Ken Lockwood Gorge

Ken Lockwood Gorge, Ken Lockwood WMA (7/25/2009)

This is hike #20 ("Ken Lockwood Gorge") in Hiking New Jersey: A Guide to 50 of the Garden State's Greatest Hiking Adventures (1st edition) with a short, but very steep side trip to the spectacular dam at Lake Solitude. This figure-8 lollipop uses a nearly 4-mile section of the Columbia Trail, a 16-mile trail that extends from High Bridge, NJ to Flanders, NJ. At several points along the way, there were signs indicating "Trail Closed For Repairs. Public Access Prohibited". However, there were bicyclists, walkers and joggers on those stretches. Instead of turning around at the 1.5-mile mark, where we first encountered the signs, we moved on planning to either turn back if we simply couldn't go any further or bushwacking around any parts that were impassable. Surprisingly we found a beautiful path the entire way. The only hint of construction was a group of construction vehicles parked idle at the side of the trail in one place. Perhaps the trail is actually closed only on work days, when the heavy machinery is in motion, and the signs were left up by mistake?

Total distance hiked was about 9 miles in just over 3.5 hours (it's almost all level) with a spectacular lunch break on a rock in the Raritan River where we let our bare feet dangle in the cool water.

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Main Street in High Bridge

Start of the Columbia trail

Columbia Trail kiosk

Boxed-pony-truss bridge (1937)

[Photo by Laura]

Mile marker along the trail


Old growth on side trail

Glimpse of dam through trees


Lake Solitude dam

Closer view

Even closer

Scrambling back up

Columbia trail

Closure sign near 1.5 mile mark

Power line cut

Construction vehicles

120-foot bridge over Raritan River

80 feet above the river


Dan [photo by Laura]


Walkway at top

Raspberries out of reach

Raritan River from above at 3 mile mark

Photographing bamboo shoots [photo by Laura]

Bridge on Hoffmans Road

Goose sign on Raritan River Road

Canadian geese in river

Angler in river

Skunk cabbage patch

Stone hopping on river bank


The Little Mermaid


Giant felled trees in river

Beneath the 120-foot bridge from earlier

Giant stone bases

Beautiful heron in the river


Interesting circle of rocks

Our awesome lunch spot

Cooling off her feet

Angler in the distance

Dan's wet feet

[Photo by Laura]

Angler upstream

Time to hit the trail

Garage on Raritan River Road

Poison ivy all over

Beautiful stone house on river

Lovely house on Cokesbury Road

Cokesbury Road

This is someone's front yard!

Miro-like sculpture in front yard

Railroad bridge on Cokesbury Road

Informative signs on Cokesbury Road

Blooming raspberries abounded

Tiny toad on Columbia trail

Remaining rails and ties

Old water pump

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