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Pinwheel Vista Out-and-Back



7.4 mile 11.9 kilometer out and back
91% Runnable


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 run 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!

Runner Notes

The boardwalk is extremely popular with families. Expect dogs, kids, and kid dogs. You'll have to slow down at times.


This is really a run 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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Aug 15, 2018
Malissa Yabut

Trail Ratings

  4.7 from 15 votes


  4.7 from 15 votes
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in New Jersey


62 Views Last Month
8,265 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
A staircase over a cattle fence. There are several of these along this section of the trail.
Nov 28, 2016 near Vernon…, NJ
Pinwheel Vista is surely worth the climb up Stairway to Heaven.
Mar 30, 2017 near Highlan…, NJ


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