Wawayanda Rhododendrons in July

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Wawayanda is known for it’s abundant mountain laurel and rhododendron.

We’d managed to time the laurel blooms right last month (“Wawayanda – Pumphouse, South End, Twin Bridges“) , so we figured we’d try for the rhododendrons this month.

We did ok, though overall there were more blooms along Sitting Bear and Wingdam by the lake than on Cedar Swamp.

For detailed hike directions, maps, GPX, and photos, visit our “Wawayanda State Park” page.
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Rhododendron tunnels are always cool:
It had poured the night before and Cedar Swamp is prone to squishiness but other than slippery planks, it was ok.

We passed some trail maintainers hard at work repairing the boardwalk too. We remember how flooded these trails used to get.

Parking in Summer… In addition to parking fees (see NJ State Park Pass), Wawayanda has a very popular swimming beach.

They stop letting in cars when the swimming area fills to capacity, which can happen in the late morning or noon… or even earlier on holiday weekends.

When we left at 2 pm they had the entrance shut, though there were spots open in both the boat and beach lots – so even if you were just hiking I suppose you’d be out of luck.

Check the NJ State Parks Facebook page for updates, and have a map handy for the hike options at other lots if you aren’t an early bird. Just a heads up!

The bright side to this… we didn’t see many people on the trails as everyone was at the beach and boat area.

Miles: 8.2

Route: Unmarked along the lake towards the furnace – Double Pond (YELLOW) – Cedar Swamp (BLUE) – Banker (GREEN) – Cherry Ridge Road (WHITE zig-zag on BLACK) – Old Coal (RED) – Lookout (WHITE) – Cherry Ridge Road (WHITE zig-zag on BLACK) – Laurel Pond (YELLOW) – Sitting Bear (ORANGE) – Wingdam (BLUE) – Unmarked along the lake back to the parking lot

Wildlife spotted: Three small snakes when scrambling out on rocks jutting from the shore of the lake. Frogs/toads – every puddle had a zillion jump into the water as we approached.

Bonus: Chocolate malted milkshakes at DQ on the way home. You know, for medicinal purposes. Muscle recovery, yadda yadda. Very Important. Note to our future selves: might be a new ice cream shop closer.

For detailed hike directions, maps, GPX, and photos, visit our “Wawayanda State Park” page.