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Unread 07-31-2013, 01:55 PM   #1
Badfish740
Registered User
 
Join Date: Feb 2013
Location: High Bridge, NJ
Posts: 52
Exploring Stokes/High Point/Delaware Water Gap via the web

I'm planning on camping up at the Water Gap sometime in the Fall with some friends and doing some exploring while I'm there, so I've been pouring over maps to get the lay of the land and thought that I'd share some of that information with others who are interested in exploring. Feel free to correct any bad information (ie: if a road is actually closed and totally off limits-let me know), or to add to this thread. None of this is a secret, so I don't see any issue with sharing it. Anyone who can read a topographic map/use Bing or Google could have found these roads. However, again, if something is truly off limits let me know and I'll remove it from the post or get a moderator to:

I had heard that some of the unpaved roads are only gated from first snowfall until early Spring. However, I tried to use Google streetview to check out some of the roads and found some of the roads to be gated. The images were taken in July 2011. This road is located at the intersection of Sawmill and Ridge. It's an unnamed road that branches off and travels south toward Sawmill Lake. It appears on USGS topographic maps and on Google of course, but as you can see its gated via the yellow steel swinging gates they use to close off roads for snow machines/cross country skiing:

http://goo.gl/maps/Ny6YT

At the south end where it meets up with the loop around Sawmill it's gated with this temporary barrier:

http://goo.gl/maps/hGRsE

Is that a permanent closure or did they just not get around to opening this road that particular year? It's barely a mile long but just figured it might be somewhat interesting.

Additionally, you can see where Sawmill/Ridge Roads were realigned at one point. On this topo which was drawn sometime shortly after 1900 you can see that Sawmill and Ridge were connected by a paved road (highlighted in blue) and that the current alignment of Sawmill was only a hiking trail that went south around what was then just a small valley:



Just the faintest trace of this road remains-you can see it on Bing Maps which has better aerial photography for this part of the state than Google:

http://binged.it/17ilPeP

Here's the view of where the road once intersected with Sawmill heading west toward Ridge:

http://goo.gl/maps/VAbE5

And now looking east toward Sawmill from where Ridge and Old Mashipacong intersect:

http://goo.gl/maps/URS74

Obviously not driveable, but might make for an interesting hike. According to the old topo there was at least one structure on the road about halfway between Ridge and Sawmill. Also of note-it seems that you can't drive between Old Mashipacong and Ridge? There is a gate here:

http://goo.gl/maps/8cFxt

A bit further south is what appears to be an abandoned farm situated between Ridge and Sawmill. It's labeled as "Jeep Trail" on a more recent topo:



From this end it looks as though it might now be a hiking trail given the red sign and the gate? Looking west from Sawmill:

http://goo.gl/maps/Tjri2

However, looking east from the intersection with Ridge reveals an ungated road that looks somewhat traveled:

http://goo.gl/maps/6HCTS

Worth checking out I guess but probably a good idea to "proceed with caution" given the fact that it's gated at one end. Now for another oddity-Google clearly shows that Steenykill Road and Ridge Road connect via an unnamed/unpaved connector which also shows up on the newer topo:

http://goo.gl/maps/SnqQf

Looking northwest from Ridge-no gate to be seen:

http://goo.gl/maps/vCQEo

However, once again like the "Jeep Trail" road, the other end might not be so inviting. This is the view from the end of Steenykill Road where the unnamed connector with Ridge and a road called Carp Hill all meet up:

http://goo.gl/maps/t6Zfl

On the trees you can see "POSTED" and "NO TRESSPASSING" signs (That one looks like it has some additional message on it as well) and a "NO PARKING" sign. If you pan to the left you can see a private home, but I'm doubtful that they own any property beyond the footprint of the home itself. I'm guessing the home was there and the land around it was bought up by the state years ago when High Point State Park was established. Maybe they post the signs in hopes of keeping four wheelers/hikers out even though they don't actually have the right to do so? That happens frequently with hunters who live near WMA land-they post in hopes of keeping other hunters out who don't know the property boundaries well. Another gateway to this network of roads is where Reinhardt meets Old Mashipacong, and again, there are no signs or gates:

http://goo.gl/maps/t6Zfl

It does appear that at least some of this land is held by the New Jersey Natural Lands Trust, so this may be a hiking area only:

http://nj.gov/dep/njnlt/maps/reinhardt.jpg

I can't find any information on Carp Hill Road, the road that runs between Reinhardt and the unnamed connector. Moving further south and west to the area around Deckertown Turnpike there is or was a trail of some kind that extended from Deckertown Turnpike through Mashipacong Bog/Camp property back to Deckertown Turnpike. This may have even been the original alignment of the road:



