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Hiking

Discover… Explore… Play… Be Pampered… and Stay… at Crystal Springs Resort!

Nestled in the verdant hills of Vernon Valley, the gateway to the protected New Jersey Highlands, the luxurious Crystal Springs Resort is the perfect NJ getaway from the hustle and bustle of the city. Against a kaleidoscope of fall color of Hamburg Mountain, the distinctive Adirondack style of Grand Cascades Lodge beckons you and your family to come and explore 200,000+ acres of unspoiled forest, majestic mountains and lush valleys.

Enjoy an exhilarating hike with our nature guides to the Pinwheel Vista or listen to the call of a rare Barred Owl at the Kuser Bog Natural Area lured by our expert naturalist. Canoe a mountaintop lake and hear the calls of a Common Loon, or swim in the lush Biosphere, a uniquely tropical, indoor pool paradise! Play golf at the best courses in New Jersey or enjoy a horseback ride on narrow trails of ancient limestone cliffs. At the end of the day, indulge yourself at one of the two most luxurious spas in the Northeast. Find yourself reinvigorated at Crystal Springs Resort.

Your guide to the outdoors can be found at Crystal Springs Resort where seasoned on-site naturalists can help you discover nature with weekly hikes.

View Beginner Hikes
View Intermediate Hikes
View Strenuous Hikes


Easy Hikes

Title: Wood Duck Trail
Location: Rte. 565 .1 mile within the Wallkill River National Wildlife Refuge.
Description: This circuit 4 mile hike on a former railroad bed is an ideal family trek that is flat but elevated over a series of natural habitats. Open marsh, bottomland swamp forest, hardwood forest and shrubby fields greet the hiker with great opportunities to enjoy seeing wildlife such as muskrat, beaver, and even black bear. The Wood Duck Trail is great for birdwatchers in search of rarities such as Barred Owl, Great Blue Heron and Wood Duck. It is a great place for kids to see turtles and frogs too!
Difficulty: Easy
Directions: From Grand Cascades Lodge head west on Wild Turkey Way until end. Make right onto Rte. 94 to junction with Rte. 23. Turn right onto Rte. 23 North for an estimated 5 miles until junction with Rte. 565. Turn left onto Rte. 565 for .1 mile. Trail parking on right.
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Title: Appalachian Trail (Canal Road section)
Location: Canal Road, Wawayanda State Park, Vernon Township
Description: The Canal Road section of the Appalachian Trail is a four mile gentle stroll that ends at Rte. 94. The AT here represents the most panoramic viewsed of entire trail system while wending through corn fields, forest groves, wetlands and shrubby pasturelands against the of the Wawayanda and Pochuck Mountain ranges. The trail is great for nature observation, botanizing, bird watching and for a short hike. Canal Road is part of Vernon Township’s Biking Trail for family oriented road bikes tours.
Difficulty: Easy
Directions: From Grand Cascades Lodge head west on Wild Turkey Way until end. Turn right and go north onto Rte. 94. Proceed through light at McAfee and continue north onto Rte. 517 for 4 miles. Turn right onto Maple Grange Road. Cross bridge over Pochuck Creek. Turn left onto Canal Road until end and park in Trail parking lot.
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Title: Appalachian Trail (Pochuck Creek section)
Location: Rte. 517, Vernon Township
Description: This handicap friendly 4 mile hike takes you along an elevated wooden trail over the Pochuck Creek marsh and crossing the Pochuck Creek along a suspension bridge. Afterwards, the AT enters the largest protected limestone forest in Vernon Township with several centuries old trees and rare and unusual wildflowers. This section of the AT is hugely popular and frequented by thousands of visitors every year. Many activities take place here including, nature observation, bird watching, trail running, and short and through hikes.
Difficulty: Easy
Directions: Grand Cascades Lodge head west on Wild Turkey Way until end. Turn right and go north onto Rte. 94. Proceed through light at McAfee and continue north onto Rte. 517 for 5 miles until you reach the shoulder parking area parallel to road. Park and proceed to trail head on east side of Rte. 517.
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Intermediate Hikes

Title: Appalachian Trail to Pochuck Mountain
Description: This 4-mile, ‘forgotten portion’ of the Appalachian Trail to the summit of Pochuck Mountain is a steadier, easier climb than Wawayanda Mountain but completely in the woods. The mountaintop is mostly flat with mixed hemlock and hardwoods. An interesting vernal pond always seems to have turtles and frogs. You may even find a mink hunting amphibians, or the resident pair of Barred Owl.
Difficulty: Intermediate Return to top of page

