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HomeHikingCatfish Fireplace Tower – Delaware Water Hole

Catfish Fireplace Tower – Delaware Water Hole


March 14, 2021 – Hardwick Township, NJ

Issue: Average

Size: Roughly 4.5 miles

Max elevation: 1,560 ft.– whole elevation acquire roughly 528 ft.

Route kind: Out and again

Map: Delaware Water Hole & Kittatinny Trails Map – 2021

Trailhead parking: Appalachian Path, Millbrook Highway, Hardwick Township, NJ 07825


Overview:

The Delaware Water Hole Nationwide Recreation Space, spanning Pennsylvania and New Jersey, is a novel unit of the nationwide park system. It takes its title from the long-lasting geological function at its southern finish, Delaware Water Hole. The Delaware Water Hole encompasses almost 70,000 acres of breathtaking surroundings alongside 40 miles of the Delaware River, which winds by the Appalachian Mountains. The park options waterfalls and plenty of outside actions, together with canoeing, mountaineering, tenting, swimming, biking, cross-country snowboarding, fishing and extra.

Essentially the most distinguished geographical options of Northern New Jersey are the Kittatinny Mountains, and its foothills within the NJ Highlands. Identified to the Lenni Lenape as Kittatinny, or “limitless mountain,” the Ridge supplies a bounty of leisure alternatives. Catfish Mountain is a peak of the Kittatinny Mountains in Warren County, NJ. The mountain stands at an elevation 1,560 toes. It lies alongside the Appalachian Path within the Delaware Water Hole Nationwide Recreation Space. The Kittatinny Valley (additionally referred to as the Limestone Valley) lies virtually on to the east of the path, whereas the Delaware Water Hole lies to its west.

On the summit of Catfish Mountain is the Catfish Fireplace Tower. The Appalachian Path runs proper alongside it and makes for an ideal focal point for hikers passing by. On a transparent day, you possibly can see the Catskill Mountains to the north and the Poconos to the west. The Tower, also referred to as Catfish Station was constructed in 1922, changing a wood tower. In 1993 the 7×7-foot cab was rebuilt on this 60’ Aermotor LS-40 tower. 

Catfish Fire Tower

Catfish Fireplace Tower


Historical past:

Although put aside as an space for outside recreation, the land of this park is wealthy in historical past.

The park encompasses vital Native American archeological websites, a number of of which have been investigated.

A variety of constructions additionally stay from early Dutch settlement and the colonial contact interval. Your entire area was a frontier of the French & Indian Conflict. Historic rural villages from the 18th and nineteenth centuries stay intact on the New Jersey aspect, and landscapes of previous settlements are scattered all through the park.

Within the nineteenth century, the village of Delaware Water Hole was a spotlight of the early resort business fostered by the railroads. Even immediately the area is understood for its trip enchantment.

In 1960 the Military Corps of Engineers set upon a mission to construct a dam at Tocks Island, simply north of the Water Hole. This dam would management water ranges for hydroelectric energy technology and create a 37 mile lake to be used as a reservoir. A smaller surrounding recreation space, to make a extra “value efficient” dam, could be administered by the Nationwide Park Service.

Tens of hundreds of thousands of {dollars} had been appropriated and work started to organize the world for flooding. Three to 5 thousand dwellings had been demolished. Some fifteen thousand individuals had been displaced, a lot of whom represented 300 years and 13 generations of historical past and tradition within the Higher Delaware Valley. A serene area of farms, hamlets and villages alongside a free flowing river was systematically dismantled as a part of a plan that was ultimately shelved. There was passionate opposition from many corners to the federal government’s agenda. A few of the extra seen historic houses had been briefly spared solely to be destroyed by squatters and arsonists. For 18 years the valley was the location of a weird free-for-all with an unpredictable final result.

Lastly, in 1978 the undertaking was deemed economically & environmentally unsound, and the federal government, as a substitute of promoting again the remaining 83 houses to unique house owners, transferred the properties to the Nationwide Park Service. The Delaware River was positioned underneath the safety of the Scenic Rivers Act.