Bing Maps reveals an image of what is left of it whereas Google Maps does not:

http://binged.it/17iCJKh

A check of Google Streetview on Deckertown Turnpike does not turn up any obvious entrance from the west side, but the roadway has been built up so it would be hard to see. The other end now serves as the driveway to the Summer camp:

http://goo.gl/maps/6unOY

It might be a nice hike in from the western end of Deckertown. The historic topo indicates it may have been paved, so there would likely be something left of it in the woods. DeGroat, between Grau and Meyer looks like it even offers some hillclimbs based on the elevation changes-you climb about 400' in just over a mile before descending into a small valley and coming back up again:



Also, it doesn't look as though Degroat is equipped with a gate (at least at this end-the other end can't be viewed), so maybe it's open year round?:

http://goo.gl/maps/McBaO

Another really interesting one is an unnamed connector between Skellenger Road just south of Lake Wapalane and Sunrise Mountain. The road forks at one point and there is a structure at the end of the north tine of the fork. The part of the road that continues on is shaded purple which would indicate private property which is kind of strange. The connection to Sunrise Mountain can't be seen because of the raised roadbed, but from Skellenger looking south it looks as though the road may have been permanently turned into a hiking trail:

http://goo.gl/maps/pd7Ok

The Shotwell Camping Area has a road that seems to connect to Tuttles Corner Road:



It's gated and looks overground from the camping area:

http://goo.gl/maps/TJAUa

The Tuttles Corner end can't be viewed. Now here's a real mystery. There seems to be a road which connects Woods Road (part of Kittatinny Lake) and Coss Road, which connects Struble and Woods:



I can find no evidence of this road on Bing, which is usually pretty good at picking up old tracks in the woods:

http://binged.it/1cev0nE

Likewise, there's no image available on Google. In theory though, if its there and not gated, you should be able to travel from Woods Road (which is not private as far as I know) to Coss. From there you can either head northwest to Struble, or Southeast to the unpaved continuation of Woods Road. Woods Road (at least as far as Google Maps is concerns goes all the way to Bevans and past it, but if I remember correctly, there may be a gate there as per the NY/NJ Trail Coalition maps. It's also worth nothing that the only unpaved road (according to the topo) is the unnamed road. However, Bevans looks unpaved from this view off of Owassa Turnpike:

http://goo.gl/maps/1ppqX

A word of caution on Bevans-it crosses the Appalachian Trail, so no idea how that would affect access. All in all, this entire group of roads looks worth exploring:

http://goo.gl/maps/lKCos

Between Struble Road and Brook Road, an unpaved connector is shown that seems to follow a creek bed:



An examination of Bing Maps reveals other possible roads as well as abandoned fields, which makes sense since this area is within the Delaware Water Gap, where homes and farms were condemned in preparation for the failed Tocks Island Dam Project:

http://binged.it/17j0hP6

Other than some of the unpaved roads that are fairly mundane in the Water Gap, that is probably it. The Water Gap is fairly aggressive with their road closure policy, and if they can find a reason to close a road they will. That said, please use common sense with regard to the information presented here and don't do anything stupid. We're lucky to have a large expanse of public land in Northwestern Jersey that is vehicle accessible-the only other part of the state you can find something like this is in the pines. Don't do anything that will jeopardize that!

