Pochuck Boardwalk – Appalachian Trail

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Pochuck Boardwalk Appalachian Trail

Easy hike through a scenic marshy area on a long boardwalk and over the Pochuck Suspension Bridge.

2.0 miles. Trail surface is easy, on level wooden boardwalks.

Nearby Hikes: Cedar Swamp and Lake Lookout; Lake Loop and Twin Bridges; Hoeferlin, Cedar Swamp, Red Dot; Iron Mountain and Hoeferlin Loop; Wallkill River NWR; Wawayanda Lake via Kayak.

Note: There are three popular hikes on the Appalachian Trail in this area:

  1. Stairway to Heaven: Pochuck Valley to Pinwheel Vista – 7.3 miles, also from this parking area.
  2. Pochuck Boardwalk – Appalachian Trail – This hike.
  3. Stairway to Heaven NJ – 2.6 miles.
Where to park for Stairway to Heaven NJ and Pochuck Boardwalk

Our two cents:

Short, easy, scenic, and unique walk but super popular and can be very crowded.

Parking issues; consider a little longer hike by starting at the Canal Road North lot instead of parking along Rt. 517.


Map/Books:

#116 of the North Jersey Trails map set. Variations can be found in 50 Hikes in New Jersey, Hiking the Jersey Highlands, and Hiking New Jersey.

Restrooms:

Porta-johns at the trailhead on Rt 517, as of 11/2019 (They may be seasonal). Gas stations and fast food in Butler (more options), or in Vernon.


Parking:

41.234733, -74.480867 [Rt 517 Parking SEE NOTES]

893 County Rd 517, Vernon, NJ 07418. Rt 287 to Rt. 23. Follow 23 to the exit for 515N. Left onto 644 (Vernon Crossing). Right on 517.

There is a sign with a hiker symbol, then another to denote the parking. Parking is on the right side of 517, along the shoulder.

Room is limited – somewhere between 10-12 cars perhaps.

–Alternate lot for boardwalk: 41.231694, -74.462111 [Canal Road North]
23 Canal Rd, Vernon Township, NJ 07462 – Should take you to the intersection of Canal Road and Bucky Lane. Small lot is on Canal Rd.

Follow the path until it intersects with the Appalachian Trail. Turn RIGHT onto that. It’s a footpath for a bit before meeting up with the boardwalk.


**NOTE** This Boardwalk trailhead is in a residential area that is experiencing issues with the parking situation. Please be respectful of the residents and their property.

As always, Leave No Trace – trash or otherwise. Parking illegally in the area may generate a ticket.

Weekends/Holidays from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. NO PARKING is in effect on Carol Drive, Meadowlark Drive, Ann Place, Cove Court, Vlietstra Drive, Thistle Avenue, Ivy Place and Old Glenwood Circle. Parking on these streets is permit-only for residents. 

If parking along Route 517, obey all posted signage and utilize the striped parking spaces.

Info: Parking Restrictions By Pochuck BoardwalkVernon Police Press Release and “Vernon puts parking restrictions on roads near Appalachian Trail“.


Hike Directions:

Overview: Appalachian Trail (WHITE)

0.0 – From parking on the side of Rt. 517, follow a slight path along the road to a trail kiosk and turn onto the start of the boardwalk.

Easy walking on a long boardwalk through a marshy area.

Boardwalk through Pochuck Valley
Hikers on the Pochuck Boardwalk with trees around

There may be turtles in the large green pool of muck crossed on a wooden bridge.

Bridge on Pochuck Boardwalk
Grass along the Pochuck Boardwalk

A little further, cross Pochuck Creek on the impressive Pochuck Suspension Bridge.

Pochuck Suspension Bridge
Crossing the Pochuck Suspension Bridge

1.0 – Boardwalk ends, turn around and retrace the route.

Pochuck Boardwalk on the way back

Optional: Continue further on, the path becomes a forested trail.


Hiked 10/17/15.
Hiked: 7/31/10. Trail Blog: “Stairway to Heaven: Appalachian Trail and Pinwheel Vista