Spring Hikes from Mohican Outdoor Center

View from the Kittatiny Ridgeline on the Appalachian Trail
Hello from the Delaware Water Gap! It’s the first week of spring and warmer temperatures are slowly making their way up the mountain. Early this week I had an opportunity to take a stroll up to the Kittatiny ridgeline where I captured some awe-inspiring vistas of western NJ. The AT is accessible from two points at Mohican. The first entrance is found 0.3 miles south of the Visitor Center on Camp Road.
View of the Catfish Firetower from the Appalachian Trail
The second access point is found via Rattlesnake Swamp Trail. This orange-blazed trail resides at the north end of camp. By following camp road north a half mile to the clearing, the trail sits to the left of Trails End Lodge. Here you’ll see the signature stepping stones that mark the entrance of the trail. After 200 yards, the trail splits. I stayed to the right at the fork and climbed a half mile to the AT for quick gratification of the scenic view shown above. The AT is only about 100 feet of elevation gain from the Mohican Outdoor Center, providing for a hike of fairly low difficulty. With 45 degree weather and the clearest skies we’ve seen in weeks, I couldn’t have asked for a better day.

View from the firetower!
View from Mt. Tammany this summer, a quick drive from Mohican!
The snow on the trails is thawing quickly. Some sections are perfectly clear, while you’ll find up to 3" of snow on others, packed down from the last few weeks of hikers. I still brought my Hillsound Trail Crampons, which were more than helpful when I hit some icy patches along the hike to the ridge. The trails are still quiet during the week, allowing for tranquil solitude and a chance to hear the first song birds of the season. Once atop the ridge I made a left on the AT, and trekked almost a mile to the catfish fire tower. If you’re lucky enough to find a ranger, like I was, you can climb to the top for an even more dramatic 360-degree view of the valley. After I took a break and had lunch at the picnic table on the ridge, I continued along the AT toward Millbrook rd. On the left hand side, you’ll find the second portion of the rattlesnake swamp trail with a large wooden sign. Here, I trekked through the lush and striking rhododendron groves on flat snow covered trails for the rest of the hike. With little to no foliage on the larger trees, you can easily view the lake from here. About 1.5 miles along the trail you end up back at the intersection; make a right to reach camp road and to finish off this 6 mile loop. Now that the weather is starting to warm up and the snow is thawing, we are seeing prime trail conditions in the region. Daytime temperatures are predicted to reach high fifties in the next week.
The Swamp Trail in the summer with the rhododendron groves

Here's more information on the Rattlesnake swamp loop, or other trails in the area. Or, you can stop by the lodge and get trail advice from a friendly front desk attendant. The Mohican Outdoor Center offers lodging, camping, and recreational and education programming all year round. Many cabins are fully-equipped with kitchens, bathrooms, running, water, and heat. Our retail store is stocked with outdoor gear, equipment and souvenirs, and we offer free packs, poles, boots, stoves, and crampons to demo to all visitors, all the time.

If you’re new to the center, we offer social meet up activities and introductory as well as in depth courses from backpacking, to fly fishing, to yoga. You can always check out upcoming events and programs. For any general questions, conditions information, or trail advice, please feel free to contact us here at the Mohican Outdoor Center front desk. We are available by phone at (908) 362-5670 every day from 9am- 5pm or by email at amcmohican@outdoors.org. To make reservations at AMC Lodges and Huts, please call (603) 466-2727, available Monday through Saturday, 9am-5pm.

Happy Spring Hiking!

Katie M.
Mohican Outdoor Center Manager

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