Summary: The trail starts at the AT overnight Parking lot. Take the AT South past the first intersection with the Iris trail. Go about .5 miles and make a right onto the Blue Dot trail. Take blue dot to ledges for some of the greatest views around. Retrace your steps back to the AT. Continue South on the AT for another .5 miles and you come to more views of lake Rutherford. At around 3 miles you come to the second intersection of the Iris. Continue on the AT until you come to the third and final intersection with the Iris. Take a right onto the Iris heading down hill. You will go through a nice valley and then back onto the ridge for a short while. Then you cross over the AT. Make sure you stay on the Iris trail. Will descend into another valley. Then you will eventually come to Lake Rutherford. One of the most beautiful lakes in NJ. Very secluded. AT this point you will hike the last 2 miles through some neat rocks. And then finally back to the start.
Trailhead: From town of Sussex, take route 23 North about 8 miles. Parking lot is next to park office on left hand side. Sign says AT overnight parking. (Lat:41.30479 Lon:-74.67003)
Trail Guides for The Trail Less Travelled NJ:
Kittatinny trails map
by Ny-NJ trail conference ()
Best Seasons: Year-Round
User Groups: Hikers,
Ranger Contact: High Point State Park 973-875-4800
Localhikes Reporter: This hike was submitted by Shawn Viggiano, who has posted 44 other hikes on this site
Trail Reviews Page 1 of 2 Submit your own review
Reviewed by Puma-Moose on 6/15/2012
Did this hike solo today. I did it in about 4.5 hours with many stops for pictures and lunch. It is a very nice hike. The AT potion is pretty rocky. The Iris Trail portion is much nicer for the feet. I would say that hiking boots or trail shoes are a must on this one. Also, I used the directions from http://www.njhiking.com/nj-hikes-high-point-at-iris.php. They were pretty spot on. There are a few cross sections to navigate. There are some nice scenic views. You really don't hike to the lake but there are unmarked very short trails that you can take to get you there. I seen 11 hikers on this route today, some snakes, a few small orange lizards, frogs, mammals and birds. No bears. Also, there were many muddy sections in the low lying areas.
Reviewed by JR on 7/10/2008
We got a little lost because the directions don't note this hike is a figure 8 so when we met up with the AT again (after taking a right on the Iris) we thought we were supposed to have taken the Iris at the 3rd meeting point (not intersection). Either way it was VERY beautiful and that lake is amazing!
Reviewed by Mike on 3/18/2008
Great moderate hike. Relative easy walking for all but the section of the AT between High Point and Rutherford Shelter. Either way though Its a great loop in a beautiful section of the trail. In March, keep in mind that winter snow and rains bring puddles and such so wear waterproof boots or gortex sneakers (which is what I wear). Great hike ...
Reviewed by JeremyA on 10/25/2007
Completed a trail run through part of this loop on Sunday (AT, past first Iris intersection, then onto Iris at the second intersection back to the parking area). Lots of beautiful foliage and the views were great. Not the best running conditions (half of the AT was pretty much jumping from rock to rock and hoping I didn't take a fall!) About 6.5 miles total in an hour...and I was exhausted! Saw 2 bears, deer, and tons of geese on the lake (not to mention at least 10 other hikers). Check out this loop and Lake Rutherford for great foliage now!
Reviewed by Pattie on 9/4/2007
This was a great hike and a wonderful way to spend a summer day!! What vantage points this hike would provide for fall foliage viewing (as well as other sections of high point park). I also suggest packing an extra PB&J and wished I'd listened to Josh K! Please also note that at the third intersection with the Iris trail from the AT there is a concrete marker indicating that that is the begining of the trail as well as a plastic trail marker advising what activities are allowed on the trail. For trail maps you can call High Point State Park at: 973-875-4800.
Reviewed by Boni Gopalan on 6/4/2007
Its a great loop hike. The views are spectacular. Iris trail is an easy trail. There are patches where insects may attack you. Spotted two deers and plenty of birds. Might have seen more had I not been watching for the rocky AT trail. Yes, the legeneric rocks of AT in NJ is evident in this section of AT. Over all a neat 4hr hike!
Reviewed by Josh K on 3/23/2007
Great workout, spectacular views, plenty of wildlife. Even in the winterish weather, I was able to spot two pairs of deer, plenty of small birds, a family of hawks, and a few smaller mammals. My only regret is not packing an extra PB&J. Bring plenty of food bc you will earn it!
Reviewed by BrianS on 4/10/2006
Excellent hike. Did this as an quickie overnite backpack. Outstanding views along the AT. Returned via the Iris Trail for an easy walk back to the car.
Notice: Traveling in the backcountry can be hazardous. You are responsible for informing yourself about these hazards and taking necessary precautions. Information on this web site comes from volunteer reporters and may contain errors or omissions. A current guidebook and proper equipment are essential for safe enjoyment of the hikes posted on this site.
Keys: New Jersey Hiking, New Jersey Trails, New Jersey Hikes, Sussex County Hiking, Sussex County Trails, Sussex County Hikes