Very recently, I explored High Point State Park for the first time and I was floored by how awesome this place is. I managed to squeeze in a number of adventures in a short period of time while there that I’d like to share with you.
If you’re thinking of visiting this place, let me just say you absolutely should and furthermore, these 5 things will make your first visit to High Point State Park feel “complete” as though you saw everything this place has to offer!
- 1 What is High Point State Park?
- 2 How I discovered High Point State Park:
- 3 The 5 things I recommend exploring at High Point State Park for your first visit:
- 4 1) Do the scenic drive around High Point State Park first:
- 5 2) Hike the white trail in the park (it’s the Appalachian Trail):
- 6 3) Drive up to (or hike to) the famous Monument:
- 7 4) Explore the Kuser Natural Area trail:
- 8 5) Explore Lake Macia:
- 9 Other fun things to explore at High Point State Park:
What is High Point State Park?
High Point State Park is a small but popular park located in New Jersey and is part of the very famous Delaware Water Gap National Recreational area.
What makes it most popular is the famous monument in this region you can drive up to (one of the things I recommend doing) among several other cool adventures you can explore by yourself, or with friends and obviously family.
How I discovered High Point State Park:
Despite visiting the Delaware Water Gap area a couple of times, I had never known about this park. What made me find out about it was doing a quick search for parks near the area where I visit a Chiropractor once a week (in Somerville, NJ).
New Jersey isn’t exactly a popular destination for parks, so my search had to expand more than hour out of from where my Doctor’s office was and several places came up:
Since I only had a half day and couldn’t stray far from the city, these 3 choices were my best bet at having a great day hike near NYC. And the only place on that list I had not visited yet was High Point State Park.
And so just yesterday, after finishing my appointment, having great weather and an urge to travel, I decided to make the trip to this place and it didn’t take long after arriving that I was glad I took the time to get there.
The 5 things I recommend exploring at High Point State Park for your first visit:
- Start with the scenic drive around the park.
- Hike the white trail in the park.
- Drive up to the famous Monument (or hike to it).
- Try the Kuser natural area trail.
- Explore Lake Marcia in the park.
This park has several family friendly places, as well as fun activities for hikers and explorers alike, and these 5 activities will encapsulate fun for everyone.
So if you’re coming to this park for the first time, get your list ready, because this will make your visit there very satisfying!
1) Do the scenic drive around High Point State Park first:
As soon as you enter the park, a sign for the scenic drive is available and this scenic drive will also take you up to the famous Monument in this area.
The drive itself is only about 10-15 minutes around the park if you don’t stop, but it’s worth taking because it takes you through several stops (besides the Monument spot) and high points in the area giving you nice overlooks.
2) Hike the white trail in the park (it’s the Appalachian Trail):
This trail cuts through the park and you can also see signs for trails that lead up to the Monument (I believe it’s the blue trail). But the white trail is the largest one in the park and is actually the very famous trail that takes you through the Appalachian Mountains.
Do note: This is not a loop trail and it won’t take you around the park. Unless you are hiking through the literal Appalachian Mountain trail, do not keep following it out of the park!
Be ready to switch trails, otherwise you will risk getting lost in the woods.
But in my case, I found parts of this trail to be very exciting to hike through and I really enjoyed it, although it was pretty brief. You’ll also cross cool Observation Decks like the one you see above.
3) Drive up to (or hike to) the famous Monument:
This is one of the parks most popular features (and what you’ll see if you Google this park) and depending on what kind of adventure you’re seeking, you can get to this Monument by car or by foot.
I recommend if you’re tight on time to just drive up to it and enjoy the views there for first time visits.
And if you like hiking and have time, there are at least 2 trails that lead you here.
One of them is actually the Appalachian Trail and the other is some local trail that runs through the park (download a map or check ahead of time to be sure).
4) Explore the Kuser Natural Area trail:
Before exiting out of the park, I saw another road leading away from the loop drive and decided to take it.
It was short, but it took me to a parking area and a trail head for this hike that is only 1.5 miles long (it’s also a loop) and so I decided to try it.
It’s a pretty cool, beginner friendly hike through a swampy but scenic area.
There are some really nice spots like a bridge that goes over the swamp.
Overall this hike is easy for most people to do. The only thing is, it’s limited to the trail as you can’t go inside the swampy area (it’s protected and illegal).
There is a blue trail available within this loop that I said earlier might lead to the Monument, but be sure to check before you embark on it (it’s easy to get lost in these situations).
5) Explore Lake Macia:
This is the main lake in the park you can find plenty of activities on, including a beach to swim at, nice scenic overlooks and even scenic hills to take great shots from.
From this part of the park, you can also see the Monument in the distance, making for some nice panoramic shots.
I came to this park in late fall and it was almost completely empty, so being in this spot, albeit for a short time and enjoying the silence was a really nice experience for me.
And just as well, the meadows here are also really nice if you just want to relax.
Other fun things to explore at High Point State Park:
Within these 5 locations in the park, you’ll also find:
- Camping sites.
- Picnic tables.
- Houses with amenities (food).
- Playground for kids.
- And more.
There is also another beautiful lake about 10 minutes outside of the park but technically within it’s regions called Sawmill Lake where you can launch boats (there is also a very neat waterfall here too).
Overall, High Point State Park has to be one of the neatest parks I’ve ever seen and the only ones which come close to memory are Sand Bar State Park or Whytccliff Park in Vancouver. This place is well taken care of and a very cool place to visit, even if it’s just for a day.
The 5 activities I managed to do there in a short time made my trip there very satisfying and I will be sure to return to redo them again in the future.