Green Pond Mountain

Green Pond Mountain, Pequannock Watershed (1/16/2012)

It was a "balmy" 14F at the trailhead this morning, with a slight wind chill factor causing it to feel more like 10F! Perfect hiking weather! Luckily we did a lot of climbing, so we actually shed layers that we never put back on and weren't cold at all the entire hike. Continuing our assault on the peaks in the Pequannock Watershed, we returned to the Four Birds trail today, on the national holiday of Martin Luther King's birthday, to head north from Green Pond Road and climb the two northern-most peaks of Green Pond Mountain. Just 9 days ago we headed south from this point and climbed Copperas Mountain.

Beginning where the trail crosses Green Pond Road, we headed SW at first paralleling the cliffs of the mountain to our right, glimpsing the huge talus piles at its base and the beautiful white cliffs through the bare trees. Then we began climbing to the first peak, at least 400 feet above the road. The views from the first peak were magnificent, looking SE towards Craigmeur recreation complex on Green Pond Road and Copperas Mountain to the east. Standing on the edge of the cliff, we looked directly down (a straight drop) to the huge piles of talus below us. This was the first time I had ever seen anything like this in Morris County. It reminded me of the Shawangunks in upstate New York. Continuing NE along the ridge, we dipped 300 feet between the peaks and climbed 300 feet once again to get to the second peak. This one afforded more magnificent views overlooking the houses at the end of Deerhaven Lane and the gorgeous swamp just north. We continued along the ridge until the trail began veering away from it, at which point we turned back.

But we didn't follow the Four Birds trail all the way back. Instead we took a series of woods roads which crisscrossed and paralleled the Four Birds trail all the way back to within a mile of the car. Alas, we couldn't avoid climbing the 300 feet of the first peak on the way back. We ended up climbing a total of over 1,000 feet.

Total distance hiked today was 5.5 miles, with lots of elevation change, in just over 3.5 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, so the earlier you purchase it the longer you will have to hike in these areas.

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Pull-off on Green Pond Road

Winter green!

Winding creek

Partially frozen cascades

Creek crossing

Mountain Laurel thicket


Ice and ...

... boulder field

Campsite near ...

... abandoned Notch Road

Notch Road looking west

A rocky ascent here

Climbing the first peak

Partial view SE

On the ridge

View NE

Craigmeur recreation complex

Talus piles straight below

[Photo by Laura]

Tiptoeing to edge for a look ...

... to the talus jumble ...

... directly below

Laura on the cliff

Dan on cliff [photo by Laura]

Cliff with talus below

[Photo by Laura]

Look at that pile!

View south [photo by Laura]

Fire ring on ledge

Another view south

Continuing north along ridge

Laura on ridge (view south)

Dan on ridge (view NE)


Residence across from our road pull-off

Descending first peak

Boulder jumble in saddle

Artistic Four Birds blaze

Stream in saddle

[Photo by Laura]

Climbing second peak

Views opening up

View NE ...

... to swamp on Green Pond Road

Climbing second ridge

View east

House on Deerhaven Lane

View of swamp ...

... closer ...

... and closer

Dan zooming [photo by Laura]

View south

Admiring the view

Another house at end of Deerhaven Lane

Deerhaven Lane

Gorgeous swamp

Laura and second ridge

We turned back here

Heading back


Antler scrapes

Tricky descent


Creek crossing

Ice on side of woods road

Descending back to car

Fern in ice

A trace of winter color

Path back to car

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