Sussex Branch: North

Kittatinny-Sussex Lollipop, Kittatinny Valley State Park (3/29/2015)

Last year, over three consecutive weekends (June 21, June 29 and July 5) we hiked just about every trail in the main part of Kittatiny Valley State Park. The one area that we didn't manage to do was the network of trails north of Twin Lakes to the west and east of the Sussex Branch rail trail. Since we also hadn't done this section of the rail trail, we returned today to bag them.

Using this map, we parked in the lot at the kiosk for the rail trail south of the intersection of Network-Sparta Road (Rt. 616) and Stickles Pond Road. We headed south on the rail trail. Along the 1.5-miles to the other trails the rail trail passes through something called the Andover "Slate" Cut where a sign tells us that the train got stuck after a January, 1857 snowstorm where the snow had collected to 20 feet in parts. When we reached the green-blazed Vernal trail we took that west of the rail trail, then took the red Mt. Neblo trail to the top of the mountain. There's a limited seasonal view over Twin Lakes here. We took red all the way to the lower yellow-blazed Twin Lakes trail, which skirted the bank of the lake, a gorgeous stretch. We then took the paved road north (dashed line on the map) to the "ruins", then headed just a bit north on the rail trail next taking the blue-blazed Shale trail in the figure-8 before heading back to the car on the rail trail.

After a cabin-fever winter with only one hike in the entire month of Februrary, this was a very enjoyable hike with just about everything in it: rail trails, a view, a gorgeous lake, very interesting geology, graffiti and ruins.

Total distance hiked today was 5.5 miles in 3 hours.

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