Kittatinny Valley Loop

Kittatinny Valley Loop, Kittatinny Valley State Park (6/21/2014)

Five and a half years ago we visited this park after a snow storm to find every parking lot unplowed except for the one on Limecrest Road at the southern tip of Lake Aeroflex. We managed to walk across the lake to the trails because it was frozen solid (when the lake is not frozen, access to the trails from this parking lot is impossible because of the airport). Today we returned to do a larger hike covering trails that we didn't cover on that day. Today's hike was Hike #6 ("Sussex Branch Trail") in Nature Walks in New Jersey, 2nd edition. This is the hike we were trying to do in January, 2009 but failed to do so because we couldn't find the Orange trail. This is because there is no Orange trail. Presumably the trails were reblazed since the book was published in 2003. Instead of parking on Route 206 where the Sussex Branch Trail crosses (as indicated in the book), we parked in the lot south of Twin Lakes on Goodale Road.

Following this map we crossed Goodale and took the short trail to the Sussex Branch RR trail taking that north. After paralleling Goodale Road we crossed it once again and entered Kittatinny Valley State Park following the White trail along the northern edge of the parking area, then Yellow, passing the beautiful visitor's center before continuing once again on White heading south along the western bank of beautiful Lake Aeroflex. After reaching the northern tip of the airfield, which is also the southern tip of the lake, we took a break to watch a World War I-style biplane take off before we continued west to Yellow which we then took to Red. Here we headed south all the way to the Sussex Branch Trail which we took clockwise all the way back to the parking area. We explored the southern tip of Twin Lakes and then ate lunch while some karate convention took place on the lawn near the parking area.

Total distance hiked today was 4.4 miles in just under 3 hours.

(Click on the thumbnail to bring up a bigger image in a pop-up window)

View from parking lot

[Photo by Laura]

Eastern Bluebird

Entrance to the trails

Engulfed in green

On the Sussex Branch trail

Swamps along rail trail...

...which parallels Goodale Road


State Park entrance

Gate to White


Strudy stone wall along trail

View back to park lot

Visitor's center

US and NJ flags

View from center steps

Yellow follows meadow

View back


Heading to...

...Lake Aeroflex

Laura on the dock


White trail along the lake

[Photo by Laura]

Lilypads abound

White trail

Trail wildflowers

Old camp barbecue?

Lake Aeroflex



View SE

View NE

Old fireplace

Picnic bench on white

Laura saw a garter snake

Cloud of bugs!

Bird hotel

Brown-headed cowbird?

Northern tip of airport

All Vistor's Must Yield to Aircraft


Lake and airport border


...taking off


Abandoned building

Gorgeous old growth...

...on Red trail

Spur off of Red

Field of wildflowers

Beaver lodge in swamp

[Photo by Laura]

Swamp filled with water lilies

Water lilies

Drowned trees

Wildflowers from above

Back on Sussex Branch trail

Swamp off RR trail

[Photo by Laura]

Cat tails

Two turtles on log


Water lilies

Gorgeous swamp

Snapping turtle

Cat tails

RR bed at swamp


Beaver lodge

Mute swan

RR trail

View of Twin Lakes

Path to Twin Lakes

Mowed path at Twin Lakes

Great Blue Heron in lake

Karate circle

Photographs and content copyright © Dan Balogh
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