Bearfort Mountain South

Bearfort Mountain (south of Stephens Road), Pequannock Watershed (2/4/2012)

For the fifth time this young year we returned to the Pequannock Watershed, this time to do a loop of my own invention at least 75% of which we had never hiked before. Today we hiked along the ridge of Bearfort Mountain just south of Stephens Road, an unpaved road which cuts through the mountain from Union Valley Road (at its eastern end). The park land north of the road belongs to Wawayanda, while the land south to the Pequannock Watershed. I assume that this is the road used by those who man the Bearfort Fire Tower.

We parked in watershed parking area P8, one of the larger of the watershed parking areas (large enough to hold 6-7 cars at least) and walked through the gate, beginning a steady climb up the closed part of Stephens Road. We next headed south on the white-blazed Hanks East trail which we took along the ridge with seasonal and partial views to the east. Next we made a right on the blue-blazed Newark Connector trail which we descended steeply west into the shoulder between two ridges of the mountain. We then headed north along the nicely graded white-blue-blazed Hanks West trail all the way back to Stephens Road, which we then took east back to the car.

Total distance hiked today was 4.3 miles, in just over 2.5 hours. A permit is required for hiking in this area, which can be purchased at the office on Echo Lake Road. The permits are good for the calendar year.

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Horse at Pine Ridge Equestrian Center

Grace Fellowship entrance

Pine Ridge Equestrian Center

An elusive red fox!

Looking east on Stephens Road

Gate keypad

Gate on Stephens Road

Surveillance camera


Ascending Stephens Road

Horse prints on Stephens

Trailhead for Hanks East trail

Time to de-layer


Rock hopping over stream

[Photo by Laura]


Jagged rocks

Gorgeous moss

Partial views east

Pine needle path

View east from lookout

Distant cell tower

[Photo by Laura]

View east

Telephone line to fire tower

Telephone line heading east

Laura at ...

... the line cut

Quartz streak


Zoom of fire tower


In the cut

View east

Jagged ridge

Mossy ridge

Partial view ...

... at intersection ...

... with Highlands trail

Pine needle path ...

... on Highlands trail


Beautiful ridge

Swamp west

Rock looks like wood!



Ridge is narrow ...

... in spots

Lovely mossy ...

... jagged ridge


[Photo by Laura]

Newark Connector trailhead

Mountain Laurel thicket

Loads of saplings


Creek on Newark ...

... Connector trail



Unusual tree trunks

Puddingstone close-up

View north on Hanks West

Telephone line cut on Hanks West

Fire ring

Huge blow-down

Back to Stephens Road

Heading down

Interesting fungus

Stream just off ...

... Stephens Road

Steep stretch of Stephens Road

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