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Pinwheel Vista Out-and-Back

  4.8 ( 14 ) Favorite


7.4 mile 11.9 kilometer out and back


Ascent: 981' 299 m
Descent: -981' -299 m
High: 1,224' 373 m
Low: 391' 119 m


Avg Grade: 5% (3°)
Max Grade: 52% (27°)


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Trail shared by Lou Poulas

Traverse a boardwalk, a suspension bridge, and a cow pasture to climb to the best view in NJ.

Lou Poulas

Features Birding · Fall Colors · Views · Wildflowers · Wildlife

See the published Parking Restrictions for more information.


This hike has it all. Start off Route 517 and follow the Appalachian Trail Boardwalk through flowery marshes and cross a river via a one-of-a-kind suspension bridge. Continue toward Wawayanda Mountain through forests and fields of wildflowers before traversing a working farm (stay clear of cows!). Finally, put some work in with an ascent to Pinwheel Vista via the Stairway to Heaven Overlook Spur. This is an out and back, so enjoy the scenery twice as you head back to route 517.

Need to Know

Parking is extremely limited at the Appalachian Trail Boardwalk!


This is really a hike in two parts. The first part is more flat as one heads through some marshland across the Appalachian Trail Boardwalk. This can be stunning at the right time of year with wildflowers and tall grasses along the path.

After the boardwalk, cross some woodlands, a live railroad track, and a cow pasture before reaching Route 94. After crossing this state route, head toward Wawayanda Mountain and climb about 800 ft in less than 30 minutes. Near the top, take the Stairway to Heaven Overlook Spur to reach a phenomenal vista point.

This is an out and back, so when you've had your fill of the view, fuel up and head back down.

Flora & Fauna

Marshland with tall grass, wildflowers, and Jersey hardwood forests characterize this area. There is also the occasional deer.

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Jul 14, 2019
Aaron Holland-Plum
Jun 23, 2019
Venu Padmanabhan
Jun 1, 2019
Sarah Lyons
Very well kept trail - mountain portion was steep going but lovely view. Way down was pretty easy. 7.4mi — 4h 00m
Apr 27, 2019
Brandon A
Apr 9, 2019
Dave D
Jan 1, 2019
Mohammad Fauzan
Nov 22, 2018
Beethi Karmakar
Oct 12, 2018
Corey Rabinowitz

Trail Ratings

  4.8 from 14 votes


  4.8 from 14 votes
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in New Jersey


196 Views Last Month
7,766 Since Mar 30, 2017



A few steps onto the Appalachian Trail Boardwalk and this view already makes it a perfect morning.
Mar 30, 2017 near Vernon…, NJ
On the Appalachian Trail Boardwalk, enjoy views of Wawayanda Mountain in the distance.
Mar 30, 2017 near Vernon…, NJ
The boardwalk section of the Appalachian Trail.
Nov 28, 2016 near Vernon…, NJ
A view from the top of the Stairway to Heaven Section of the Appalachian Trail.
Nov 28, 2016 near Highlan…, NJ
Crossing the cow pasture section of the hike.
Nov 28, 2016 near Vernon…, NJ
A staircase over a cattle fence. There are several of these along this section of the trail.
Nov 28, 2016 near Vernon…, NJ


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