Devil's Half Acre

Devil's Half Acre, Sourland Mountain Preserve (10/3/2008)

This is the Hike of the Week for 9/14/2007 as described on the NYNJTC website. We hiked in this wonderful preserve back on Independence Day in 2005. At that time, we were following a hike in the two books 50 Hikes in New Jersey and 60 Hikes within 60 Miles: New York City. The latter book provided two bushwhacking opportunities that we didn't take at that time. The first was to an intriguing area known as the Devil's Half Acre described as "a highly dramatic boulder field, where a number of colossal stones seem poised to tumble down the hill". We passed on this opportunity because we were pressed for time and the book warned that only the most accomplished bushwackers should proceed after a certain point. Well guess what? Today, an engrossing, circuitous trail actually passes through that area, and it's easily the highlight of the hike!

In addition to the hike described by Chazin, we took an extra spur through the adjacent 3M property, the second bushwhacking venture mentioned in the 60 Hikes book. The trail is clearly marked today, with Sourland blazes, even though it goes through private property. So at signpost 8, instead of turning left, we turned right, and followed the path for less than a half mile to a fork. We took the left trail and ended at the spectacular area known as Roaring Rocks, a huge boulder jumble around Roaring Brook. This is where we had lunch.

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At the trail head

Boardwalks abound

Does that tree have lips?

Thirteen numbered posts mark trail intersections

Sawtooth pattern in rock

First boulder in the Devil's Half Acre


Approaching a cave with caution

Laura from above


Fun climbing in Devil's Half Acre

Look at that tree!

One of two deer we saw


How did this grow?

Damned tree hugger [photo by Laura]


Poison ivy

Branch tangles

Gas line cut

Survey marker on Sourland Mountain

View east from cut


View west from cut



Steep descent at post #6

On spur trail to Roaring Rocks

On Roaring Rocks

Our lunch spot!

Roaring Brook wasn't roaring much

Awwwwww [photo by a nice stranger]


Shagbark Hickory



The dreaded abandoned car plant

A heron flies away from us ...

... to the other side of ...

... this pond

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