We love this part of the Appalachian Trail. It's an easy walk for the kids and because of the boardwalk you can bring a stroller for the little ones. The boardwalk and bridge was built mostly by volunteers and it's a very unique part of the Appalachian Trail.
It covers a 3000 foot wide flood plain, and is about a 1.5 mile walk from County Road 517 (Sussex, NJ), where you can park, to the woods on the other side of the flood plain. Most people do a round trip turning around at the suspension bridge or the woods. You can also continue walking into the woods and onto Wawayanda State Park (another fantastic local nature spot) if you bring two vehicles and park at both ends.
If you are lucky, you may also spot the "thru-hiker", someone spending five to seven months walking the entire length of the Appalachian Trail. Check out this video: 2200 miles of the Appalachian Trail condensed into five minutes of stop motion.
These thru-hikers fascinate me. I think it's strange and beautiful that they would disconnect from society for six months to walk outside all day. Sometimes I wish I had that much freedom. Here are some FAQs about doing a thru-hike on the Appalachian Trail.
The flood plain was completely flooded this time and it was incredible. We've walked it before when it was just a marsh and it was beautiful then too, but this was like walking on a lake. It was very different from our previous trips.
We were diverted from the path because of some flood water and came upon a really cool big rock. We asked a hiker to take our picture on it and we've dubbed it Diamond Rock, because if you look closely you can see all kinds of sparkly bits in the rock. My Mom suggested returning annually or seasonally for a family picture. I love that idea, but now I am going to have to bring a tripod every time we go there!
And since it is almost spring, we were on the hunt for SIGNS OF SPRING. Milo was very excited about this and he spotted a few himself. He loved listing them afterward.
- Grass growing out of dead leaves
- Flood waters from the snow melt off
- Buds on a few trees
- Mouse on the boardwalk
- A swarm of bugs (I discovered this one by walking right into it, yuck)
Spring is almost here! I can't wait.
I've marked where you can park on this Google map. Click on the green pin labelled "B" to link to directions.
(NOTE FOR NEW YORK CITY PEOPLE: This trail is a fantastic destination for a day trip out of the city. It's about an hour and a half drive from Manhattan to Warwick Valley. After you hike the trail, you can head over to Pennings Farm Market for a bite to eat. On Saturdays they have live music starting at 8pm, there is a bar and you can also shop in their garden center and grocery. It's a great place for kids, with farm animals and a play area outside. If you wanted to make it a weekend trip, there are also places to stay in overnight in Warwick.)