Title: Highlands Trail to Buckabear Pond
Description: This 4-mile switchback trail parallels Clinton Reservoir. The tour provides great views of the reservoir and Bearfort Mountain. The uneven terrain traverses under a climax forest with a rich understory of shrubs and wildflowers in spring and summer. You will pass a beaver dam and giant tulip trees amongst splendid solitude at Buckabear Pond – an ideal stop for a quiet lunch. The trail provides great snowshoeing in winter, too. Maps are available thru the NY/NJ Trail Conference or at Crystal Springs Resort shops.
Difficulty: Intermediate
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Title: Lounsberry Hollow Trail
Description: Little known and seldom used, this nature sanctuary owned by the New Jersey Audubon Society is a 250 acre portion of Pochuck Mountain is a destination for hikers and nature lovers wwho enjoy solitude and exploration. The preserve has well blazed trail undulates through a number of summits and ravines with rarely seen panoramic views of Vernon Valley from the west looking east. The trailhead is a located on the south side of Lounsberry Hollow Road in Vernon.
Difficulty: Intermediate
Directions: From the Minerals Spa Hotel turn right onto Rte, 94. Turn left onto McPeek Road and bearing right at the fork with Sandhill Road. Go north on Sandhill Road until it becomes Rte. 517. After 3 miles turn left onto Maple Grange Road and a quick right onto Lounsberry Road. Trail head is ½ mile on left.
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Title: Appalachian Trail Barrett Rd to Pinwheel Vista
Location: Barrett Rd, Vernon Township
Description: This hike starts at Barrett Rd and goes to the Pinwheel Vista. It is a section of the Appalachian Trail. It is a nice alternative to get to the vista without having to climb the strenuous face of the front part of the mountain. This trail is approximately 2.4 miles with rolling hills. Follow the white blazes. You will cross a stream and head south to the vista. When you see the blue blazed trail on the right, take that right and the vista will be a few yards in front of you.
Difficulty: Intermediate
Directions: From Minerals Hotel, follow Rt 94 north to the center of Vernon where Rt 515 and Rt 94 meet. You will see Burger King in front of you at the light. Turn left to stay on Rt. 94 and travel 4.4 miles. At Barrett Rd, turn right and follow for approximately 1.3 miles and you will see a small dirt area on your right to park at. Parking is limited. Follow the white blazes into the woods.
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Title: Dagmar Dale (North Loop)
Location: Wallkill River NWR Headquarters, Rte. 517. Vernon Township
Description: This 3 mile circuit trail is a gradual descent to the Wallkill River riparian corridor compete with a sturdy bridge over the waterway. Starting with panoramic views of the Wallkill Valley, the Dagmar Dale trail introduces the nature enthusiast to a bevy of wildlife habitats; beaver marsh, grassy meadows, overgrown shrubby fields and mature forests. The return hike requires the hiker to ascend several hundred feet to return to th e parking lot. The refuge headquarters has plenty of parking, bathrooms and a water fountain.br> Difficulty: Intermediate
Directions: From the Minerals Hotel turn left onto Rt 94. At next light, turn right onto Rt 517. Go until you reach Lake Pochung Road. Make a left turn onto Lake Pochung Road and go to end. Turn right onto Rte. 565 and a quick left onto the Wallkill River NWR headquarters.
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Title: Hamburg Turnpike Trail
Location: Hamburg Mountain WMA, Hardyston Township
Description: This little known trail begs to be discovered! Located off of Mountain Avenue, the Hamburg Turnpike Trail is a former colonial road that begins as a short residential street culminating at a significant woods road that climbs steadily until you reach an elevation of 1400 feet. Crossing mountain streams, remnant hemlock forest and dry ridgetop woods, the trail crosses a series of beaver marshes and across the Silver Grove Lake Wildlife Management Area before entering the vast Pequannock Watershed. NJ Endangered Red Shouldered Hawk, Barred Owl and Goshawk nest near the trail.br> Difficulty: Intermediate
Directions: From Minerals Hotel turn left out of the resort onto Rt 94 south. Make next left onto Rt 517. Proceed for a few miles and turn left onto Mountain Road. After about another mile turn right onto Hamburg Turnpike and drive 1/10 of a mile to end to a small parking area on right.
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Title: Livingston South Trail
Location:
Description:This seldom used trail is well blazed and easily accessed from Breakneck Mountain Road. Starting from a small pond, the trail hugs the ridgetop overlooking Vernon Valley with scattered overlooks and interesting rock formations heading north to a junction with the Appalachian Trail several miles away. The trail is mostly level with no challenging climbs or rocky areas. Several offshoot trails meet with the main Livingston Trail. Consult the Wawayanda State Park map for more information. The map can be obtained by visiting the park headquarters or for more information please visit The NJ State Parks Web Site
Difficulty: Intermediate
Directions: From Minerals Hotel, turn right and go north onto Rte. 94. At 3rd light, make right onto Rt 515 and drive south briefly until turning left onto Breakneck Mountain Road. Drive east and ascend Breakneck Mountain Road until you reach a small woods road on your left.. Turn left and pull into the limited parking area.
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Title: Pumphouse Trail
Location: Wawayanda State Park, Vernon Twp.
Description: The Pumphouse Trail is one of many beautiful trails found in Wawayanda State Park. The trail itself is rugged with many short ascents and descents while crossing hemlock forests, ten foot tall rhododendrons and hardwood swamps. Seeing Black Bear or one of many interior nesting songbirds is to be expected in spring and summer. Several offshoot trails crisscross the main stem with one path offering great views of Wawayanda Lake from the south. The trail ends at a remote corner of the park by Cherry Ridge Trail.
Difficulty: Intermediate
Directions: From Minerals Hotel, turn right and go north onto Rte. 94 until you reach Vernon Center (junction of Rte. 515 and Rte. 94). Turn right on Rte. 515 and drive south briefly until turning left onto Breakneck Mountain Road. Follow Breakneck Road for 2.3 miles until you reach an intersection with a gas station and bear left onto Wawayanda Road. At 3.6 miles, bear right at fork to stay on Wawayanda Road and proceed into the park.
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Strenuous Hikes


