Trail Guides
Blue Mountain Lake and Crater Lake

Blue Mountain Lake Road, Walpack Township, NJ
Phone: (570) 426-2452, Bushkill, PA

OWNER:  U.S. Department of the Interior

DIRECTIONS:  To access Blue Mountain Lake (1A) take exit 12 off of I-80. At the exit ramp follow signs for CR 521 North. After 5.2 miles turn Left onto Route 94 South. After 0.4 miles turn Right onto Main Street which becomes Blair Place and then CR 602/Millbrook Road. After 7.5 miles, make Right turn onto Old Mine Road (north), passing Millbrook Village. After 1.5 miles turn Right at the Blue Mountain Lake/Crater Lake sign onto Blue Mountain Lake Road. After 1.5 miles turn Left into Blue Mountain Lake trailhead parking area.   Map
1a) To Crater Lake
Turn Left when leaving the Blue Mountain Lake trailhead parking area. After 1.6 miles turn Left onto Skyline Drive, which is an unmarked gravel road. Immediately after turning, there is a parking area on the Left. Continue 2.1 miles to enter the Crater Lake parking area. Along the way there are several scenic overlooks on the right side of the road, and each has its own parking area.

ACCESS AND PARKING:  Open daily from dawn to dusk. Blue Mountain Lakes IS accessible by car, Crater Lake is NOT, you have to walk in about a mile when you get to the fork at the road at the YMCA camp entrance. Currently with that road closed, there is no parking on the way to Crater Lake. Portable toilets can be found at Blue Mountain Lake parking area. Roads are not maintained in winter, so please call ahead for details. For year-round information, contact the park headquarters in Bushkill, PA at 570-426-2452. This site is not handicapped accessible and roads may be rough and unpaved.

A CLOSER LOOK:  Trails at Blue Mountain Lake are well worth exploring. The trailhead is at the far right corner of the parking area, and although trails are not marked, they are well-defined and easy to follow. A short hike to and around the first lake is excellent for nesting birds. Make sure to take advantage of the first-rate cross-country skiing that is available here in the winter. Hiking trails at Crater Lake are blazed in orange and well defined.

PennywortRick Radis
SITE DESCRIPTION:  Both sites offer varied habitats with a great diversity of nesting and migrant birds along this wooded ridge corridor. Road edges make excellent butterfly habitat, and the clear, clean waters of Blue Mountain and Crater Lakes make them suitable for a variety of dragonflies, frogs, turtles, and snakes. Enjoy the trout-stocked waters and the walking trails of Blue Mountain Lake.

DON'T MISS:  Sparkling waters of the lakes and multiple scenic overlooks afford stunning views to the east and south. In addition, less than 0.5 miles from Crater Lake on the west side of the road, is a natural bog. Look for unique bog plants such as sundews, pitcher plants, pipeworts, meadow beauty and peat moss.

Winter:  The extensive trail network at Blue Mountain Lake is ideal for cross-country skiing and snowshoeing. Look for bobcat, coyote, raccoon, porcupine, and Eastern cottontail rabbit tracks in fresh snowfall. Although this is a quiet season for birding, raptors and sparrows are likely to be present. Winter finches such as Pine Siskin, Purple Finch, and even Common Redpoll are possible during irruption years.
Spring:  Watch for early-season butterflies, such as Mourning Cloak, Brown Elfin, and Sleepy Duskywing. Keep in mind that frogs and salamanders begin emerging from winter hibernation in early Spring; listen for spring peepers and their chorus of short, stuttering trills. Many species of Neotropical migrant birds pass through this heavily-wooded area, especially along the ridges. Look for Scarlet Tanager, Red-eyed Vireo, Baltimore Oriole, Black-and-white Warbler and Eastern Wood Pewee.
Summer:  Many of the Neotropical migrants nest and raise their young in this area. Ovenbird, Eastern Towhee, Blue-gray Gnatcatcher, Tree Swallow and Broad-winged Hawk are all possibilities. Look for green frog, bullfrog and gray treefrog, along with American toad. Among the salamanders, red-spotted newt is a sure bet in the lakes.
Fall:  Fall migration begins in late August and early September. Many species migrate along ridgelines – raptors, songbirds and other species may be seen in these wooded areas. Red-tailed and Broad-winged Hawks are on the move, so look to the sky often. Don’t forget to search for migrating warblers as well. American Redstart, Common Yellowthroat and Yellow, Blue-winged, Hooded, Magnolia and Northern Parula Warblers could be passing through the area.

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