Climb A Natural Rock Staircase Into The Clouds On The Summit Trail In New Jersey's Amwell Valley
If you’re looking for a fun, unique hike without having to travel all the way up to North Jersey’s skylands and highlands, head to the Amwell Valley and hike Baldpate Mountain! This Mercer County, New Jersey park is one of the best hikes in the state.
Baldpate Mountain, also known as the Ted Stiles Preserve, is a big ridge on the south end of New Jersey's Amwell Valley, below Sourland Mountain and close to the Delaware River and Route 29.
You'll find miles and miles of hiking trails here, with some of the most popular hikes taking you past an old mill pond...
... and a farmstead, where the pump house and main house are still standing, in surprisingly good condition.
The best way to get up to the summit is to hike the blue-blazed summit trail, which climbs a challenging and interesting natural rock staircase.
The area around Baldpate Mountain was hit by the strong straight-line and tornadic winds of a storm in 2021, so there is still quite a bit of blowdown in the area. The trails are cleared and were once again open to the public just a few months after the storm passed through.
As you climb, you'll encounter all sorts of wildlife. While black bears aren't common this far south, they do hang out here occasionally, and you might get lucky enough to see one!
It's far more likely that you'll see box turtles, rabbits, deer, and foxes.
After you get to the top of the summit trail, you can explore the homestead on the right, or head left for the peak of Strawberry Hill, which overlooks the Delaware River area.
There are picnic tables and public binoculars, and this is a fantastic spot to birdwatch and search for wildflowers.
You can see for miles! This is one of the highest viewpoints in the area, and on a clear day, you can see straight across into Pennsylvania.
The hike back down to your car is an easy one along the road from Strawberry Hill Mansion. You can also backtrack and head down the way you came, if you love playing on the rocks!
Mercer County Parks Commission site for trail maps, directions to parking areas, and updated trail conditions.
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Baldpate Mountain, Hopewell Township, NJ 08560, USA