Hiking Project Logo

Mahlon Dickerson Highlights

Intermediate
  3.0 ( 1 ) Favorite

Trail

10.7 mile 17.3 kilometer loop
Intermediate

Elevation

Ascent: 894' 273 m
Descent: -887' -271 m
High: 1,370' 417 m
Low: 987' 301 m

Grade

Avg Grade: 3% (2°)
Max Grade: 15% (9°)

Dogs

Leashed
Driving directions Take a virtual tour
Zoom in to see details
Map Key

Trail shared by Lou Poulas

An enjoyable woodland route through the highest point in Morris County in an underrated trail system.

Lou Poulas

Features Birding · Fall Colors · Lake · River/Creek · Views · Wildlife

Overview

This is a lengthy route without any strenuous sections where the trail passes lovely ponds, viewpoints such as Headley Overlook, an old mining rail bed, and a rarity for northern New Jersey - a pine swamp. Hikers along this relatively easy route also traverse multiple ups and downs, including a few safe ledges and large interesting boulders that were deposited by retreating and advancing glaciers of the ice ages.

Need to Know

Autumn and winter are particularly suited for this park, thought it can certain be enjoyed year round and there are many trails to either shorten or lengthen the route as needed. The park is also a hotbed for mountain bikers - share the trail and be aware.

Description

The hike starts off the back end of the Saffin Pond parking lot on the Highlands Trail Spur at Saffin Pond (Teal with Black Dot) trail. This is not the most obvious trailhead to find so be sure to take the path to the eastern side of the pond and not the more obvious path on the western side. This short spur takes the most scenic route past the pond.

Soon the spur ends and joins up with the Highlands Trail (Teal). Here, bear right (west), across the bridge, and make a left heading south onto the Yellow Trail. This section is very flat as it is an old rail bed that was part of the Ogden Oron Ore Mine operation. Soon this rail trail ends and Yellow Trail passes through a private backyard, alongside Weldon Brook Lake and a pump station.

Continue on this trail across a few streams, a interesting half fallen tree from a beaver (and it's lodge in the far distance), and across low lying wetlands. At around the 5-mile mark, turn right onto the Highlands Trail (Teal) and follow the uphill route to Headley Overlook. This is the most challenging section of the trail but doable for virtually all hikers.

After the overlook, continue on the Highlands Trail (Teal) and across Weldon Road to the north side of the park. Soon the trail crosses into picnic area with a baseball field and joins with White Trail (North) . At the overall 6.35 mile mark, bear right onto Purple Trail. This section is particularly pleasant with a ledge view of a valley and follows along side a small stream before joining back up with White Trail (North) and Highlands Trail (Teal).

At mile 7.9, continue on White Trail (North) by bearing to the left, leaving the Highlands Trail (Teal) that heads north across Sparta Mountain Road. This section follows past a very rare pine swamp and climbs to the highest elevation in Morris County.

At 9 miles, take the Blue with Red Dot Trail spur downhill and join with Blue Trail (North) heading west. Shortly thereafter, make a final left (south) on the Ogden Mine Railroad Trail (Green) which heads back to the Saffin Pond parking lot after crossing Weldon Road again.

Flora & Fauna

Typical northern NJ hardwood forest with rhododendron, ponds, and streams. Blue heron, turkey, deer, and an occasional bear have been spotted within the park.

History & Background

Named after the 7th governor of New Jersey, Mahlon Dickerson Reservation trails pass through land that was once part of the Mt. Hope Mining community.

Hiked this trail?

Is something wrong? Let us know. Have photos to share? Help fellow hikers know what's here.

Contacts

Rate This Featured Hike

Rate Quality


   Clear Rating

Rate Difficulty

Share This Hike

Check In

Check-Ins

none

Trail Ratings

  3.0 from 1 vote

#3784

Overall
  3.0 from 1 vote
5 Star
0%
4 Star
0%
3 Star
100%
2 Star
0%
1 Star
0%
Featured Hike Rankings

#39

in New Jersey

#3,784

Overall
18 Views Last Month
654 Since May 21, 2017
Intermediate

0%
0%
100%
0%
0%
0%

0 Comments

Hiking Project is part of the REI Co-op family,
where a life outdoors is a life well lived.

Shop REI Hiking