High Point State Park

High Point State Park in Sussex County provides one of the most spectacular panoramas in New Jersey for autumn foliage.

High Point State Park.
Courtesy of NJ Division of Parks and Forestry.

High Point State Park
Sussex County
Size of park: 15,827 acres

The area around High Point Monument, a whitish-gray, 220-foot obelisk, provides perhaps the most spectacular panorama in the state for autumn foliage. The 80-year-old monument, accessible by an entrance to the park from winding, hilly Route 23, sits at 1,803 feet, the highest point in the state, and offers sweeping views in every direction.

As a boy peered through binoculars recently on a clear Sunday afternoon, surveying the distant horizon, he remarked to his father, “It’s all in HD.”

To the east is the Wallkill Valley, dotted with farmland, and Wawayanda Mountain and Hamburg Mountain beyond. To the north and west is the town of Port Jervis, New York, nestled next to a sliver of the Delaware River. In the distance are the Catskill Mountains to the north and Poconos to the west.

Monument Trail, a 3.7-mile loop that is highly recommended by the Appalachian Mountain Club, passes the monument and intersects the Appalachian Trail. The trail descends to Lake Marcia, a popular spot for anglers, and slices through forests of oak and hickory. Rock ledges provide sweeping views.

Inside the Monument Trail loop is another 2.3-mile loop that circles the Dryden Kuser Natural Area—a wondrous and rare Atlantic white cedar swamp. Most of the bugs are gone by fall, and the trail, part of which is boardwalk, is an easy stroll amid diverse plant life.

Tent sites are available through October, and the park offers day-trippers a seemingly endless choice of picnic tables. A portion of the Appalachian Trail, which stretches from Maine to Georgia, runs on a ridge through the park.

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