|Dennis Road, Holland Township, NJ |
Phone: (908) 782-1158
Open daily dawn to dusk. Site is not handicapped accessible. Hunting is allowed by special permit; exercise caution and wear hunter orange during hunting seasons. Contact the county parks department or visit www.co.hunterdon.nj.us/hunting/instruct.htm for hunting seasons and regulations.
Turn Left out of parking area onto Mountainview Road and after 0.1 mile bear Left onto Mine Road. Continue 1.7 miles turning Right to remain on Mine Road. After 0.1 mile turn Right onto Route 173 West. After 4.4 miles make a slight Left onto CR 639/Warren Glen Road. After 3.1 miles turn Left onto CR 519/Milford Warren Glen Road (CR 639 ends at this point and becomes CR 627). After 0.4 miles make a sharp Left onto Dennis Road. The parking area is 0.4 miles up the road on the Left. Map
This is a trailhead for the new Highlands Trail, which is marked with diamond-shaped trail tags and teal-colored blazes. The trail, when the southern stretches are soon completed, will link the Highlands from the Delaware River to the Appalachian Trail at the New York border.
|Cooper's Hawk||Scott Elowitz
||Framed by the billion-year-old ridge of Highlands’ gneiss, the 425-acre Musconetcong Gorge Preserve is a wild ravine surrounding rapids of the Musconetcong River as it nears its confluence with the Delaware River, which is located several miles to the south at Mt. Joy. Situated in the southernmost part of the New Jersey Highlands, the gorge provides several marked and maintained hiking trails—including a section of the new diamond-blazed Highlands Trail—a waterfall trail, scenic overlooks of the Musconetcong Valley to the west and a good variety of birds, other wildlife and wildflowers.
A short walk on the Waterfall Trail provides an excellent view of one of the area’s few waterfalls. The trail passes through mature forest featuring large tulip poplars and oaks that are habitat for songbirds, salamanders and other amphibians and reptiles.
Six species of woodpeckers can be found foraging for insects among the dead trees, including the spectacular Pileated Woodpecker and the shy Yellow-bellied Sapsucker. Tracks of Ruffed Grouse and Wild Turkey can be seen when there is snow cover. Bald Eagles can sometimes be seen along the Musconetcong in winter, but are best seen on the nearby Delaware River.
Wildflowers begin to appear in late March through May, including hepatica, bloodroot, Dutchman’s breeches, columbine, many violet species, spring beauty, trout lily, rue anemone, wild geranium and others. Migrant and resident Neotropical warblers, vireos, tanagers, orioles, flycatchers and thrushes arrive in late April.
Breeding birds such as Scarlet Tanager, Wood Thrush, Baltimore Oriole, Red-eyed Vireo, Ovenbird, Hooded Warbler and Wood Pewee make their summer homes here. They sing regularly through the end of July and into August in the early morning. Summer is a good time to explore the warming river, seepage areas and rocky slopes for salamanders. Whip-poor-will can sometimes be heard calling at dusk and at night from late May through July/early August.
A wide variety of flowering composites—goldenrods, asters, snakeroots and bonesets—occur here through October. Migrant Broad-winged Hawk, Sharp-shinned and Cooper’s Hawks, Osprey, Northern Harrier, Red-tailed Hawk and the occasional Bald Eagle can be seen from open areas on the ridge during the fall raptor migration.