Wawayanda State Park

For a chance to see autumn at its best, scale the boulders at Wawayanda State Park.

Wawayanda State Park
(Passaic and Sussex Counties)
Size of park: 34,350 acres

There’s no better place to view the fall foliage than the top of Wawayanda Mountain. The only way to get there is by foot. Scaling the boulders is challenging at times, but it’s worth the trek to see autumn at its best.

A parking lot off Route 94 north of Vernon provides access to a portion of the Appalachian Trail, which winds east up Wawayanda for 1.3 miles, climbing some 400 rock steps through pristine forests of cherry, red maple, and sweet birch trees. An adjoining trail, blazed in blue, leads to Pinwheel’s Vista, just below the summit.

In all, the Appalachian Trail runs for twenty miles through the park, and there are additional trails for hiking and mountain biking. For anglers, Lake Wawayanda and Wawayanda Creek are stocked with fish, including brown and rainbow trout. For the last two years, the New Jersey Division of Fish and Wildlife has stocked the lake with landlocked salmon. (These fish are also stocked at Lake Aeroflex in Kittatinny Valley State Park.) Until March 20, anglers can keep two salmon at least 12 inches long per day.

As you enjoy the park, keep in mind that the area was not always this tranquil. Stone fences separate parcels of land that were once farms, and old logging roads are reminders that timber was hauled from the area as recently as the 1940s.

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