Trails Overview:

The Delaware Water Hole Nationwide Recreation Space has greater than 100 miles of mountaineering trails alongside streams, ridges, and mountaintops. The paths are of various issue and any variety of loop hikes might be achieved utilizing connecting trails.

The Appalachian Nationwide Scenic Path (AT) extends alongside the backbone of the Appalachian Mountains from Springer Mountain, Georgia to Mt. Katahdin in Baxter State Park, Maine. Of the two,174 miles of path, 28 miles are throughout the Delaware Water Hole Nationwide Recreation Space. Whether or not mountaineering for a few hours, for the day, or for the complete size of the path, the AT supplies alternatives for majestic views, wildlife sightings, and mountaineering challenges.

Appalachian Trail - Delaware Water Gap

Appalachian Path – Delaware Water Hole


Hike Overview:

This hike begins the place the white-blazed Appalachian Path (AT) crosses Millbrook Highway and heads south. Right here, a gravel highway, blocked by a gate (marked “Fireplace Highway – Do Not Block”), goes off to the left (if coming from the south). Restricted parking is offered on the trailhead, but when no areas can be found, proceed north for one more 500 toes to a second parking space on the appropriate aspect of the highway the place the AT leaves the highway.

Appalachian Trail - Millbrook Road

Appalachian Path – Millbrook Highway

This hike is a simple out and again, solely on the Appalachian Path (AT). The path is properly marked and straightforward to observe. The hike begins at Millbrook Highway, travels south alongside the AT, previous the Catfish Fireplace Tower and alongside the Kittatinny Ridge with a number of good view factors alongside the way in which. The flip round spot is simply previous the junction with the Rattlesnake Swamp Path.

Catfish Fire Tower – Delaware Water Gap

Catfish Fireplace Tower – Delaware Water Hole

The climb to succeed in the Kittatinny Ridge would be the most strenuous a part of the hike, and it’s not that troublesome and quick lived. As soon as on the ridge, you’ll be rewarded with a number of scenic viewpoints together with the Catfish Fireplace Tower which is a well-liked spot to cease and luxuriate in a picnic. From the hearth tower, the remainder of the way in which alongside the ridge consists of some minor ups and downs, so one can benefit from the scenic ridge stroll with out working too exhausting.

elevation profile - Catfish Fire Tower – Delaware Water Gap

elevation profile – Catfish Fireplace Tower – Delaware Water Hole

Please observe: This hike might be accomplished as a loop by returning on the Rattlesnake Swamp Path. Remember the fact that the Rattlesnake Swamp Path has quite a few small stream crossings and the Rattlesnake Swamp could make this path very moist. After the current thaw and runoff, and chatting with a number of hikers that described the path as extraordinarily moist and mucky, we determined to skip this path and retrace our steps alongside the AT.

This part of the AT is extraordinarily rocky all through. A superb pair of mountaineering boots is totally beneficial.


The Hike:

Upon arriving on the trailhead, all of the parking spots had been taken. We drove about one other 500 toes the place the AT leaves the highway and reenters the woods heading northbound. There’s a small parking space there and that’s the place we started the hike. Leaving the parking space, we turned left and adopted the white blazes alongside the highway. In about 500 toes, the AT crosses the highway on the different parking space by the hearth highway.

Millbrook Road, westbound parking area

Millbrook Highway, westbound parking space

Appalachian Trail - Millbrook Road

Appalachian Path – Millbrook Highway

From the gate, proceed forward on the gravel highway, marked with the white blazes of the Appalachian Path (A.T.). In a couple of quarter of a mile, the highway curves sharply proper and enters a rhododendron grove. A brief distance past, the white blazes of the A.T. depart to the left

Appalachian Trail - Millbrook Road

Appalachian Path – Millbrook Highway

Appalachian Trail - southbound

Appalachian Path – southbound

Appalachian Trail - southbound

Appalachian Path – southbound

Appalachian Trail - southbound

Appalachian Path – southbound

In about 0.4 mile from the gate, the AT turns left, leaving the hearth highway and begins climbing on a footpath. The hearth highway continues forward and connects to the Rattlesnake Swamp Path. The hearth highway may also be used as an alternative choice to the AT to succeed in the hearth tower.

turn left on Appalachian Trail, leaving the fire road

flip left on Appalachian Path, leaving the hearth highway

The AT now begins a gentle ascent of Catfish Mountain on a rocky footpath bordered by Rhododendrons.

