Hike through a dense forest before climbing to Sunrise Mountain for views over northern New Jersey from the Appalachian Trail.
8.7 miles. Moderate – to difficult, typical rugged north Jersey trail surface.
- Shorter – Extensive trail system, use the trail map to create shorter options.
- Longer, ~10 miles. – Pass Stony Book and take Tower (GREEN) back. Noted below.
- Nearby: Sunrise Mountain – Culvers Gap; Culvers Gap – Blue Mountain; Blue Mountain Loop; Tillman Ravine; Stony Brook Falls.
- Casual Day Out – Combine a drive to the view at Sunrise and walk down the Appalachian Trail for a bit, or add in a short hike at Tillman Ravine and stop at Buttermilk Falls.
Our two cents:
The AT is not as rocky here as it is closer to the Gap. Steady rocky uphill on the approach to the Appalachian Trail. Stony Brook can be wet in areas and has several stream crossings via rocks or logs.
Updated: 10/2020 – Page refreshed, not re-hiked. Description/Interactive map adjusted to reflect naming changes due to the creation of the Blue Mountain Trail. 8/2017: Park map link.
10/2015: Revised the directions to exclude the Station Trail (Light Green) which is closed and being removed from maps; continue on Stony Brook (Brown) instead. Thanks to Jessica O. for the updated info.
10/2012: Description updated, a new set of photos and GPS coordinates added.
Kittatinny Trails or color coded park map.
NOTE: A 17-mile Blue Mountain loop was created which affected some trail names/colors (Swenson, Cartright). We’ve revised the directions below to reflect this but have not re-hiked it since.
A 5.9 mile loop in Stokes that does not take in Sunrise Mountain can be found in Hiking New Jersey.
Parking: N41.20292° W74.77338°
Stony Lake Parking. 206 North until you enter Stokes, pass Rt 636 and then turn right for the park entrance.
Drive down Coursen Rd and make a right at the end to get to the trail lot. (Follow signs for Stony Lake)
Charged from Memorial to Labor day. Info on the NJ State Park Pass.
At the Visitor Center. Also at Stony Lake (walk up the hill from the parking lot) from Memorial to Labor Day.
Around halfway through the hike is an outhouse at the sunrise mountain viewpoint parking lot. The lot is above the trail slightly, on the right.
Overview: Blue Mountain (BLUE) – Appalachian Trail (WHITE) – Stony Brook (BROWN).
Optional: Before starting, walk up from the parking lot to check out at Stony Lake as it’s not along this trail route.
0.0 – Look for the trail kiosk (large wooden sign), that marks the beginning of Blue Mountain (BLUE) and start down the wide path.
0.1 – Veer LEFT to continue on Blue Mountain (BLUE). [BROWN and GREEN continue straight and will be the return route].
1.8 – Continue following Blue Mountain (BLUE). [Tinsley (YELLOW) joins in from the RIGHT, and is co-aligned for a bit.]
1.9 – Turn RIGHT to continue on Blue Mountain (BLUE). [Tinsley (YELLOW) goes straight.]
2.3 – Arrive at a cabin. Continue following Blue Mountain (BLUE) – look for a sign post across the open area near the woodpile shelter.
[There are also blazes for a GREEN connector trail, off to the left].
2.9 – Turn RIGHT to continue on Blue Mountain (BLUE). [Swenson (RED) goes straight].
3.8 – Cross Sunrise Mountain Road and continue on Blue Mountain (BLUE), which heads uphill.
4.0 – Arrive at a slanted slab of rock that opens up to a wide view. It helps to get up on a rock and peek around/through the brush in order to spot it.
To the north is the High Point Monument in the distance (on the left, when going up the hill). Continue uphill on Blue Mountain (BLUE).
4.3 – Turn RIGHT and now follow the Appalachian Trail (WHITE). It’s mostly level along the ridge.
4.4 – Short side trail to a very obscured view. Continue on Appalachian Trail (WHITE).
4.5 – Pass the parking lot for Sunrise Mountain view point (it’s above and to the right).
Continue up stone steps.
On the left is a short trail to a more open view from Sunrise Mountain. Panorama, normal, and zoom.
4.7 – Large pavilion with benches and views from both sides of the ridge, somewhat obscured with brush.
View to the west from the pavilion.
Continue following the Appalachian Trail (WHITE) – just after the pavilion, the trail veers to the left if facing the direction of travel (south).
[A trail appears to go to the right as well but that’s not it.]
5.6 – Continue on Appalachian Trail (WHITE).
[Pass Tinsley (YELLOW) on the right, and an unmarked trail goes left].
7.0 – Turn RIGHT and now follow Stony Brook (BROWN). There is a small sign for the Appalachian Trail shelter at this intersection.
Longer Option, ~10 miles: See below.
The trail soon veers to the left at another small sign for the Appalachian Trail shelter. This turn is a little hard to spot.
Stony Brook (BROWN) is rocky and can be quite wet, as it follows along a brook.
7.2 – Cross Sunrise Mountain Road.
7.8 – Continue following Stony Brook (BROWN) as it turns left and becomes a wider, more level, and less rocky path.
8.2 – Tower (GREEN) comes in from the left and is co-joined with Stony Brook (BROWN) for a short time.
8.4 – Turn RIGHT and follow Stony Brook (BROWN)/Tower (GREEN) [Stony Brook (BROWN) also goes straight].
Continue on Stony Brook (BROWN)/Tower (GREEN) back to the parking lot.
Longer Option, ~10 miles
Instead of turning on to Stony Brook, continue on the Appalachian Trail to the next intersection, with Tower (Green).
There is a fire tower and a view just past the intersection.
After checking out the tower, follow Tower (Green) back to the parking lot.