The Southern Wyanokies

Federal Hill

There is much history associated with Federal Hill. This dates back to revolutionary times: a mass act of subordination in the Continental Army took place here on January 20, 1781, an event known as the Pompton Mutiny. The root cause was a lack of provisions and sufficient winter-ready clothing.

Several ruins of the Bergwald Nazi Bund camp can be found on Federal Hill, which operated through the 1930s and raided by the FBI in 1941. The hill is under increasing pressure from housing development and a quarry operated by Tilcon NY Inc. Algonquin Gas Transmission LLC administers a natural gas pipeline on the hill as well. As such, a large percentage of Federal Hill is within private property. Legal access to the area overlooking Riverdale is possible, though extremely difficult.

High Crest

Accessible by bushwhack only, High Crest is separated from the rest of Apshawa Preserve by the Apshawa Brook. The western point of High Crest is an outcrop overlooking Route 23 at the border of Kinnelon and West Milford, just before NJ-23 runs into the dreaded "S-turns". These turns are the site of many accidents and some fatalities due to improper banking of the road surface. Once a two-way road, this section of Route 23 was converted into a one-way, two-lane, northbound road after the construction of modern southbound lanes on the other side of the Pequannock River. This means the left lane, once southbound, banks in the wrong direction around turns for northbound drivers. There is an ongoing debate between locals and town/state officials about a proper solution, which will require complicated planning and a hefty price tag.

Table Rock

A long walk through the Skyline Preserve leads to Table Rock. Henion Pond is at the forefront. Joining the scene are Manhattan and a stretch of Route 23 in Kinnelon. Quick access from the south is available through private property only, and should not be used without permission.

Mount Warner

Isolated from the rest of Norvin Green with no marked trails, Mount Warner is separated from Carris Hill by Post Brook. The approach is a bushwhack with the aid of several woods roads.

Osio Rock

The name "Osio" is a Lenni Lenape word meaning "beautiful view". Trees have since overgrown the summit, obstructing what was once a 360° view. Still, lines of sight exist towards Carris Hill, Wyanokie Tourne, Buck Mountain, the Wanaque Reservoir, Bloomingdale NJ, and New York City. Additional views are found on the southwest slopes. Access is gained through the Torne and Hewitt-Butler trails.

Wyanokie Torne NJ1K #36

Tourne Mountain -- commonly called "Wyanokie Torne" -- is climbed via short but steep sections of the Hewitt-Butler Trail. A scramble on the southern end reveals views of Osio Rock, Bloomingdale, Riverdale, and the Tilcon Quarry. The most popular feature of Tourne is the Stone Living Room. The circular set of stone chairs surrounds a fireplace, along with a separate "recliner". The backdrop is formed by the soft, rolling hills of the Jersey Highlands, looking into the sunset at the end of the day.

Butler Torne

Butler Torne is accessible through a short bushwhack from the south end of the red Tourne Trail. The peak holds a beautiful pitch pine habitat, with available views towards its siblings: Wyanokie Torne and Osio Rock. The name “Butler Torne” is a deprecated name for the entire section west of Glenwild Avenue, referring to all three peaks as one single mountain.

Carris Hill

One of the main attractions in the Wyanokies. The direct route to the Carris peak is a stiff incline from either direction. Views to the west show Wyanokie Torne and the Stony Brook Mountains. At the peak, overgrowth has reclaimed this view long ago. Still, Wyanokie High Point and Harrison Mountain can be seen through the trees to the north. The trail on the southeast face of the hill features intermittent scrambling with several views. The first view is a look at the Stony Brooks, marked by a stand of trees and a large glacial erratic resembling an egg. The second partially reveals the reservoir near an upright, face-like boulder called "Old Man Rock". The third view is the big payoff: an expansive view of the Wanaque Reservoir, Ramapo Mountain, the I-287 viaduct, High Mountain, and New York City from a large, exposed slab. Carris Hill is typically tackled as a loop hike, which will pass Chikahoki Falls along the way. It is also common for hikers to hit Carris Hill and Wyanokie High Point in one outing.

