“A great loop from Stony Lake to Sunrise Mountain via the Blue Mountain Trail, and back via the AT and Stony Brook Trail.”
— Charles Behnken
Birding · Fall Colors · Views · Wildlife
The trailhead is in the Stony Lake Day Use Area of Stokes. An entrance fee is required from Memorial Day to Labor Day.
The run starts in the lower sections of Stokes State Forest below the Kittatiny Ridge and then climbs up the side of Sunrise Mountain to the top of the ridge which has views to the east and west from the Sunrise Mountain pavilion. On the ridge it follows the AT downhill for 2.5 miles before returning back to the valley and on to the start.
The run is in the forest for most of the time. Certain sections are rocky, probably old river beds, but no section is particularly difficult, nor is scrambling required.
Need to Know
Blue Mountain Trail
is a new trail and is not on older maps, thus the use of the older trail names, which themselves may not be on the newer maps. The trail is well-blazed and currently new light blue blazes exist along side the older red (Swenson) and brown/red (Cartright) blazes.
The trailhead is located at the Stokes State Forest Stony Lake Day Use Area (plenty of parking, no entrance fee Labor Day to Memorial Day) by the kiosk.
There are nice restrooms in the Kittle Field picnic area, a short drive from Stony Lake. When driving up Coursen Road from the park office turn left to Kittle Field before going to Stony Lake and park in the first lot. The restrooms are across the road in the picnic area.
The trail starts heading north on the new Blue Mountain Trail
/Old Swenson Trail (light blue / red blazes). On the trail, you'll cross over yellow Tinsley Trail
and pass a cabin.
Shortly thereafter, the Blue Mountain Trail
leaves the Swenson Trail and joins the Cartwright Trail (brown/red blazes) turning to the right and heading east. The Cartwright Trail heads uphill crossing Crigger Road. After a viewpoint looking west, the Blue Mountain Trail
leaves the Cartwright, which joins a blue/black connector trail continuing uphill.
Eventually, the trail ends at the AT (white blaze). Turn right, heading south, on the AT. You'll pass a parking area on the right; continue for a short while to the Sunrise Mountain pavilion with views to the east and west. This is a good place for lunch and for hawk watching in the fall.
From the pavilion, continue on the AT heading downhill. You'll again pass the yellow Tinsley Trail
. Keep a lookout for the brown Stony Brook Trail
coming in from the right; there will also be a sign for the AT shelter. Take the Stony Brook Trail
downhill past the shelter to Sunrise Mountain Road. If you lose the trail at the road it will probably be to your left (look for the back of the brown signs on the roadside). Continue on the Stony Brook Trail
back to the parking lot. You'll intersect with several other trails—continue on the brown blazed trail to finish out the run.
Flora & Fauna
Hawks and vultures can be seen from Sunrise Mountain pavilion. The trail is heavily forested.
History & Background
The pavilion at the summit of Sunrise Mountain was built in the late 1930s by the Civilian Conservation Corps.