Stokes Forest Loop Trail

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Stokes State Forest

Stokes Forest Loop Trail is a 11.2 mile moderately trafficked loop trail located near Branchville, New Jersey that features a waterfall and is rated as moderate. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from May until October. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

Distance: 11.2 miles Elevation Gain: 1,571 feet Route Type: Loop

dogs on leash



nature trips


bird watching




wild flowers


Great Views, clear streams, waterfalls, Good climb, valley walking This is a long hike so be prepared to be out for a full day.You will start out with an uphill climb to the top of a ridge with great views and a fire tower. Then you get a great ridge walk to Sunrise Mt overlook were you will get more great views of the landscape. Then you will descend off the ridge into the flatbrook valley were you will cross many streams and wet areas. You will end your hike by going up again. But this time you will pass some waterfalls along the way. These are the trails and colors to take: Green Tower, left on white AT, Left on Brown/Red cartwright, left on red Swenson, Right on yellow Tinsley, left on paved Rd to campsites, left on brown/green Blue Mt, left to old barn, follow unmarked tr. along stony brook, right on Parking lot to end, left onto green tower to PA. Use the Kittatinny Trails map by the NY-NJ trail conference

Trails do not match at all. I ended up doing a completely different hike (which I didn’t mind, but was a lot shorter than my original planned route). Easy trail, more or less flat, non at rocky as the typical trails in the area. Beautiful woods and a couple of nice views.

9 months ago

Rocky, rocky rocky! Almost the entire hike we had to navigate the obstacle course of rocks. We were constantly looking down trying not to trip and it caused us to miss an important turn and it really slowed us down. Also made us feel very stupid! Woops! The forest is absolutely gorgeous and there is a nice view at the Sunrise Mountain Overlook but it is an overlook that is easily accessible by driving and parking right next to it so it didn't feel as special. The weather was perfect the day we went so that was a huge plus but it would have been a lot rougher if it hadn't been. It is not a bad hike at all and I enjoyed it for the most part but it's always good to know what you are getting yourself into so I highlighted some of the notable downsides but the forest is truly beautiful and we saw a lot of cool plants and fungi. Camping nearby at the Steam Mill campground was lovely and would like to go back. You can also park on the side of the road right near the trail head which was convenient. We saw a few other hikers along the AT but did not see a single person on the rest of the hike. Also it was a very shady hike. I think that covers it!

Sun Jul 08 2018

Exactly what I read. Easy to moderate hike but I wish the app would tell you ahead of time which colored blazes you should follow. Unless I missed it, I didn’t see it.

Fri Jun 09 2017

Good hike. We camped the night before at Lake Ocquittunk (which was really nice) and picked up the trail right from the campground. Not a hard hike at all but the trail by the fire tower was a little rocky. There were a TON of ticks! We had to keep stopping and checking periodically and, sure enough, we would each find at least one or two ticks between the three of us.

Sun Jul 26 2015

I parked at the first parking lot on the left once you turn on Sunrise Mountain Road. Tip: don't go to Stokes State Forest and pay $5 on a weekday or $10 on a weekend to park, if you just take Sunrise Mountain Road you'll find multiple parking areas and it's free. I hiked the AT all the way to the end of the road where the last parking area is. The lookout tower in the beginning is awesome and there are several nice views. I took the yellow, red, and green trail back to the AT and back to the car. Total about 11 miles. Great hike, great views.

Fri May 30 2014

I usually hit up the Appalachian Trail (AT) in Stokes State Forest NJ. Park off rt 206 at the AT parking lot and follow the AT from there to Sunrise Pavilion and back; a yoyo long day hike of about four hours. It is a moderate hike. The hardest part is the approach up the side of the mountain; after that it is basically a ridge walk all the way to the Pavilion. I like to do this section once a week; or go southbound from rt 206 to the Brink Road AT shelter and yoyo back. People have been making fire pits along this route and they are not allowed. I see burn wood yards from the fire pits and fear soon there will be a forest fire wiping out the area for people and animals alike. Birds love the brush on these mountain ridges and we need to keep that in mind. I recently heard a wonderful bunch of whippoorwills and hate to see that change. Garbage was scattered along this section too. Why? I wish for this to come to an end soon. I fear technology has separated the human too much that they don't understand volunteers (other humans) are trying to keep the area pristine. I, for one, clean up candy wrappers and water bottles all the time along this route. I hope times change and our children grow up caring more than just using our forests, our lands, our future.

4 months ago

8 months ago

11 months ago

Thu Jul 06 2017

Tue Feb 21 2017