Buck Mountain NJ1K #19

At 1240 feet from sea level, this is the highest peak in the Wyanokies. The summit is without views, but two can be found on the southern end of the ridge. The first is at the top of one of Norvin Green's toughest trail sections, a 200 foot climb in less than a tenth of a mile. The next is further down the Wyanokie Crest Trail toward to the west, a view dominated by Wyanokie Torne and the residential neighborhoods of Bloomingdale, NJ.

Wyanokie High Point

The crown jewel of the Wyanokies. The peak is marked by a tip of a steel rebar set into the highest point. A bald granite cap provides a 360 degree view that extends for dozens of miles.

To the west, Assiniwikam Mountain and the Wyanokie Crest demonstrate that Wyanokie High Point is a "high point" in name only.

Southerly views center mainly on Carris Hill and Tilcon's Federal Hill and Riverdale quarries.

To the southeast, the I-287's Wanaque River bridge is overshadowed by High Mountain, which shares the horizon with the Manhattan skyline.

Directly east is the Wanaque Reservoir, the centerpiece of the entire view from High Point. The Reservoir separates the Wyanokies from the Ramapos -- the latter presents as a long, extended ridge when viewed from the west.

Finally, the view to the north shows the distinctive Windbeam Mountain and its cousins, the Stonetown hills of Bear Mountain and Board Mountain. More to the left, Saddle Mountain sets off a view of rolling hills before the range fades into New York's Sterling Forest.

Assiniwikam Mountain

"Assiniwikam" is a word meaning "rock house". This refers to a shallow cave on the mountain used by local Lenape as a campsite. This same cave was later used by an old mountaineer as a hideout from strangers. He made improvements to the campsite including a stone wall and a well-developed fireplace, which have since been disassembled. He lived in a nearby cabin constructed by his grandfather. built as a refuge from authorities after deserting his regiment in the War of 1812.

Assiniwikam Mountain is accessed through the Will Monroe trail, named after the man who laid out many, if not most, trails in the Wyanokies. The pink-blazed trail traverses the mountain in a tight loop, offering limited scrambling and wide-open rock exposures. The unique habitat provided by the rocky terrain supports diverse vegetation, which displays a wide range of colors in the fall and spring. Limited and obstructed views over the surrounding terrain are available on the Will Monroe Loop, but the most expansive view is just off the trail to the east. Wyanokie High Point is the view's dominating feature, with looks at Manhattan, Ramapo Mountain, and the Stonetown Range including Windbeam.

Ball Mountain

This mountain is named for a unique exposure of rock, showing a Wyanokie High Point, Assiniwikam, and Saddle Mountain (all of which tower high above Ball Mountain).

However, its key features are a pair of mines. The first is the flooded Blue Mine, first commissioned in 1765 by the prolific ironmaster Peter Hasenclever. It was in operation for over 130 years. Roomy Mine, with a more impressive facade, was named after surveyor Benjamin Roome. It was only active for 17 years, ending operations in 1857. It contains a large vertical shaft open to the sky. Inside the main shaft is another: this one reaches 100 ft horizontally into the darkness. Formerly known as the Red Mine, Roomy Mine is open to exploration between April 15 and September 15. The rule is designed to protect hibernating bats that overwinter in the mine.

Wickadoma Mountain

"Wickadoma" means "cries from a dark place". It's an imposing name, and the ridge is certainly quiet and isolated. Access is primarily through woods roads near Boy Scout Lake. The ridgeline consists of rock outcrops and pitch pine groves. A swamp bisects the ridge into two halves. The southern ridge is not prominent enough to afford significant views over the surrounding terrain.

The northernmost tip of Wickadoma’s upper ridge features a large granite outcrop named Black Rock. It provides views over the Macopin neighborhood of West Milford. Kitchell Lake is a central feature of this vista, seen at the foot of West Brook Mountain. Access is through Kiwanis Campground Road, and relies entirely on unmarked woods roads.


Southern Wyanokies

Northern Wyanokies

Bodies of Water in the Wyanokies

This article was built with information largely obtained from New York-New Jersey Trail Conference through its maps, books, and online resources; a trail guide by the American Ethical Union obtained from the Highlands Natural Pool; and information from New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection.




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