Stony Lake Loop

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Single tree in the middle of a lake

Easy hike around Stony Lake and to two small waterfalls.

2.5 or 1.3 miles. Easy trail surface mostly, the usual rocks and roots with little elevation change.

Our two cents:

Pleasant short hike that was very pretty in Fall. There was a beaver dam on the lake.

It’s worthwhile doing the whole loop to add in the two waterfalls but the parking lot is in the middle of the hike – so it’s easy to bail if you’ve had enough.


Map:

Kittatinny Trails has more detail than the park’s map.

Books:

None that we know of.

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)

Fee:

Charged from Memorial to Labor day. Info on the NJ State Park Pass. 


Restrooms:

At the Visitor Center. At Stony Lake (walk up the hill from the parking lot) from Memorial to Labor Day.

Near this parking lot, at the Kittle Field lot, bathrooms may be open if the Stony Lake ones aren’t.


Hike Directions:

Overview: Tower (GREEN) – Coursen (BLUE) – Stony Lake (BLUE-BROWN) – Blue Mountain (LIGHT BLUE) – Stony Brook (BROWN)

0.0 – From the parking lot, walk towards the trail kiosk and then past the metal gate. There are multiple trail markers on a tree.

Metal gate across trail

Start following Tower (GREEN) – also Stony Brook (BROWN) and Blue Mountain (LIGHT BLUE)]

Soon, continue following Tower (GREEN)/Stony Brook (BROWN) to the RIGHT. [Blue Mountain (LIGHT BLUE) leaves ahead].

0.2 – Turn RIGHT to now follow Coursen (BLUE). [Tower (GREEN)/Stony Brook (BROWN) leave to the left].

Trail markers for the Coursen Trail

0.4 – Just AFTER a bridge, turn RIGHT to now follow Stony Lake (BLUE-BROWN).

Wooden bridge surrounded by yellow foliage

Note: Stony Lake is listed as BLUE-BROWN on the map but on the trail the marker color looks almost aquamarine-yellow.

Perhaps due to fading or maybe the marker has changed. Or we’re missing something here. At any rate, it looks like this:

Split color trail marker on tree

The trail nears the water, where there is evidence of beaver activity.

Beaver dam on lake

A little further on the there is a beaver dam by the edge of the lake.

Beaver dam with sticks and leaves on top

Continue looping around Stony Lake. The beaver dam can be spotted across the way.

Beaver dam visible across a lake
Bright yellow leaves over the edge of a blue lake

1.0 – The trail starts to turn away from the lake and just after the remains of a foundation, turn RIGHT to now follow Blue Mountain (LIGHT BLUE).

[Stony Lake (BLUE-BROWN ends, Blue Mountain (LIGHT BLUE) also goes left.]

At the road, turn RIGHT and walk down the road a bit and then turn LEFT to now follow Stony Brook (BROWN).

// Shorter option, 1.3 miles: After walking down the road a bit, instead turn RIGHT to follow Stony Brook (BROWN) directly back to the lot, skipping the falls. //

Leaf covered stream and trail

1.3 – Follow the trail down next to the first Stony Brook Falls where water cascades down a sharp angled stone face that is slightly stepped.

Waterfall over stepped rock face

The angled rock face is visible during less water flow.

Water cascading over an angled rock face

Follow Stony Brook (BROWN) as it turns RIGHT in just a bit. The turn is easy to miss as the trail appears to continue straight.

Not a big deal if you miss the turn – you’ll just end up by the Kittle parking lot and can pick up the route again by walking towards the bathroom building.

1.5 – Continue following Stony Brook (BROWN) as it turns RIGHT past the bathroom building.

Stony Brook (BROWN) is a wide easy woods road in this area.

1.7 – Near the start of the Silver Mine (ORANGE) trail, turn LEFT away from that and walk towards the stream. There’s a path but we didn’t spot any markers.

A cascade tumbles over rocks near the remnants of a stone wall from an old sawmill site.

Stone wall remnants near a water cascade on a stream

Walk along Stony Brook to get different views of the cascades.

A little further down from the stone walls the fall appear to cascade over short steps. Stony Brook Falls is also known as “Stepping Stone Falls”.

Stepping Stone Falls

With less flow the steps are much more pronounced.

Stepping Stone falls with light water flow

The stream pools into a small basin after the falls.

Water pooling on Stony Brook

If there’s been a lot of recent rain there might be another cascade coming down the hill and spilling into the stream.

Cascade on a hill

This is a pretty little cascade that slides over roots and rocks and then falls into the pool in the stream below.

Return to Stony Brook (BROWN) and turn RIGHT. Follow it back to the bathroom building and turn LEFT. Continue back, past the first falls.

2.3 – Cross the park road and continue on Stony Brook (BROWN) for bit more to the parking lot.

Hiked: 10/18/20. with Culvers Gap to Fire Tower, and Sunrise Mtn viewpoint.