The Delaware Water Gap marked the very beginning of our New Jersey Journeys Blog when we hiked Mt. Tammany. We returned to hike the Garvey Springs Trail to find our way to Sunfish Pond, a small secluded body of water that sits atop the mountain surrounded by forest and wildlife. The trail is classified as difficult, but the reward is well worth the effort.
What to Expect
Following the orange blaze of the Garvey Springs trail, the first few hundred feet offer a couple of aesthetically pleasing views that range from a waterfall to a maze of bright green ferns. That being said, the first few hundred feet is also a brutal upward climb that starts from a steep ascent right from the trail head. Jack and I struggled a little bit traversing jagged rocks and watching our step through the slippery mud that the rain had created.
After about 20 minutes of climbing upward, the trail levels off and turns left as it meets with the green blaze Rock Cores trail. This part of the hike was a nice flat break from the previous trek uphill. This did not last long however, after only about 5 minutes the Garvey Springs trail makes a left turn and continues to climb the mountain.
The last big ascent up the trail is the most difficult part of the trail. It gets very steep very quickly and some parts of the trail are narrow and requires some climbing over rocks. This part of the trail took about 30-40 minutes and required many breaks to stop to re-hydrate, even while me and Jack were doing this in the rain.
Finally, reaching the top, the trail plateaus and the view of Sunfish pond can be seen through the trees to the right. A short walk through the foliage and the trial snakes right up to the bank of the pond. The tortoise trail, Appalachian Trail, and old fire roads provide a full loop around the pond if desired, but it was raining and cold as Jack and I arrived so we opted not to take the loop. To return back down we just retraced the same way we came.
As with many Delaware Water Gap hikes, this trail was very difficult. We would only suggest it for experienced hikers who like a challenge. This IS NOT a trail recommended for pets and children. Jack and I also did it in the rain which caused a lot of the trail to turn to mud and it was very slippery at times so we recommend only hiking the trail if the weather permits. Although the reward of the hike is not a scenic view it provides an opportunity to branch off to other Appalachian Trails and an opportunity to admire a tranquil pond.
Traveling west and then north on Route 80 we took the last exit right before the bridge that leads into Pennsylvania onto Old Mine road. We then drove to the second intersection of Campground Road and Old Mine Road.
There is a parking lot at the intersection of Campground Road and Old Mine Road that is across from a waterfall. The Garvey Springs trail head is across the road from the parking lot to the left.