Big Beech Mountain

Big Beech Mountain, Long Pond Ironworks (1/12/2008)

I came up with this lollipop hike in real time. We were prepared to climb Big Beech Mountain by going north along the Highlands trail from Route 511 in West Milford and then turn around and just head back to the car (in fact, this is the exact path of a hike in at least two hike books for this area). But we were making such good time I decided to add more to it. Here's what we did.

Travel north on the Highlands trail from Route 511 (just west of the visitor's center on 511, in a dirt lot on the south side of 511). Eventually make a left on the yellow-blazed Jenning Hollows trail. At the fork (the trail goes both left and right, being a loop from this point), turn right, continuing along the Jenning Hollows trail. Near the northern most tip of the trail, and a bit after a crossing of Jennings Creek at a very beautiful part, take an unblazed path to the right (marked, just at the beginning, by blue Xs on trees on both sides). Travel on this for just about five minutes and then make a right onto the the Lake-to-Lake trail (blazed with a horizontal red line against white background). Take this to the Highlands trail, making a right. Now travel south along the Highlands trail along the ridge of Big Beech Mountain. Take this trail all the way back to Route 511.

This hike actually begins in NJ, goes into NY (Sterling Forest), then back into NJ, then NY and then finally back into NJ! I'm not sure how long it is (at least 7 miles) but it took us a bit over 4 hours (not including lunch).

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

Hewitt Brook near Rt. 511

Found an interesting rock

Building ruins on Highlands Trail (HT)

Monksville Reservoir


Wanaque River overlook off HT

Super-macro of tiny mushrooms

On the Jenning Hollows trail


A very wet trail


It poured the previous day

Tree balancing

Jennings Creek

Jennings Creek crossing


Bridge over Jennings Creek on Lake-to-Lake trail

cat tails!

Interested hawk

Crossing into NJ on Highlands Trail

Reaching summit of Big Beech Mountain

View west from summit

On Big Beech [photo by Laura]

Looking east from summit

View west

Ascending to next overlook


Overlook facing east

Our lunch spot!

Swamp at base of Tranquility Ridge


Massive rock formation on HT

View straight on

Monksville Reservoir from Big Beech

Last lookout on Big Beech

View SE [photo by Laura]


Monksville Reservoir

The descent was steep


And long

Rock descent [photo by Laura]


Turkey vulture riding thermals

[photo by Laura]

Back to Monksville Reservoir

Ruins of general store

Ruins of ... beats me!

Not sure what this was

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