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Stokes State Forest/Del Water Gap - Tillman Ravine/Buttermilk Falls/Rattlesnake Mountain - 4/3/2010

Wow! This was one spectacular hike! It covered just about everything - ravines, waterfalls, valleys, ridges, climbs, and great views in a loop of about 10 miles. The directions are outlined here briefly but I will give a little more detail.

MAPS: You will need the NY/NJ Trail Conference Kittatinny Trails maps number 121 and 122. Each map has half of the hike on it. I overlapped, lined up, taped and photo copied so I had the whole thing on one page.

DIRECTIONS: Route 206 North; pass the entrance to Stokes State Forest on the right and make the first left after that on to Struble Road. Follow Stuble Road for a little over 4 miles to the first Tillman Ravine parking area. Restrooms are there.

HIKE: Head into the ravine from the parking lot and follow the white rectangle markers which zigzag you back and forth across the multiple bridges in the ravine. There is a trail marked with white circles but I believe that keeps you up higher and away from the water. After about 1/2 mile you will see a white rectangle marker with a white triangle pointing to the right indicating the trail goes to the right. Do not turn right here. Keep going straight on an unmarked trail which parallels the water. You will come out at Mountain Road where you turn left and follow the gravel road for about 1.8 miles. The walk along the road is very easy and scenic, kind of reminded me more of walking on a rail trail through the countryside. Enjoy it because you will think back on that later when you are climbing up, up, up... There is traffic on this road. At 8:30 AM only one car passed me.

You will come up on Buttermilk Falls on the left. Turn left and follow the blue trail which takes you up the steep steps along the falls. I suggest not attempting this if you have a 70 pound German shepherd who is deathly afraid of steps. A steep incline up the side of a mountain she scales just fine but throw some steps on it and forget it! I knew we were in trouble the minute I saw the stairs. She wanted to go alongside the steps and that was fine about half way up but then it was too steep and she had to do the steps. It was quite an ordeal but we eventually made it to the top together. The blue trail keeps climbing pretty steeply for the next 1.5 miles or so. It is quite a workout but worth the views once you reach the top.

At about the 4 mile point you reach the white-blazed Appalachian Trail where you turn left. Continue for about 4 1/2 miles on the AT passing Rattlesnake Mountain, Bird Mountain and Blue Mountain, all with spectacular views to the west. A couple of times there were unmarked trails to the left with views just a few feet out of your way - worth exploring if you see the trails. After Blue Mountain you start descending to Brink Road.

Turn left at the blue-blazed Brink Road. After .2 miles there will be a shelter on the right and shortly beyond that some large boulders blocking off the road. A woods road crosses just past the boulders. Keep straight on Brink Road which would be the middle road - I don't recall seeing any more blazes the rest of the way. When you come to a fork a little farther along, keep left. You can apparently bushwhack along a creek you will be passing back to the parking lot but with all of the standing water and blowdowns, I opted to stay on the road. Note that there can be car traffic on Brink Road but it is very rutted so I doubt many drive it. One SUV passed us. You will be on Brink Road for a total of about 1 1/2 miles. When you reach the paved road (this is the road you came in on) turn left and walk a short distance to the Tillman Ravine parking lot where the hike started.

High Point monument about 18 miles away seen from Rattlesnake mountain:

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Comment by SouthJerseyGrapevine.com on April 13, 2010 at 11:41am
WOW! What a beautiful hike. We hiked this loop on Saturday (April 10th, 2010) and we had a blast! We had all the maps and a GPS to track the trail and we finished in about 5 hrs. Thanks for the great trail info! It was right on. We also had our 5 month old with us (Front pack) and he loved it too. We have a ton of great photos that I'll upload soon!

Saturday night we stayed @ an AMAZING B&B in Glenwood, NJ (Glenwood Mill B&B). Incredible place, history, hospitality and only about 20 minutes from the trail. ;-)


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