Stonetown Circular Trail

HARD 58 reviews
#1 of 2 trails in

Stonetown Circular Trail is a 9.9 mile moderately trafficked loop trail located near Stonetown, New Jersey that features a lake and is rated as difficult. The trail is primarily used for hiking, walking, nature trips, and birding and is best used from March until October. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

DISTANCE
9.9 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
2,460 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Loop

dogs on leash

birding

hiking

nature trips

walking

forest

lake

views

wild flowers

wildlife

rocky

scramble

snow

This was a bit of a tough one on the knees and blisters galore! Totally worth it. The views aren’t bad but you really are doing this for the workout! Would definitely do it again. It was more of 11 miles from parking lot counterclockwise.

29 days ago

really nice, well marked, nice views, lots of animals. tough trail, as good as it gets in NJ.

hiking
1 month ago

I did it counterclockwise in about 6 hours. The weather was the worst possible, hot (90) and extremely humid (after the night rain). The first part of the hike was fantastic, relentless up and down, almost no flats. The second half (after crossing the road) was disappointing. For me, an important part of the hiking is in the esthetics of wilderness. In this case, I was always reminded that I am in the back of NJ woods: three times the trail goes under the high voltage lines (that cracking above your head is hard to ignore), most of the trail goes along the dirt roads (I heard a dirt bike for a while), also there is an abandoned overturned truck by the side of the trail. There are no vistas to speak of, a couple of spots with a view and that is it. Nevertheless, if the appearances are not important to you, you can get a brutal workout out of this trail.

hiking
2 months ago

One of the toughest hikes I've done in NJ. I went counter clockwise and went at a fast pace and when I got to [a little more than] the halfway point (Stonetown road crossing at Monksviille) I was pretty spent and took the road back (3 miles). Great views during the first few miles and lots of steep, but short, up and down scrambling.

2 months ago

I did it counter-clockwise, which I recommend as the West side is easier, with fewer steep descents. So coming home is not too exhausting. I did it in 4.5 hours, and didn’t bring enough water. It is hard, but a great workout. I don’t recommend this with a small dog. I tried it last weekend with my dog, who sat down on the trail, so we had to backtrack. It was wet, and I agree this isn’t a trail for wet conditions. The reservoir is gorgeous. I have ridden my bike for 20 years in this area, never knowing there was such a great trail.

2 months ago

Challenging and fun! I parked in the recreation center parking lot and found the trailhead down the road to the right a little ways (it’s on your left). Some steep scrambles up and down rocks. It would not have been fun if it was wet at all! I went counterclockwise- great viewpoints at the beginning of the hike. I think I’ll try clockwise next time. Beautiful scenery, saw some hawks and a lizard with a blue tail and some butterflies and lots of tiny frogs.

The trail is pretty well marked with white rectangles with a red triangle. There were also blue diamond markers part of the way but that trail branches off at some point. There were a few times when I got off the correct trail because I wasn’t paying attention and there was a much more prominent trail that crossed the correct one that I incorrectly assumed was the correct trail. But between the GPS map and following the markers it was ok. The markers are pretty frequent so if I walked any distance without seeing one I knew I was on the wrong path! Unfortunately in one case I had walked down a big hill and then had to climb back up it...

Took me about 7h in all, including some sitting around at the viewpoints and various backtracking due to getting off the correct trail.

hiking
3 months ago

Definitely lives up to its name as one of the most difficult hikes in NJ, especially in the summer heat. Lots of ascents with descents and the descents along with the ascents are extremely steep, so its pretty hard on the knees. My Casio watch had elevation gain at 2850ft, pretty close to alltrails 2550ft. I would recommend you do the trail clockwise, I did it counter like everyone else but then you get done with all the views in the first half with nothing to see in the second half, so if you go clockwise you'll save the great views for the second half. Lastly its not too difficult to follow, seems like the whole trail has been reblazed so keep an eye out for the red/white blazes!

hiking
4 months ago

Great hike! I recommend if you want a bit of a challenge here and there. Closest to type of hiking found in the Catskills. Nice views for sure and sightings of various wildlife. Interesting plants as well - sassafras trees! Bushwacked across the top of the trail to save some time and one less peak, but still was 9 miles. Alltrails tracking worked great for bushwack.

