|River Road, Lebanon Township, NJ |
Phone: (973) 383-0918
NJ Department of Environmental Protection
To access the southern section, turn Left onto CR 513 North/Main Street and take first Right turn onto Church Street and then first Left onto CR 513 North/Fairview Avenue. Proceed 0.5 miles and turn Right onto Silverthorne Road. Very shortly, turn Right at the stop sign onto Cokesbury Road. After 1.0 miles, after crossing a bridge, turn Left onto Stonemill Road; note there is no street sign at the time of this printing. Stonemill Road turns into Raritan River Road and then River Road. The Gorge runs the length of River Road and after 2.5 miles ends at Hoffman Crossing Road. There is a small parking lot on the Left at the beginning of River Road.
To access the northern section continue on CR 513 North for 3.7 miles turning Right onto Hoffman Crossings Road. Take the first Right onto River Road and look for a place to park roadside. Map
Open daily from 5 a.m. to 9 p.m. Parking is limited to the north or south end of the gorge. It is best to park and walk the gorge; a large stretch of the gorge is closed to vehicular traffic. No alcoholic beverages. Black bears are sometimes present. Hunting is allowed in season. Check hunting season dates at www.njfishandwildlife.org and wear bright clothing or hunter orange garments. At certain times, rapids can be very treacherous (Class III-IV); fisherman and boaters should take notice. To view a map of the WMA visit www.njfishandwildlife.org/pdf/wmamaps/ken_lockwood_gorge.pdf.
|Ken Lockwood Gorge||Dwight Hiscano
||New Jersey Monthly magazine has called Ken Lockwood Gorge one of the “Ten Most Beautiful Places in New Jersey.” With its steep slopes, huge boulders, impressive rapids and northern hemlocks, Ken Lockwood has long been a famous and much-loved site to birders, naturalists, kayakers, photographers, hikers, fishermen and outdoor enthusiasts. This is the southernmost hemlock glen in New Jersey and the cool microclimate—created by the hemlocks, local geology and rushing water and mist—is home to a number of species of birds, other animals and plants that are more typical of far northern New Jersey and New England.
A visit to Ken Lockwood in May is a must. Spring scents, magnificent rock formations, a cascading river and the wild song of Louisiana Waterthrush all combine to seduce the senses.
Ice buildup on the rocks and river create a truly picturesque scene. Be careful not to slip while searching for winter’s animal signs. Wood shavings might signal the work of local Pileated Woodpeckers while gnawed pine cones and acorns might be the work of red squirrels.
Red-winged Blackbird, American Robin, Tree Swallow and Eastern Phoebe return in March, and April sees the arrival of Ruby-crowned and Golden-crowned Kinglets, Blue-headed Vireo and Pine Warbler. Toward the end of the month, Louisiana Waterthrush and Spotted Sandpiper return to nest along the riverbanks. Migrant and breeding Neotropical passerines, including Black-throated Green and Blackburnian Warblers, arrive in early May.
‘Tis the season to appreciate the local nesting birds, including Hooded Warbler, Worm-eating Warbler, Ovenbird, Eastern Wood-Pewee, Louisiana Waterthrush (which departs in mid-July), Yellow Warbler and Scarlet Tanager. Midsummer is also great for botany; fifteen species of fern have been seen in the glen, including the uncommon purple-stemmed cliffbrake. Red-backed and two-lined salamanders are common in the river, and colorful red eft, the terrestrial form of the red-spotted newt, can often be found crawling on the slopes in July.
This is one of the best places in New Jersey to view fall foliage in October through early November. Asters, goldenrods, snakeroots and bonesets--the fall-blooming composites--are at their peak here in September, and bright evergreen plants such as Christmas fern and marginal woodfern add a sharp contrast to the fall colors. Migrant sparrows, warblers, flycatchers and vireos are common in September and October. Pine Siskin favor the glen in October.