Stairway to Heaven and Pochuck Valley via Appalachian Trail

MODERATE 132 reviews
#1 of 2 trails in

Stairway to Heaven and Pochuck Valley via Appalachian 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.

DISTANCE
7.5 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
1122 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Out & Back

dogs on leash

backpacking

birding

camping

hiking

nature trips

trail running

walking

forest

views

wild flowers

wildlife

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.

hiking
3 days ago

Great trail with beautiful views from the Mountain! 80 degrees and almost no humidity today.

12 days ago

Great views. Great hike. Just challenging enough for a good exercise and just gorgeous enough to wanna come back regularly.

hiking
13 days ago

Perfect for a Wednesday hike in June, as the trail was empty, although I can imagine how crowds could make this less enjoyable. The boardwalk is gorgeous and there is a decently sized mountain with lots of boulders to climb. Beautiful view too. Took our small West Highland Terrier and he handled the hike well, but make sure you bring water!

20 days ago

love this trail and hike it as often as possible. lots of exercise and picture ops.

hiking
25 days ago

Beautiful hike, one of my favorites in New Jersey. Some people skip the first section of the trail and just hike up the stairway. Don't do that! The first section with the boardwalk is actually the prettiest part--amazing marsh scenery and lots of cool birds. It's also super flat, so you can hike it quite quickly. The stairway has a great view at the top, but the forest around you is more typical for the area. Only downside is there are a lot of people on a nice day. Not obnoxiously many, but they're definitely there. Plenty of space for everyone at the top though.

hiking
1 month ago

Great day to do it today and great view from top.

hiking
1 month ago

Went route 285 to Pochuck Shelter onto the boardwalk and stairway to Heaven. I hated it. The trail is nothing but rocks when you accent to the shelter. Rocks, rocks and more rocks from Pochuck to the stairway to Heaven. No real scenery until you get to the boardwalk except for the normal top of the Mountain View’s. The rocks were so miserable for miles you can’t just put your foot straight down on the trail you step and your ankle has to give to adjust. I guess it’s my opinion on the trail of course but just want to put it out there it’s rocks on top of rocks. It was a crazy two day experience but finally made it out alive :)

hiking
6 months ago

I absolutely love coming here So much so we got married on the suspension bridge on July 1st. For the rest of my life this hike this trail will have a special meaning to me.

hiking
7 months ago

Although the Pochuck trail is easy, Adding it to the Stairway to Heaven trail is well worth it.

7 months ago

Loved this hike. I've heard it is very crowded on the weekends so we took 1/2 day of work and arrived at 3:00 on a Friday. Not crowded at all. The 8 mile out and back took us 3 1/2 hours. You can make good time on the boardwalk section. The hike to the vista is challenging but worth it. We did see a bear on the way up, so be aware. Beautiful along boardwalk at sunset.

hiking
8 months ago

Love the woods in this area, beautiful hike. Started at sunrise on a Tuesday and only saw two other people on the way back.

8 months ago

Most absolutely beautiful views! Peaceful and aww inspiring!

hiking
8 months ago

Very cool hike, mostly on boardwalk in beginning but few places for dog to "explore" along route. Definitely coming back and with more water next time.

hiking
9 months ago

Good trail. Heavily trafficked. A bit confusing where to go at the top. This was worth it for the view but I wish it were harder and less people were around.

hiking
9 months ago

The boardwalk area is lovely with amazing wildflowers. The Stairway to Heaven is very rocky and gets a bit steep toward the end, but the view at the top is worth it.

hiking
9 months ago

Nice trail through a boardwalk with beautiful wild flowers, forest, a cow pasture and a bouldering hike to a spectacular view of Sussex County.

hiking
9 months ago

Great hike with mountain view

hiking
10 months ago

This was our 1st trail and it was a bit tough, specially the stairway to heaven part, however it was worth the efford. The way back was way faster since we weren't taking pics or stopping to admire the scenery. It was interesting to cross the farm, since the cows were there... they were ok though. Would recommend and do again.

hiking
10 months ago

I don't know if it was just an off day, but I didn't get the pay off from this hike that I was expecting. Yes the view at the vista was really nice, but something just felt missing. The boardwalk section, while nice, was sweltering hot with zero shade, and there where so many people, even on a monday afternoon. Now should this be held against the trail, that a lot of people love it? No it shouldn't, but it did impact the experience so its impossible for it not to.

The main gripe I had with the trail is the boardwalk section. From Rt 94 to the vista it is certainly more enjoyable, for me at least. The incline up was way more intense than I was expecting. Maybe it was an off day, but this ascent felt harder to me than Mt Tammany. The view at the vista was great. If started from 94 I would give this trail a 4 stars, but I didn't love the boardwalk section :/

hiking
10 months ago

absolutely wonderful hike. it has a little of everything, some water, boardwalks, suspension bridge, lots of birds, beautiful wild flowers and a great hike up the stairs to the top of the mountain. very nice how the hike up the stairway to heaven just zig zags around, never becoming really too steep. very enjoyable hike. highly recommend

hiking
10 months ago

Beautiful scenery. Came across a bear right by the entrance, turtles, bull frogs, snakes, cows and bulls. The landscape changed at every turn. Great and strenuous hike up up the mountain!

hiking
Thursday, June 08, 2017

The boardwalk section is crowded, and the peak is not for beginners! But the views are worth the climb.

Wednesday, June 07, 2017

Water. Bridges. Climb. Vista.

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Awesome views

hiking
Tuesday, March 07, 2017

this was one of the first hikes I ever accomplished and it still is as good as I remember. Made the stairway to heaven climb in 30 minutes and made the descent in 15!
Whole hike took less than 3 hours which was crazy.
A great beginner hike to a harder difficulty and elevation climb!

Sunday, February 26, 2017

I will try on every season autumn should be beautiful or a real winter

hiking
Saturday, December 03, 2016

Great!!

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Pretty easy but really nice walk/hike. I loved the variety from boardwalk to cows to mountain vista. Great day!!!

hiking
Sunday, October 02, 2016

Great hike, would rate this more moderate/hard. Did it after a rain fall, which made for a tricky decent.

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Very cool !

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