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Unread 08-07-2013, 07:58 AM   #2
hub0619
Registered User
2010 JK Wrangler 
 
Join Date: Jun 2013
Location: , NJ
Posts: 57
Did you find any fun trails up there in stokes? I have been up there a few times and couldn't find any good wheeling trails
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Unread 08-07-2013, 09:00 AM   #3
Badfish740
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Join Date: Feb 2013
Location: High Bridge, NJ
Posts: 52
I haven't been up there yet this year. Last Fall I spent some time up in the Gap but didn't really get to Stokes. My interest lies more in just finding the more out of the way places that not many people go and finding what is left of the farms, homesteads, roads, etc...that were up in that area before the state started taking it over in the 1920s. The four wheeling is just a means to an end to get there, but if there's a good rocky hill climb or water crossing along the way, all the better.
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Unread 08-23-2013, 06:10 PM   #4
walpack
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Join Date: Aug 2013
Location: walpack
Posts: 7
Quote:
Originally Posted by Badfish740 View Post
I'm planning on camping up at the Water Gap sometime in the Fall with some friends and doing some exploring while I'm there, so I've been pouring over maps to get the lay of the land and thought that I'd share some of that information with others who are interested in exploring. Feel free to correct any bad information (ie: if a road is actually closed and totally off limits-let me know), or to add to this thread. None of this is a secret, so I don't see any issue with sharing it. Anyone who can read a topographic map/use Bing or Google could have found these roads. However, again, if something is truly off limits let me know and I'll remove it from the post or get a moderator to:

I had heard that some of the unpaved roads are only gated from first snowfall until early Spring. However, I tried to use Google streetview to check out some of the roads and found some of the roads to be gated. The images were taken in July 2011. This road is located at the intersection of Sawmill and Ridge. It's an unnamed road that branches off and travels south toward Sawmill Lake. It appears on USGS topographic maps and on Google of course, but as you can see its gated via the yellow steel swinging gates they use to close off roads for snow machines/cross country skiing:

http://goo.gl/maps/Ny6YT

At the south end where it meets up with the loop around Sawmill it's gated with this temporary barrier:

http://goo.gl/maps/hGRsE

Is that a permanent closure or did they just not get around to opening this road that particular year? It's barely a mile long but just figured it might be somewhat interesting.

Additionally, you can see where Sawmill/Ridge Roads were realigned at one point. On this topo which was drawn sometime shortly after 1900 you can see that Sawmill and Ridge were connected by a paved road (highlighted in blue) and that the current alignment of Sawmill was only a hiking trail that went south around what was then just a small valley:



Just the faintest trace of this road remains-you can see it on Bing Maps which has better aerial photography for this part of the state than Google:

http://binged.it/17ilPeP

Here's the view of where the road once intersected with Sawmill heading west toward Ridge:

http://goo.gl/maps/VAbE5

And now looking east toward Sawmill from where Ridge and Old Mashipacong intersect:

http://goo.gl/maps/URS74

Obviously not driveable, but might make for an interesting hike. According to the old topo there was at least one structure on the road about halfway between Ridge and Sawmill. Also of note-it seems that you can't drive between Old Mashipacong and Ridge? There is a gate here:

http://goo.gl/maps/8cFxt

A bit further south is what appears to be an abandoned farm situated between Ridge and Sawmill. It's labeled as "Jeep Trail" on a more recent topo:



From this end it looks as though it might now be a hiking trail given the red sign and the gate? Looking west from Sawmill:

http://goo.gl/maps/Tjri2

However, looking east from the intersection with Ridge reveals an ungated road that looks somewhat traveled:

http://goo.gl/maps/6HCTS

Worth checking out I guess but probably a good idea to "proceed with caution" given the fact that it's gated at one end. Now for another oddity-Google clearly shows that Steenykill Road and Ridge Road connect via an unnamed/unpaved connector which also shows up on the newer topo:

http://goo.gl/maps/SnqQf

Looking northwest from Ridge-no gate to be seen:

http://goo.gl/maps/vCQEo

However, once again like the "Jeep Trail" road, the other end might not be so inviting. This is the view from the end of Steenykill Road where the unnamed connector with Ridge and a road called Carp Hill all meet up:

http://goo.gl/maps/t6Zfl

On the trees you can see "POSTED" and "NO TRESSPASSING" signs (That one looks like it has some additional message on it as well) and a "NO PARKING" sign. If you pan to the left you can see a private home, but I'm doubtful that they own any property beyond the footprint of the home itself. I'm guessing the home was there and the land around it was bought up by the state years ago when High Point State Park was established. Maybe they post the signs in hopes of keeping four wheelers/hikers out even though they don't actually have the right to do so? That happens frequently with hunters who live near WMA land-they post in hopes of keeping other hunters out who don't know the property boundaries well. Another gateway to this network of roads is where Reinhardt meets Old Mashipacong, and again, there are no signs or gates:

