Rattlesnake Swamp Trail
GOOD FOR: Ages 9-12

Source:Outdoors with Kids New York City (AMC Books)
Address:50 Camp Road, Blairstown, NJ
Hours:Dawn to dusk daily
Fee: Free

nps.gov/dewa; 908-362-5670

Bathrooms: Mohican Outdoor Center
Water/Snacks: A store with snacks at the Mohican Outdoor Center

Swim, paddle, or fish on Catfish Pond, or enjoy a challenging hike up a steep trail that rewards you with fantastic views of the landscape below.

Rattlesnake Swamp Trail
Photo by: Cheryl and William de Jong-Lambert

The Mohican Outdoor Center (see page 232) is a wonderful launching point for a variety of hikes and day trips: You can cross-country ski or rock-climb at Blue Mountain Lakes, swim, paddle, or fish on Catfish Pond (New Jersey fishing license required), look for wildlife in the wetlands, or embark on a variety of hikes. The west loop of Rattlesnake Swamp Trail is a challenging option, but the route is short enough that it is a good way to prepare young hikers for longer trips.

The start of the trail is just a quick walk from the visitor center. As you leave the center, turn right down Camp Road to where it is bisected by the Appalachian Trail (AT). Turn left at the sign marking the AT and follow the white-blazed path up a very steep hill. The hike gets steeper as you ascend, and at points it will feel like you are climbing high stairs. After hiking up over a series of ridges, you will reach the top, where a stunning vista awaits.

After about 0.3 mile along the ridge, you emerge from the thick canopy of trees facing southeast. When you look down you will see Gaisler Road and the Upper Yards Creek Reservoir. As you continue along the ridge, you will find several points where it is worth pausing to gaze out over the landscape below.

After about 1.5 miles, the orange-blazed trail will intersect to the left. Follow the orange-blazed trail back down the ridge (the blazes are painted on rocks along the path, so be sure to look down). After about a mile, Rattlesnake Swamp Trail will intersect on the right. The trail will lead you back to the Trails End Lodge section of the Mohican Outdoor Center. Follow Camp Road left back to the visitor center, or turn right and head to the Catfish Pond to swim or paddle. You can rent canoes, kayaks, and paddles at the Mohican Outdoor Center. Remember: Keep an eye out for bears and rattlesnakes—we met both.

Plan B:

Dunnfield Creek Natural Area (Trip 93) and Van Campens Glen (Trip 92) both offer less challenging hikes than Rattlesnake Swamp Trail.

Where to Eat Nearby:

It’s best to bring a picnic. Or stay at the Mohican Outdoor Center and have meals provided during summer.


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