Hamburg Mountain Wildlife Management Area
This is the hike #9 ("Hamburg Mountain WMA") in the book 24 Great Rail-Trails of New Jersey. Today was a scorcher, the second day in a row with temperatures in the 90s in New Jersey (with more to come). But it was a national holiday (Independence Day), so we just had to hit the trails for the second time this weekend. But I chose something basically flat and in dense tree coverage. This out-and-back rail trail was perfect. We logged 5.5 miles in less than 3 hours and the temperature stayed below 90 F until we were finished. I'm sure it didn't get above 80 on the trail, especially with an almost continuous cool breeze blowing down the railroad corridor.

This delightful little rail trail (2.7 miles end to end) offered more than I expected. It has one of the most impressive rock cuts I've seen in the area, a fun sinkhole that we had to negotiate around twice (it's probably new, since the book doesn't mention it), ruins of railroad walls, stone piers and the foundation of a water tower. There's even two nice viewpoints, the first up a steep, sandy, slippery unmarked path (not mentioned in the book) where one finds a rope tied to a tree to help the curious hiker, and the second in a powerline cut where one can apparently see the High Point monument on a clear day. Today was a clear day but the humidity in the air obstructed the view.

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

A green trailhead

Wildflowers on the path

[Photo by Laura]

The first and only climb

Rock cut


Route 517 below


At the viewpoint

View of quarry

Small fire ring

Coming down the only safe way

Huge rock formations

Beautiful rock cut

Huge on both sides

Drill marks still visible

This required ...

... lots of explosives!

Elevated rail bed

Giant sinkhole at 0.7 mile mark

Another view


[Photo by Laura]

Wildflowers in powerline cut

Looking south uphill

Looking north downhill


We saw lots of RR spikes


Climbing to the working RR [photo by Laura]

View of active NYS&W line

View from the top

Another cool artifact

Remains of stone piers

They supported an elevated train

Foundation walls

Base of water tower

Ferns in wall

54 miles to Jersey City

The active railroad

Sitting on stone pier

[Photo by Laura]

An old railroad tie

Stony path

Laura on sinkhole edge


Back through the cut

Four drill holes here

Drill bit still in one hole!

Kitty near the end

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