http://goo.gl/maps/t6Zfl

It does appear that at least some of this land is held by the New Jersey Natural Lands Trust, so this may be a hiking area only:

http://nj.gov/dep/njnlt/maps/reinhardt.jpg

I can't find any information on Carp Hill Road, the road that runs between Reinhardt and the unnamed connector. Moving further south and west to the area around Deckertown Turnpike there is or was a trail of some kind that extended from Deckertown Turnpike through Mashipacong Bog/Camp property back to Deckertown Turnpike. This may have even been the original alignment of the road:



Bing Maps reveals an image of what is left of it whereas Google Maps does not:

http://binged.it/17iCJKh

A check of Google Streetview on Deckertown Turnpike does not turn up any obvious entrance from the west side, but the roadway has been built up so it would be hard to see. The other end now serves as the driveway to the Summer camp:

http://goo.gl/maps/6unOY

It might be a nice hike in from the western end of Deckertown. The historic topo indicates it may have been paved, so there would likely be something left of it in the woods. DeGroat, between Grau and Meyer looks like it even offers some hillclimbs based on the elevation changes-you climb about 400' in just over a mile before descending into a small valley and coming back up again:



Also, it doesn't look as though Degroat is equipped with a gate (at least at this end-the other end can't be viewed), so maybe it's open year round?:

http://goo.gl/maps/McBaO

Another really interesting one is an unnamed connector between Skellenger Road just south of Lake Wapalane and Sunrise Mountain. The road forks at one point and there is a structure at the end of the north tine of the fork. The part of the road that continues on is shaded purple which would indicate private property which is kind of strange. The connection to Sunrise Mountain can't be seen because of the raised roadbed, but from Skellenger looking south it looks as though the road may have been permanently turned into a hiking trail:

http://goo.gl/maps/pd7Ok

The Shotwell Camping Area has a road that seems to connect to Tuttles Corner Road:



It's gated and looks overground from the camping area:

http://goo.gl/maps/TJAUa

The Tuttles Corner end can't be viewed. Now here's a real mystery. There seems to be a road which connects Woods Road (part of Kittatinny Lake) and Coss Road, which connects Struble and Woods:



I can find no evidence of this road on Bing, which is usually pretty good at picking up old tracks in the woods:

http://binged.it/1cev0nE

Likewise, there's no image available on Google. In theory though, if its there and not gated, you should be able to travel from Woods Road (which is not private as far as I know) to Coss. From there you can either head northwest to Struble, or Southeast to the unpaved continuation of Woods Road. Woods Road (at least as far as Google Maps is concerns goes all the way to Bevans and past it, but if I remember correctly, there may be a gate there as per the NY/NJ Trail Coalition maps. It's also worth nothing that the only unpaved road (according to the topo) is the unnamed road. However, Bevans looks unpaved from this view off of Owassa Turnpike:

http://goo.gl/maps/1ppqX

A word of caution on Bevans-it crosses the Appalachian Trail, so no idea how that would affect access. All in all, this entire group of roads looks worth exploring:

http://goo.gl/maps/lKCos

Between Struble Road and Brook Road, an unpaved connector is shown that seems to follow a creek bed:



An examination of Bing Maps reveals other possible roads as well as abandoned fields, which makes sense since this area is within the Delaware Water Gap, where homes and farms were condemned in preparation for the failed Tocks Island Dam Project:

http://binged.it/17j0hP6

Other than some of the unpaved roads that are fairly mundane in the Water Gap, that is probably it. The Water Gap is fairly aggressive with their road closure policy, and if they can find a reason to close a road they will. That said, please use common sense with regard to the information presented here and don't do anything stupid. We're lucky to have a large expanse of public land in Northwestern Jersey that is vehicle accessible-the only other part of the state you can find something like this is in the pines. Don't do anything that will jeopardize that!
Never been to high point but know all stokes road if your down to wheeel
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