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Sunfish Pond via Appalachian and Dunnfield Creek Trail Loop

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Worthington State Forest

Sunfish Pond via Appalachian and Dunnfield Creek Trail Loop is a 10.3 mile heavily trafficked loop trail located near Knowlton, New Jersey that features a lake and is rated as difficult. The trail is primarily used for hiking, nature trips, and backpacking and is best used from March until November. Dogs are also able to use this trail.

Distance: 10.3 miles Elevation Gain: 1,374 feet Route Type: Loop

dog friendly

backpacking

hiking

nature trips

forest

lake

views

waterfall

wildlife

muddy

rocky

Great glacial pond, lots of wildlife, well maintained trail system This hike is a moderate climb to Sunfish Pond, following the Appalachian Trail heading north. The trail is well maintained and well used by dayhikers and overniters alike. The hike has a few strenuous climbs, but mostly evenly graded climbs with a few level areas in between. Follow the Dunnfield Hollow Trail down from Sunfish Pond to make it a loop. This trail does have some rather steep sections.

hiking
bugs
rocky
scramble
5 days ago

Nice trail well marked but I didn’t see any views. Just the pond up top which is mediocre. Good workout and worth the climb up, but I won’t be going up this exact route again. Try and find one with a view.

hiking
rocky
8 days ago

We enjoyed this hike but definitely were challenged by the rocky nature, especially the Dunnfield section which was also very steep. We went up the AT and down Dunnfield which I would definitely recommend. Poles were great to have and definitely recommend mid height boots!

hiking
13 days ago

Went up Dunnfield and came down the AT. The trek was well paved except for three points. in one place the marked tree has fallen across the stream. At about the 3.6 to 3.8 mile going up via Dunnfield the markers are not clear at the fork. The AT is like a carpet while coming compared to going up. Waterproof shoes, ankle length preferably as the paths are very rocky. it was good hike took 5 hrs for 9 miles with stops. Did not do the lake loop.

hiking
blowdown
muddy
over grown
14 days ago

Along Dunnfield creek it can seem like you’re walking forever. I had to cross the stream several times over rocks and fallen trees. There’s a part that is quite swampy where I submerged a foot in what I thought was solid ground - it was a 6 inch deep muddy puddle though! (This is before the ascent towards sunfish pond). It then is pretty overgrown approaching the pond. The signage could be better as well. A few times I had to turn around because I took a wrong path. Also there is no internet connection out there so have a map or downloaded one. The AT part of the trail is rocky and I was going downhill. I found the AT easier than Dunnfield. It wasn’t overgrown, just rocky. The pond is pretty and a great place to have a snack. The AT is way more crowded than Dunnfield. I only saw a few on Dunnfield.

bugs
off trail
rocky
14 days ago

Great workout, very rocky in parts, definitely wear boots, wear bug spray and sunblock, bring a walking stick, food and plenty of water, plan for a long day. Keep a close eye on trail markers and check your GPS frequently, some areas weren't marked very well, our group took a few wrong turns and did a few extra miles. Beautiful fern woods, Mountain Laurel, Sunfish Pond is very scenic, there's a few spots to hang out. Pretty busy trail.

hiking
muddy
rocky
16 days ago

Did this trail but ended up getting a bit turned around on the loop around sunfish pond. A couple things: 1. Pay attention to the markings on the trees! Lost track of them and ended up doing an additional and rocky 1.5 miles. 2. Snakes!! Almost stepped on 2 (non venomous) and saw a bunch of others along the trail so watch your feet! 3. This was a rough hike without the proper shoes. Definitely wear shoes that will support your ankles. This rocks along the Dunnfield Creek portion made sure I will feel this in my ankles for weeks. 4. This is an endurance hike!!! Even without the detour the rocks on the Dunnfield creek portion had us exhausted by the end.

hiking
bugs
muddy
rocky
17 days ago

Good hike if you have some endurance—it is challenging at times, especially along the Dunnfield Creek portion, as it crosses back and forth across the creek. A couple important things... 1) snakes. You’re gonna see them, and it could be one of the two poisonous snakes in the state: the timber rattlesnake and the northern copperhead. I went today and saw two timbers and one copperhead, all near sunfish pond or along the creek (makes sense as they usually den on south slopes). Google them beforehand, know what to look for and what to do if/when you encounter one. Though they’d rather not bother with you, they’re potentially deadly, so know before you go 2) ankle stabilizing footwear. It’s really, really, helpful. This trail is super rocky. Your ankles are at risk, it’s smart to wear sturdy boots (also protect the toes when you inevitably kick rocks) 3) if you’re going on a weekend, get there before 9am or risk having no where to park. If you get there and there’s no parking, another nearby hike is Mt. Minsi. Just head over the border into PA and take the first exit for Delaware Water Gap....google it for the short ride from there

hiking
18 days ago

Fantastic trail! In July there must be soooo many blueberries. Saw a black bear! That was fun. Great trail!

