Appalachian Trail: Sunfish Pond & Mount Mohican

PointToPoint • 8.8 mi • 0 ft

Sunfish Pond is one of the most popular hiking destinations in New Jersey, with good reason. The rocky shores of this crystal clear glacial lake are postcard perfect. Get an early start for this hike, or go on a weekday or in winter. You will miss the crowds and improve your chances of spotting the plentiful but shy wildlife. Before starting out, stop at the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area Information Center at Kittatinny Point. Its rangers and books on local flora, fauna, history, and geology will enrich your hike. Behind the visitor center is a spectacular view of the Water Gap. The river flows by in a graceful curve, while the towering heights of Pennsylvania's Mt. Minsi and New Jersey's Mount Tammany rise 1200 feet above. Exposed rock strata display millions of years of geological history. Natural history features; Dunnfield Hollow hemlock ravine; Sunfish Pond (glacial lake); Mt. Mohican vistas.
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Activity Type: Hiking
Nearby City: Columbia
Length: 8.8 total miles
Elevation Gain: Minimal
Trail Type: Point-to-point
Skill Level: Strenuous
Duration: 6 hours
Trailhead Elevation: 350 feet
Top Elevation: 1,500 feet
Local Contacts: Appalachian Mountain Club, 617-523-0636
Local Maps: ATC NY & NJ Map 6; NY-NJTC Kittatinny Trails S Map 15
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6/18/2011

The trail is fun, beautiful and fairly challenging. There are some very rocky areas, so good footwear is a must. Especially the trail around Sunfish Pond. Most of the trail is covered by the tree canopy, making for a cool hike. Saw several deer, a few snakes and lizards and one black bear. Camped uphill from the pond. Some trails segments were a bit off due to a recent landslide. Made it all the more fun. A few creek crossings were nothing but a thin line of rocks or a trunk. Get ready to exercise some balance. Will do again. Possibly in fall. Scenery should be just as great then.

1/4/2009

Only made it as far as Sunfish pond and than took the green Dunfield creek trail back. Dunfield Creek trail was fun but many stream crossings over a swollen creek made it interesting with the dog.

8/18/2008

A wonderful hike, not very hard. Watch for the frogs when you get close to the pond. Also, the rocks around the pond have alot of spots for snakes and various lizards to sun themselves. In the early morning, be on the lookout for bears.

8/12/2008

This area is one of the best places to hike in NJ! We hiked the appalacian trail starting from the Mohican Outdoor Center off of Mohican road (follow the signs)and heading southwest to Sunfish Pond, and then back. By parking at the Outdoor Center, we avoided a lot of the uphill hiking, and basically walked the ridgeline the entire way, making it a great introduction hike for people who may not be fit enough to tackle significant elevation change. Great views most of the hike, and we saw tons of wildlife (turkey, deer, snakes, frogs, etc). Just keep an eye out for rattlesnakes - I nearly stepped on one, and he wasn't happy about it! Overall, a great hike: Minimal effort for maximum views. Just give yourself plenty of time, because Sunfish pond is beautiful and you'll want to give yourself an hour or two there.

7/4/2008

We've been out to the AT trail near the Delaware Water Gap four times this year. This trip was to Sunfish Pond at the top of Mt Tammany. The weather conditions for this trek were just perfect. Overcast with a misting all day. At times when we were on the trail in was raining lightly. Being out there early was a benefit as well as there were crowds coming up the trail as the day got on. We got to the pond in about 1 hr 45 mins and ate lunch at the rock bluff alongside the pond. Going down we cut 10 minutes off the time so our R/T clock was 3 hrs 20 minutes on a leisurely pace. Its beautiful up there at this time of the year. We plan to go back in the fall.

5/10/2008

Took the trail from Dunfield Creek up to the Mt. Tammany overlook, then on to Sunfish Pond. From there took the AT back to the parking lot. The whole trip took about 5 hours. The trail to Mt. Tammany is steeper than most in PA. In many areas there are steps made from rocks. The trail to Sunfish pond is quite rocky. As one gets older these are more difficult to negotiate, but walking sticks help. The section of the AT we traveled was less rocky and in some places as wide as a road. The trails are well marked and well worn. On a clear day the views over the Delaware River are impressive. The vegetation is beautiful. Overall a good hike!

4/28/2008

Tough, tough, tough on your feet! The trail is mostly rocks - from softball to soccer ball sized. Very few level spots. Beautiful, though! Even better in the fall, early October especially.