Appalachian Trail - Catfish Mountain

Appalachian Path – Catfish Mountain

Appalachian Trail - Catfish Mountain

Appalachian Path – Catfish Mountain

Appalachian Trail - Catfish Mountain

Appalachian Path – Catfish Mountain

At roughly 0.6 mile, the AT turns left to rejoin the gravel hearth highway after which turns proper 300 ft. later to reenter the woods on a footpath. 

Appalachian Trail - Catfish Mountain

Appalachian Path – Catfish Mountain

Appalachian Trail turns right, leaving the fire road

Appalachian Path turns proper, leaving the hearth highway

We opted to stay on the hearth highway (left fork) which is a barely longer route, however was extra freed from snow than was the AT. 

fire road - Catfish Mountain

hearth highway – Catfish Mountain

Quickly the hearth highway rejoins the AT, which is available in from the appropriate and climbs slightly extra to succeed in the location of the Catfish Fireplace Tower.

the fire road rejoins the Appalachian Trail

the hearth highway rejoins the Appalachian Path

Roughly 1 mile from the gate and about 300 toes of elevation acquire, the Appalachian Path reaches Catfish Fireplace Tower. A picnic desk close to the bottom of the tower makes for a great place to take a break earlier than climbing the tower.

Catfish Fire Tower

Catfish Fireplace Tower

Inbuilt 1922 to exchange a wood tower, the Catfish Fireplace Tower also referred to as Catfish Station, is without doubt one of the oldest within the state. At 60 toes tall, it’s not the tallest hearth tower in New Jersey. Nonetheless, at an elevation of 1,560 toes above sea stage, it’s the highest.

Catfish Fire Tower

Catfish Fireplace Tower

In 1993, the Catfish Fireplace Tower’s 7×7-foot cab was rebuilt and the tower rededicated. Catfish Station continues to be an lively hearth tower immediately. It was listed on the Nationwide Register of Historic Locations on December 15, 1997.

Catfish Fire Tower

Catfish Fireplace Tower

Fireplace Towers are thought of to be the “Sentinels of the Ridge tops” as they’re raised properly above the bottom in order that the “lookout” within the tower can relay coordinates to firefighters as to the place they’re seeing smoke. Skilled hearth observers workers these towers and use an instrument referred to as a Osborne Fireplace Finder, also referred to as an alidade, and topographical maps to triangulate the situation of attainable wildfires. After pin pointing a location floor crews go in and examine to plan the suitable motion to be taken. At the very least one tower in every division is staffed when hearth hazard is average or larger and all towers are staffed throughout the months of March, April, Could, October and November.

Catfish Fire Tower

Catfish Fireplace Tower

Catfish Fire Tower

Catfish Fireplace Tower

The cabin was locked on our go to, however the 360° views from just under it are fantastic. Beneath is a picture wanting on the Appalachian Path touring south.

view southwest from Catfish Fire Tower

view southwest from Catfish Fireplace Tower

A zoomed in view of Higher Yards Creek Reservoir and Mount Tammany.

view southwest from Catfish Fire Tower

view southwest from Catfish Fireplace Tower

A zoomed in view of Higher Yards Creek Reservoir

zoomed in view of Upper Yards Creek Reservoir from Catfish Fire Tower

zoomed in view of Higher Yards Creek Reservoir from Catfish Fireplace Tower

A southwestern view of the Kittatinny Ridge in direction of Pennsylvania. 

southwest view of the Kittatinny Ridge from Catfish Fire Tower

southwest view of the Kittatinny Ridge from Catfish Fireplace Tower

The Kittatinny Ridge wanting northeast the place the Appalachian Path travels north.

northeast view of the Kittatinny Ridge from Catfish Fire Tower

northeast view of the Kittatinny Ridge from Catfish Fireplace Tower

A glider floating by in the early morning

A glider floating by within the early morning

Should you had sufficient views and need to simply do a brief 2 mile hike, you possibly can retrace your steps and return to your automobile. Should you want to proceed, proceed south on the AT alongside the ridge which is properly marked and etched onto the floor of the ridge. From the hearth tower, the AT embarks on a rocky footpath that at instances might be actual ankle breaker. The totally different dimension jagged rocks, ranging in dimension, makes you need to focus on the place you place your toes. 