hiking
18 days ago

Definitely a hard hike with the continuous elevation gain. The creek at the beginning of the trail is beautiful. Tranquil forest to the top. Beautiful view of the Water Gap area at the top. Nice to see and interact with through hikers. If you have dogs be cautious around the rocks mid June through August - a fair number of timber rattlers seen by hikers the last 1/4 of the trail.

hiking
24 days ago

went on a weekend and had a great time! Beautiful lake and some really great forest views. A bit of an incline and I was pretty tired towards the end (full hike is around 8 miles) so give yourself ample time. Make sure you complete this hike early in the day because if you go on a weekend, the campground fills up incredibly fast.

hiking
rocky
25 days ago

This was a fun one. We went on a Sat (5/30), so there was no parking so we headed north to the Fairview Trail trailhead and started there. This trail is about 1.3 mi to get to the AT. From there we did the full loop, around sunfish pond lake and back down Dunnfield Creek trail. All in it was just under 12mi and we did it in about 6.5 hrs. Very rocky, so you’re going to feel it in your ankles

hiking
1 month ago

Awesome trail! So cool to be on the Appalachian trail! This trail is gorgeous. There’s a waterfall and lake with a beautiful part of the trail that runs along a river. Highly recommend! Just be carefully of the parking! We had to loop around 5x before we got lucky enough to get a spot.

I would rate this trail medium with more technical aspects because the terrain is so rocky. The incline is a slow and steady incline, so that part is not particularly difficult. It's also an out and back that ends at Sunfish Pond, however I would recommend looping the pond as there are plenty of areas to sit and enjoy the scenary for a bit. Since the Appalachian portion of the trail wasn't the most challenging, I took the Dunnfield Creek Trail back, which was pretty rocky most of the way and gave my feet and ankles some good exercise! This ended up being closer to a 12 mile loop and would recommend wearing waterproof shoes if you go the Dunnfield Creek route as there are a few Creek crossings. If I were to do this again, I would do this loop counter clockwise starting with Dunnfield though there are so many trails that it's hard to go wrong! Spotted deer, Chipmunks, an Oriole, and plenty of other beautiful birds!

hiking
rocky
1 month ago

Nice place to walk. Bring snacks and a couple bottles of water especially if it’s hot. On that note, I noticed so much trash. Face masks, empty bottles of water/alcohol, wrappers and etc. Please bring a bag and throw out your stuff at home.

hiking
1 month ago

Would highly recommend going towards the pond on the green trail (bear right towards Dunnfield Hollow to follow the stream at the split) and coming back on the white trail. This saves you from having the first half of your hike be straight uphill. The green trail crosses the stream several times - keep your eyes out for the trail markers and wear waterproof shoes. Overall, a great hike!

1 month ago

great hike ... by noon there was a fire warning on the sunfish fire road from mt tammany . fire rescue had closed all trail heads. Hopefully will open soon. Please call NPS if planning a trip in the next couple of days.

hiking
1 month ago

Great hike with the perfect lunch spot on the north end of the lake, with a rock outcropping over the water! I recommend Duncreek UP and the AT down. Bring Tevas or water shoes for ~5 stream crossings (glad we didn't do in our boots) covid update: trails were pretty empty at 8:30. When we came down around 2:30 the last mile to the trailhead was PACKED with people, no one else wearing a mask. start early, mask up!

Great loop. Creek crossings were awesome

hiking
2 months ago

One of our favorites so far this year! We didn’t go the entire way around the pond. Went up the AT side, came back down the other trail along the stream. It crosses back and forth over the stream a few times and we did get off the trail a few times - thank goodness we downloaded the map beforehand! Waterproof boots recommended. You will get wet. Small waterfalls a short distance from the lot as well. We couldn’t stop saying “this is so beautiful” - I can only imagine how much greener it will be in full blown spring!

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