4/6/2008

I really enjoy the hike to Sunfish Pond. In the past I have seen many deer, turkey, a bear and all sorts of amphibians. Our club hikes here at least once a year and everyone always enjoys it. Definitely incorporate the Dunfield trail as part of the loop. The lower parts of the AT can get crowded. Carl www.terramaradventures.com

7/3/2007

I took my 4 year old daughter and 6 year old son up to Sunfish pond last week. While the hike is mostly uphill, I wouldn't call it strenuous as the report labels this part of the AT. Unfortunately, while the wildlife abounds in this area and we got to see deer, rabbits, squirrels, chipmunks and the occasional snake slide out of view, the rest of the view is almost entirely inside the woods. There are a few cases where the trees break and you can see some of the other ridges, or where the fire was, you can see a bit further. Once we arrived at the pond, their eyes lit up. The tadpoles/pollywogs were huge as the bullfrogs proudly peeked throught the water at us. Instead of doing the loop (afterall, 7.5 miles is already a lot for 4 and 6 year old legs) we turned around and took the same trail back. The downhill hike was very much welcome by all our legs. We met some fantastic people on the trail, both day hikers and thru hikers. All in all, a great hike. I'll be taking my Cubscouts on the trail next month.

11/13/2006

Excellent trail, but fairly strenous since it is a steady incline and half the trail is very strewn with rocks. Sunfish Pond is beautiful and peaceful, even without leaves. Useful to bring along a small garbage bag, since there is enough litter over the 3.7 miles each way to make sensitive hikers want it to be cleaner. My spouse and I filled one bag, and wished we had brought along two.

7/22/2006

The AT hike is easy going. We stayed at the backpacker site near Sunfish Pond, which has nice sites, bear bins and bear hangs. Mt. Tammany offers some great views of the gap. Both red blaze and blue blaze trails to get up are pretty exerting. We did Mt. Tammany, then took the Dunnfield Hollow trail out to Sunfish Pond, and came back along the AT the next morning. Dunnfield green blazes get hard to follow for a while, as all the flooding in June knocked loads of huge uprooted trees over the path. Just stay near the stream, and you'll run into it again.

7/6/2006

Did an overnight from Millrook-Blaistown Rd south to Sunfish Pond. Only a couple of uphill climbs, mostly just a walk along the ridge. Good views from the Catfish Fire Tower, good campsites with great views about 4 miles into the hike. Footing can be tricky, found myself looking down almost the whole time to avoid breaking an ankle on the rocks. Sunfish Pond is a great place to take a break on the second day, try the trail that goes around it on the north shore - good overlook. I've done this hike both directions, recommend the north to south orientation if you're looking for an overnight. The backpacker site is the only place you're allowed to camp in Worthington - no water, no fires. I would recommend this hike, I'll be back here for other sections on the trail further north.

12/3/2005

Nice hike, the snow made the trail around Sunfish pond a little trickey though.

11/26/2005

Nice hike to Sunfish Pond. Continuous uphill. Wide trail, easy to follow, lots of people during the nice weather. Once you go past Sunfish Pond to the North, the hike becomes a 5-star. Much less crowded, cleaner, better views, and easier as you are now walking along a ridge.

6/25/2005

This trail is of moderate difficulty, with some rocky parts requiring concentration where you put your feet but otherwise a beginner should be able to manage with relative ease. The hike itself, to the lake is pretty boring. The forest is nothing to look at. Some parts have dense fern growth but that''s about it. You may notice some interesting geological rock formations. There''s a creek right after the trailhead but then nothing for a long time. We started out at 6 pm because we got there late. There were a lot of bugs flying around by the lake. The lake is surrounded by trees and you approach the water at spaced, small clearings. We saw deer drinking water and yes, going to the bathroom in the lake just 30 feet away from us. And the chipmunks were very friendly. One ran around us for several minutes coming almost within hands reach. I think a lot of humans get up there so they''re not really fazed. The lake does present a peaceful scene but I really recommend some bug repellent or such. Based on all the hullabaloo about this lake, I''d say check it out so you can see for yourself. Personally I''d only heard marvels so seeing it in person was somewhat "anti-climactic" I suppose. Fall and spring might be better months. Swimming isn''t allowed and I don''t know that I would. The water did not look clear at all to me, kind of dirty. There were people coming back as we headed out - raving... But, that''s my opinion so I''ll stick to it. We did the short version parking at the trailhead nearest the lake. We drove well out of our way to pick up the trail conference maps at the Mohican Outdoor Center. Once you're at the trailhead a map isn't really necessary to get to the lake. The path is straightforward and well-indicated. At the time of our visit the visitor center was closed down, I think there had been flooding. Also, one of the roads was closed down limiting more direct access to the lake... You may want to check things out before hand.

11/29/2004

Hiked the trail and camped in the winter. No people the whole trip was wonderful. I will rate it again when I get back from my summer trip.

5/6/2003

The trail is not difficult, but still a good workout due to the continuous incline in elevation. The scenery is good with surprisingly beautiful vistas. Sunfish pond is very nice and well worth the trip by itself. The camping area (just before reaching Sunfish Pond from the south) is popular, but pleasant, and offers nice views of the adjacent valley and ridgeline as well as open sky at night (my kids were also fascinated by the huge claw- and teeth-marks in the bear poles.) You won't experience much solitude here; nevertheless, this is one of the best hikes within easy access from the NYC or Philly areas. I highly recommend this hike as an introduction to backpacking for kids, or as a convenient quick overnight escape.

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