Sunday, January 28, 2024

Double Trouble State Park

Pine Barrens Region,
Ocean Co.,
New Jersey

Hiking Trails:
Mill Pond Trail: Red blaze
Nature Trail: Green blaze

Total Time: 1:00 minutes
Estimated Distance: 2.7 miles

Pros: Historical area, pretty ponds and streams
Cons: Flat area
Hike Type: Loop
Level of Difficulty: Very easy

Google Maps of Parking:

I was visiting the Jersey shore area for the weekend with my family, and took the opportunity to get out at a nearby hike. While the Jersey shore and south Jersey particularly are entirely flat, there are several natural areas in the pine barrens area with extensive trails. Double Trouble State Park is one of those areas, and was nearby where I was staying, so I went here for a hike. 

The weather was very unstable, and it rained over an inch overnight, and the forecast called for more rain. I saw a break in the rain on the radar, so went in between the lull. I figured this was a good hike in such conditions as there are bail out options. In the end the rain came back prior to me finishing the hike, with a very steady rain combined with winds, making it very uncomfortable. However, the poor conditions were only for the last 15 minutes of the hike.

I parked at the main parking area by Double Trouble village. This area preserves many of the original historical structures that were used when this area was a village centered around cranberry production. It essentially is a ghost town today, with nobody living here anymore but many of the originals structures still remaining. 

After viewing Double Trouble village, I took the Mill Pond Trail to the Mill Pond Reservoir at the Dam. This is a scenic lake, and the water was flowing over the dam very strongly because of the all the rains. In then took the return path on the Mill Pond Trail, closely parallel to the other side of the trail, and took this back to Double Trouble Village. I then took the Nature Trail, where I crossed over Cedar Creek, and passed alongside the Platt Reservoir and then went into the Cedar Forest. In then continued passed all the cranberry bogs and then returned back to my car.

Map of the Route

Information Kiosk at the Beginning of the Hike

Mill Pond Trail

Mill Pond Reservoir

Mill Pond Reservoir Dam Spillway

Cedar Creek

Atlantic White Cedar Forest

Crossing Cedar Creek

Pond on the Nature Trail

Nature Trail through the Cedar Forest

Cranberry Bog

Cranberry Historical Sorting & Packing House

Plaque Explaining Each Historical Building in Double Trouble Village

Double Trouble Village

Sunday, January 21, 2024

Brooks Lake and Popolopen Landing at Fort Montgomery

Bear Mountain State Park
Orange Co.,
New York

Hiking Trails:
Brooks Lake Trail: Red blaze
1777 / 1779 Trail: White blaze
Timp-Torne Trail: Blue blaze
Twin Forts Trail: Blue blaze

Total Time: 1:30 minutes
Estimated Distance: 2.6 Mile

Pros: Scenic lake, scenic bridges
Cons: Views of houses
Hike Type: Reverse lollipop loop
Level of Difficulty: Easy (Difficult in snow)

Google Maps of Parking:

The weather was bitter cold with a fresh layer of snow on the ground and strong winds. I debated on hiking based on the poor weather conditions, but the strong sun enticed me and I bundled up and did a hike I could bail out of easily in case it was too cold. In the end it was fine and all my layers kept me warm, so I did the longer route.

I parked at Brooks Lake park in Fort Montgomery, and took the Brooks Lake Loop Trail to the north around the lake. There were some signs about storm damage on the trail, but it looks like all was cleaned up and the trail was fully passable. At the inlet of Brooks Lake I took the combined 1777 / 1779 and Timp-Torne Trails underneath Route 9W at the Popolopen Bridge, and then to Fort Montgomery Historic site at the visitor center (which was closed for the season.)

I then took the Twin Forts Trail down to the foot suspension bridge crossing Popolopen for some amazing views of the Hudson River and the Bear Mountain Bridge, and then turned around and went back up the Twin Forts Trail and back to the combined 1777 / 1779 and Timp-Torne Trails. I crossed over Mine Road and took the eastern part of the Brooks Lake Trail back to my car.

Map of the Route

Frozen Brooks Lake

Sign about Storm Damage

Bear Mountain from Brooks Lake

View from the West Side of Brooks Lake

Bridge at the Inlet of Brooks Lake

Trail Intersection

Route 9W Popolopen Bridge

View of Bear Mountain Bridge

1777 & 1779 Trails Historical Plaque

Fort Montgomery Visitor Center

Anthony's Nose and Bear Mountain Bridge

Suspension Bridge

Ducks and Swans at Frozen Popolopen

Popolopen Bridge

Pedestrian Suspension Bridge

Bear Mountain Bridge

Popolopen Bridge

Back at Brooks Lake