Trail Guides
Ghost Lake

Shades of Death Road, Great Meadows, NJ
Phone: (908) 459-4366

OWNER:  NJ Department of Environmental Protection

DIRECTIONS:  Exit the office parking area and turn Left onto Farview Road and after 1.6 miles turn Left onto Great Meadows-Hope Road. Proceed 0.7 miles and turn Left onto Shades of Death Road. After 3.0 miles Ghost Lake will be on the Left. Continue for another 0.4 miles. Parking will be on the Left.   Map
ACCESS AND PARKING:  Open daily from dawn to dusk. There is limited parking, and the lot is not paved.

SITE DESCRIPTION:  Contrary to the spooky names of Ghost Lake and Shades of Death Road this stop offers plenty of life – wildlife. A visit to Jenny Jump State Forest and adjacent woodlands along Shades of Death Road is one of the best opportunities in New Jersey to see migrant and breeding Neotropical birds such as flycatchers, vireos, warblers, thrushes and tanagers. Twenty-plus warbler species are possible in mid- to late-May, and local and hard-to-find breeding specialties include Ruffed Grouse, Brown Creeper, Hermit Thrush and Worm-eating, Hooded and Golden-winged Warblers. In early spring, environmental organizations help migrating amphibians across Shades of Death Road to their breeding ground wetlands on the other side. The Ghost Lake Trail, which originates at Jenny Jump and terminates at Ghost Lake and the parking lot on Shades of Death Road, is worth the hike. Budding geologists and casual observers alike will be intrigued by the many glacial erratics along the trail. These large boulders left behind by a receding glacier about 21,000 years ago seem to be scattered about as though by a giant’s hand. The rich lake bottom soil found in the Ghost Lake area supplies the nutrients to support a large variety of wildflowers, including many species of orchids. The lake is home to largemouth bass, sunfish and catfish and a car-top boat launch allows access. For an exceptional wildlife experience, plan to visit this area right before sunset sometime between November and the time of first snow cover. Turn Right out of Ghost Lake parking lot and proceed about 1.0 mile down the road; park on the side of the road near the red barn. Private property borders both sides of the road so make sure not to trespass. The setting sun triggers the urge to settle in for the night for diurnal birds. Look to the south as approximately 1,000,000 European Starlings, Common Grackles, Red-winged Blackbirds and Cowbirds fly in to roost overnight amidst the Phragmites. The waterfall roar rush of sound of the flapping wings overhead is amazing. Usually Sharp-shinned, Cooper’s and Red-tailed Hawks hunt in the vicinity, looking to pick off injured, unwary or sick birds amid the flocks of black birds. As darkness falls, look and listen for Great Horned Owl to emerge from the woods searching for a meal.

Boat LaunchButterfliesFishingHiking TrailsParkingWildflowers