Appalachian Trail - Kittatinny Ridge

Appalachian Path – Kittatinny Ridge

In a couple of 1/2 mile, there’s a east-facing view of the Nice Valley. This viewpoint is denoted on the NY/NJ Path Convention map with a star ★. This makes for one more great place to take a break in case you are so inclined.

1st viewpoint – Kittatinny Ridge

1st viewpoint – Kittatinny Ridge

1st viewpoint – Kittatinny Ridge

1st viewpoint – Kittatinny Ridge

1st viewpoint – Kittatinny Ridge

1st viewpoint – Kittatinny Ridge

Persevering with south on the AT, it runs shut sufficient to the sting of the ridge that there are many restricted and a few extra expansive views over the Nice Valley to the east alongside this stretch of the path, particularly throughout leaf-off seasons.

Appalachian Trail – Kittatinny Ridge

Appalachian Path – Kittatinny Ridge

Appalachian Trail – Kittatinny Ridge

Appalachian Path – Kittatinny Ridge

Appalachian Trail – Kittatinny Ridge

Appalachian Path – Kittatinny Ridge

Appalachian Trail – Kittatinny Ridge

Appalachian Path – Kittatinny Ridge

Appalachian Trail – Kittatinny Ridge

Appalachian Path – Kittatinny Ridge

Appalachian Trail – Kittatinny Ridge

Appalachian Path – Kittatinny Ridge

In about 2 miles from the gate on Millbrook Highway, the Appalachian Path reaches the junction with the orange-blazed Rattlesnake Swamp Path, marked with wood posts.

AT/Rattlesnake Swamp Trail junction – Kittatinny Ridge

AT/Rattlesnake Swamp Path junction – Kittatinny Ridge

There’s a good extensive view over farms and forest within the valley beneath and alongside the ridge.

Appalachian Trail – Kittatinny Ridge

Appalachian Path – Kittatinny Ridge

Higher Yards Creek Reservoir within the distance.

zoomed in view of Upper Yards Creek Reservoir from Appalachian Trail on the Kittatinny Ridge

zoomed in view of Higher Yards Creek Reservoir from Appalachian Path on the Kittatinny Ridge

This marked our flip round spot, however in case you favor to proceed a bit farther there are extra views available. The AT ultimately descends to Camp Highway then climbs again as much as the ridge.

Appalachian Trail – Kittatinny Ridge

Appalachian Path – Kittatinny Ridge

Warning must be exercised alongside this part, particularly in moist circumstances, because the path comes extraordinarily near the sting with a steep drop-off to 1 aspect. 

Appalachian Trail – Kittatinny Ridge

Appalachian Path – Kittatinny Ridge

We relaxed right here for a bit and chatted with a number of hikers that handed by. 

Appalachian Trail – Kittatinny Ridge

Appalachian Path – Kittatinny Ridge

We then retraced our steps alongside the Appalachian Path, stopping at each viewpoint once more, in addition to the Catfish Fireplace Tower. From the hearth tower we descended the identical method we got here up and returned to the trailhead on Millbrook Highway, the place the hike started.

Catfish Fire Tower

Catfish Fireplace Tower

Assessment:

An ideal hike alongside the AT on the Kittatinny Ridge within the Delaware Water Hole. The 360° hearth tower views are excellent and the stroll alongside the ridge affords many extra. Comparatively little foot site visitors in comparison with the extra common hikes within the space. Well worth the 1-1/2 hour drive from the Hudson Valley. The one draw back was that the cab of the hearth tower was locked and is barely open when there’s a ranger on responsibility.

Execs:

Catfish Fireplace Tower, 360° views from hearth tower, historic Appalachian Path, scenic ridgetop with quite a few views, properly marked path.

Cons:

Cabin in hearth tower is locked and never accessible until there’s a ranger on responsibility.


Take a hike!

Catfish Fire Tower – Delaware Water Gap

Catfish Fireplace Tower – Delaware Water Hole


Sources:



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