Title: Appalachian Trail to Pinwheel Vista
Location: Rte. 94, Vernon Township
Description: The most heralded hike in the region! If you climb the 700 foot climb in less than a mile, you will enjoy the one of the most breathtaking viewsheds in the Highlands region. The hear pumping adrenaline rushing ascent is not for the faint of heart nor if you are not in good physical condition, nevertheless, the reward of seeing Slide Mountain, the highest point in the Catskills, High Point State Park, the highest point in New Jersey and the sweeping pasturelands of Vernon Valley on a clear day will last a lifetime. The trail is underrated for the abundance and great variety of butterflies, birds and wildflower blooms that are a must see for the nature enthusiast.
Difficulty: Strenuous
Directions: From Minerals Hotel, turn right and go north onto Rte. 94 until you reach Vernon Center (junction of Rte. 515 and Rte. 94). Turn left on Rte. 94 and drive for about 2 miles. Pass large red barn on right, then proceed 1/ 10 of a mile more park on your right at the Appalachian Trail head. You will see the AT trail sign.
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Title: Hamburg Turnpike to Silver Grover Wildlife Management Area
Description: Climbing Hamburg Mountain along an old colonial road is fun but steep until it levels for an easy jaunt to Silver Lake, an old boys scout camp, now a wildlife management area. The experienced hiker will cross many streams, see talus slopes and enjoy a vast network of beaver ponds, and scattered hemlocks, this area of the Hamburg Mountain Wildlife Management Area. Seeing beaer, bear, fox and over 70 species of nesting birds is possible here.
Difficulty: Strenuous
Directions: From Minerals Hotel, turn left (south) onto Rte. 94 for 1 mile and turn left onto Rte.517. Head south for three miles until you see Mountain Ave. Turn left onto Mountain Ave. After one mile turn left onto Hamburg Turnpike. Road is a dead end, park on right. Ten minutes from Minerals Spa, five from Grand Cascades.
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Title: Appalachian Trail to High Point
Description: Climbing High Point to a summit of 1801 feet the highest point of New Jersey is a strenuous but exhilarating experience whose reward is to see the monument and the 360 degree panoramic views of three States; Pennsylvania, New York and New Jersey. The 3 mile climb is rugged, rocky and steep. Experienced hikers need to bring sufficient water and snacks. Sturdy shoes or boots, hiking pole and mosquito repellent are strongly recommended for the summer months.
Difficulty: Strenuous
Directions: From Minerals Hotel, turn left onto Rte. 94 until the intersection with Rte. 23. Turn right onto Rte. 23 and drive for about 20 miles. Turn right onto Rte. 519. Head straight (north) for 6 miles until you see the junction for the Appalachian Trail. Park on right and follow the white blazes.
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