Normanook Tower via Appalachian Trail Loop is a 4.9 mile moderately trafficked loop trail located near Branchville, New Jersey that features a lake 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.

4.9 miles
738 feet

dogs on leash

kid friendly





nature trips

trail running





wild flowers


The loop starts out on the Appalachian trail and then takes you onto Sunrise Mt RD. Walk Sunrise Mt Rd a short distance to the Coursen trail. Once on the Coursen Tr. you will pass through a damp and cool forest consisting of Hemlock, Mt Laurel, Rhododendrons, and streams. The forest then turns into a hardwood forest with a swamp and a view of the Kittatinny Ridge. From the Coursen Tr. you will then get on the Tower Tr. At first you will go through a stand of spruce and then you cross a stream and start your rocky climb, through a hardwood Forest, to the top of the Kittatinny Ridge and Culvers fire Tower, where you will be rewarded with some great views of the Poconos and Delaware River Valley. From the top of the ridge you will take the Appalachian Tr. South along the ridge with some limited views and back to the parking area.

5 months ago

Great hike that would fill a morning or afternoon! We hiked it right after a thunderstorm so the bugs were awful, except at the peak because of the breeze. 100% worth it! It can be done with little to no technical gear. Athletic apparel is completely acceptable, just be carful with footing!

Saturday, August 12, 2017

I am 10 years old and I loved the trail. The view at the top and the Fire Tower is worth the hike. The loop is challenging but it's really fun! My sister is 9 and she did it too.

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Did this with my wife one day and my ten year old daughter the next. My daughter and I rounded a curve and stumbled across a large black bear about thirty feet from where we stood. I yelled at it and it took off like a bullet making a ton of racket. Highlight of my east coast hikes.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Fun, beautiful view, not too easy and not too hard.

Monday, November 21, 2016

Cool tower and really nice views. Not much human activity on these trails which is nice. Some wildlife including bear, fox, and birds of prey. Small beaver pond off the trail. Lots of trail crossings. I took white to green to blue for this loop. Shouldnt take more than 3 hours unless you stop for a long time.

Wednesday, September 07, 2016

This is a winner because of the payoff of the fire tower at the end. I don't know if you are technically allowed to go up but it's irresistible for the views of the lakes! Very rocky trail like most in NJ.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Did the loop as an out and back (Culvers gap parking lot to tower, and back the same way) with some friends from work & two dogs. The trail was well marked and easy to follow, there were some nice views to be had if you ventured off the main trail onto a few short side paths. I want to go back again on a better day - the sky was very overcast today so the views weren't as great as I know they can be.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

One of my favorite trails in the region. Nice gain, mildly technical, and it hooks up with the AT so you catch a lot of thru and section hikers. If the rangers are away, the tower's in play if you're looking for a better view ;)

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Thursday, October 19, 2017

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Saturday, September 24, 2016

Friday, June 12, 2015