hiking
5 months ago

Parked at the Stonetown Recreation lot. Crossed the street directly for access to a connecting path. Amazing views all the way. Great birding areas. Didn’t see anyone else hiking the trail. Phantom paths and RV roads cross in and out of the trail making it easy to follow one of them instead. Recommend using the heat signature overlay in AllTrails to keep an eye on stray paths and keep on the main red triangle. No “real” shortcuts: be prepared to walk the path or choose a spot to out-and-back (1. Board Mountain is good if you just want a few views, or 2. stop at Windbeam Mt / the flag if you’re not looking for a more challenging trail). The last leg is along the road (watch traffic on the curves). 5.5 hours with stops for photos, fuel, and to enjoy the scenes. My mileage tracker says 11 miles and I didn’t get lost on the intersecting paths. Bring water for 12 miles — better to carry extra hydration than not.

hiking
Thursday, August 10, 2017

Followed the GPS to the park parking lot where I started. When exiting the park you take a right ( or at least I did) need to walk down the road 150 yards or so and it's on your left. I followed the white red diamond for the majority of the trip. If you like spider webs this is the trail for you! Must have walked through 20+ full ones.

Got lost Lots of times. This trail is extremely difficult. The trails very very narrow and very steep at sometimes. Lots of ATV trails that make it very confusing. Pay attention to the markers or you will get lost super easily.

I posted a picture of the trail map because no one else has its very helpful.

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Great hike! The only problem I had was the trail head wasn't marked very well. You need to walk on the street from the parking at the park to find the trail.

hiking
Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Trail can be lost easily definitely start early. Ended up doing the last two miles in the dark, wasn't too bad.

Also the place is swarming with ticks. Found more than ten on my dog, 2 on me, and three on my friend. So be careful.

hiking
Tuesday, November 08, 2016

This hike is considered to be one of the most challenging routes in NJ. It has a little bit of everything from road walking to steep climbs without switchbacks. After the road walk, the hike starts on what appears to be a woods rd and the first turn-off to the left is not marked so you have to watch for it on the phone/GPS. A lot of the climbs have a 20% grade. After you complete this hike, you will understand why it is “accessible from March until October.” Some areas of the trail are so rugged that when covered with snow/ice they would be impassable. The hike might be easier in the counterclockwise direction where you go up most of the rock scrambles rather than down them.

We started the hike at the Stonetown Recreation Center Parking Lot and went clockwise following the route recorded by John Watson. Our mileage and elevation gain were slightly different due to losing the trail, bushwacking to views, etc. Stats from my Garmin GPS were 11.0 miles and 3174 ft elevation gain. We completed the hike in 6 hrs with an avg pace of 1.8 mph.

hiking
Sunday, September 11, 2016

We did the 'extended' loop from the ball field going counter clockwise. The extended loop follows the highlands trail crossing the road at the dam then coming up the backside of Harrison Mountain on the red blaze trail. The hike was great and we had great weather (mostly cloudy ~80 degrees). It took ~6.5-7 hrs to complete with a few quick breaks mixed in. As others have said, this is a vigorous hike so go prepared and plan on being sore for a few days after. The Highlands Trail portion was very rewarding with a number of nice look out points. The backside of the loop didn't have as many views and was marred by numerous ATV trails, but there are a few quiet glades to keep you motivated. Lots of wild life sightings as well: toads, deer, raptors, and discarded opossum and deer bones. I also had my own personal swarm of mosquitoes to keep me company for awhile. The trail is easy to lose if you are distracted so make sure you keep an eye on the blazes; we had to back track 50 feet or so a few times to find the 'right' trail. Also, we did hear a lot of semi-automatic small arms fire while going through the Norvin Green State Forest section. Just as we started to get nervously close and signal that we were in the area, the trail turned and headed in the opposite direction. Just something to keep in mind when going through multi-use areas. Overall, a great hike and would definitely do it again. It could be a good training hike when preparing for a bigger trip.

hiking
Monday, June 15, 2015

Did the full 10 miles. Brutal! However gorgeous and a must do again.

hiking
Saturday, September 24, 2011

Good trail, great views. The climb up Windbeam from the street is murder, but if you can handle it, it's fun.

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1 month ago

recorded hard

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