In the Clouds: High Point State Park

Though it is by no means stratospheric, the spot marked by the High Point Monument signifies an elevation of 1,803 feet.  Being the loftiest point in New Jersey, the location offers spectacular views of the landscape below, and visiting it in each season offers a different perspective of the Garden State.  High Point State Park is full of trails to explore, each of which offers unique vistas of farmland, woods, rivers and towns, but the park’s full range of offerings also include camping, swimming, cross-country skiing, and picnicking.

What to Expect

Kyle and I began in the parking lot for the monument gazing up at the 220-foot obelisk (and almost being blown away the frigid autumn wind).  We suggest dressing warmly when visiting High Point in the Fall and Winter months because the windchill is especially prevalent at these heights.

high-point-2
The 220-foot High Point Monument is quite a sight

There are plenty of trails in the park to choose from, but we opted for the Monument Trail, which provided us with sweeping views rolling hills and forrests.  Following the green and red blaze, we descended down to Lake Marcia.  We then continued along the trail as it entered the woods.  At this point, we advise caution, as the trail was inundated with leaves, and, among those leaves, rocks.  After around 20 minutes of hiking, we began to see glimpses of the surroundings.

high-point-4
An early view along the Monument Trail

15 minutes after that, we began to ascend and the amount of trees began to lessen; this stretch of the trail afforded the most striking and panoramic sights.  In order to access the best views, we had to momentarily leave the main trail and climb onto rock outcroppings, but these spots were easily accessible; they were only a few feet off the trail.

high-point-3
One of the more spectacular views along the trail, from an outcropping

After around an hour and a half total, Kyle and I emerged from the woods back in the parking lot where we began, and hurried back to the cat to avoid being blown off of the mountain by whipping winds.

In Short

Expect over two hours of hiking at a slow to moderate pace, accounting for stops.  Some stretches of the Monument Trail were a bit dull, but the occasional sights made up for it, as they were truly stunning.  If the Monument Trail does not sound appealing, there is no need to be worried, as there are a wide range of other paths to delve into.  In addition to the hiking opportunities at High Point there are several other activities like swimming, camping, fishing, boating, and hunting.  It is also worth noting that, although Kyle and I were unable to do so, it is possible to climb to the top of the High Point Monument and experience 360-degree views of New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania.  The days during which the monument is open can be found here.

Getting There

High Point State Park is located directly off of NJ-23/County Road 443.  There is no specific exit to take, but there is signage that clearly marks where to enter the park, as well as how to get to the monument parking lot, where the Monument Trail begins and ends.

Parking

There are a few places to park within High Point, but the best way to access the Monument Trail is by parking at the monument itself.  There is an entry fee of $5 per vehicle on weekdays and $10 on weekends and holidays, but this only applies between Memorial Day and Labor Day.

Advertisements

One thought on “In the Clouds: High Point State Park

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s