfish Fire Tower. Picnic table.
5.0 – Watch for the Appalachian Trail (WHITE) blazes indicating a turn off to the LEFT, while a woods road continues straight.
5.2 – Turn LEFT off of the Appalachian Trail (WHITE) onto a woods road. This is shown as an unmarked trail on the Kittatinny Trails map but was not marked at the actual trail intersection.
[Appalachian Trail (WHITE) continues ahead, to Maine.]
5.4 – Signpost for “Rattlesnake Swamp Trail” and “Fire Tower 1.5 miles” and a large stump post with 3-orange blazes. Turn LEFT to start following Rattlesnake Swamp (ORANGE).
Rhododendron and mountain laurel thickets line both sides of the trail.
Pass a swampy area on the right, then eventually Catfish Pond will be visible through the trees on the right as well.
7.3 – Signpost indicating “Rattlesnake Swamp/AT” to the left and “Camp Mohican” to the right. Turn RIGHT to now follow the unmarked trail through Camp Mohican.
7.4 – When you arrive in the main camp area, at a cabin, turn LEFT onto the gravel road and follow that through camp.
Pass a camp outhouse on the right, circle of benches.
7.6 – Open view of Catfish Pond on the right. Continue on the gravel road. Pass the Mohican Outdoor Center Lodge and parking lot.
8.1 – Turn RIGHT to start following the Appalachian Trail (WHITE) again (you crossed the road here earlier).
Cross the footbridge and soon turn RIGHT onto the start of the Coppermine Trail (RED).
At this point you are retracing your route from earlier, following Coppermine Trail (RED) back to the parking lot.
Hiked: 4/10/16. First mile only, for waterfall photos. “Silver Spray Falls, Buttermilk Falls, Coppermines cascades“
Hiked: 5/29/11. Trail Blog: “Delaware Water Gap: Coppermines – Rattlesnake Swamp”