Stairway to Heaven and Pochuck Valley Trail is a 7.5 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Vernon Valley, New Jersey that features beautiful wild flowers and is rated as moderate. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible year-round. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.
dogs on leash
This hike starts out in at the AT crossing on Route 517 the Pochuck Valley and starts out flat for about 2.5 miles on boardwalks,a suspension bridge, and a cow pasture. It then crosses Rt. 94 and enters the "stairway to heaven" - a steep set of switchbacks over rocky terrain that wind their way up.
Pretty easy but really nice walk/hike. I loved the variety from boardwalk to cows to mountain vista. Great day!!!
Great hike, would rate this more moderate/hard. Did it after a rain fall, which made for a tricky decent.
Very cool !
I absolutely love this trail. It's great for any level hiker and has great views all around. It's definitely a unique trail system which is why I like it so much. I highly recommend it to anyone! Just watch where you step on the boardwalk...animals do use it as well so they leave little presents around lol.
An absolute must to do! We started on rt 517 at the boardwalk portion and hiked to pinwheel vista. Before we got to rt 94 we actually got the opportunity to hike through the cows which was amazing! Then we stopped for a light lunch at Heaven Hill Farms. Once we got to the Stairway to Heaven portion the terrain had changed drastically. It is rough terrain to the top but absolutely worth every step! I would highly recommend planning as a day hike with plenty of water and snacks.
We found this trail listed on one of the hiking websites as the #1 rated hike in New Jersey. To be clear, this hike is actually two connected trails, the Stairway to Heaven and the Pochuck Valley trail (an 8.2 mile out and back adventure). They are as interesting as they are different, so we will talk about them separately. First up, Pochuck Valley.
The Pochuck Valley boardwalks is a 2.5 mile system of boardwalks, wooden walkways, suspension bridges, pastures, styles, and wetlands. This is without a doubt one of the most unique trails we have hiked in NJ. Yet, without adding the Stairway to Heaven, we would have been left wanting a little something more. Luckily, this trail ends at the trailhead of the Stairway to Heaven.
'The Stairway' was a relatively short, relatively steep, rocky section of the AT that leads you to the .1 mile access trail to Pinwheel Vista. Take a left turn at the tree with an 8 foot pile of rocks at the base... hard to miss. The vista offers a nice view over the valley. Not bad.
Each hike alone would have been okay, but taken together offers a diverse, unique hiking experience. In short, they need each other. Well worth the trip! See uploaded pics for details. Enjoy!
My wife and I loved the boardwalk section. There are lots of wild flowers this time of year. Red-winged blackbirds are everywhere and we saw some turtles too. The boardwalk is a great option for after a heavy rainfall when other trails might be too muddy.