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New Jersey

New Jersey State Parks

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USA Parks
New Jersey
Gateway Region
Rough Mountain State Forest
Eastern Goldfinch ©
Eastern Goldfinch
Eastern Goldfinch ©
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Rough Mountain State Forest, nestled in the heart of New Jersey, is a captivating natural haven filled with rugged beauty and untamed wilderness. Towering trees, including oak, maple, and hemlock, dominate the landscape, creating a dense forest canopy that provides shelter to a plethora of wildlife. The forest's hilly terrain offers stunning views of the surrounding valleys and distant peaks, immersing visitors in a sense of awe and tranquility. Trails meander through this verdant paradise, inviting hikers, nature enthusiasts, and adventure seekers to explore its hidden gems, rushing streams, and serene ponds. With its rich biodiversity, awe-inspiring scenery, and a deep sense of solitude, Rough Mountain State Forest stands as a testament to New Jersey's remarkable natural heritage.
History of the Area
Rough Mountain State Forest is a relatively new addition to New Jersey's state forest system. It was officially established in 1986 as part of the State Forest and Park Service. However, the area has a rich history that predates its designation as a state forest.

First and foremost, the area where Rough Mountain State Forest is located has historical significance for Native American tribes, particularly the Lenape people who inhabited this region. The Lenape used these lands for hunting, farming, and other traditional activities.

During the colonial era, European settlers began to move into the area surrounding Rough Mountain. The forests provided valuable resources such as timber, which were used for building, fuel, and trade. The Lenape eventually lost their ancestral lands as the European population grew.

Throughout the 18th and 19th centuries, the region experienced significant industrialization, and the forests saw extensive logging and mining activities. In fact, there is evidence of iron ore mining in the region, with abandoned mine shafts and remnants of mining operations still visible.

In the 20th century, as public awareness grew regarding the need to protect natural areas and wildlife habitats, efforts were made to preserve areas such as Rough Mountain. In 1986, the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection designated Rough Mountain as a state forest, primarily to foster natural resource management and create recreational opportunities for visitors.

Rough Mountain State Forest covers approximately 4,000 acres in Sussex County, New Jersey. The forest is primarily composed of mixed hardwoods and conifers, and it offers several recreational activities such as hiking, mountain biking, fishing, and hunting (in designated areas).
Nearby Accommodations
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Cedar Lakes Cottages - Port Jervis, NY
Cottages and Cabins
Cedar Lakes is a gorgeous 500-acre estate surrounding twin cedar lakes. We have a selection of deluxe cottages for nightly or weekly rentals. Enjoy hiking, boating, fishing, tennis, and swimming on the property. Cottages have full kitchens, fireplaces, WIFI, and great amenities--all for the price of a hotel.
18.3 miles from park*
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Area Campgrounds
Beaver Hill Campground
120 Big Spring Road
Hardyston, NJ
Mahlon Dickerson Reservation
995 Weldon Road
Lake Hopatcong, NJ
Tall Timbers POA Inc.
100 Tall Timbers Road
Sussex, NJ
Area Fishing Related Businesses
Mastodon Sporting Goods
195 Highland Lakes Rd
Highland Lakes, NJ
(973) 764-0200
Davis Sport Shop
120 Route 17
Sloatsburg, NY
(845) 753-2198
Area Cabins and Lodges
Hidden Valley Resort
44 Breakneck Rd
Vernon, NJ
(973) 764-4200
Resort Club Inc
3 Telemark Dr
Vernon, NJ
(973) 209-4362
Minerals Resort & Spa
2 Chamonix Dr
Vernon, NJ
(973) 827-2222
Resort Club at the Great Gorge
State Rt 94
Vernon, NJ
(973) 827-8000

1. Start by heading onto I:80 E from your current location.
2. Continue on I:80 E for approximately 35 miles until you reach exit 34B toward NJ-15 N/Jefferson/Sparta.
3. Merge onto US Hwy 206 S/NJ:15 N and continue driving northbound for about 6 miles.
4. Take the exit toward Weldon Road/Lake Hopatcong/Sperry Springs Campground/Rough Mountain State Forest.
5. At the traffic circle, take the second exit onto Edison Rd/Weldon Rd (signs for Lake Hopatcong).
6. Continue straight on Weldon Road for around half a mile before turning right at Brady Bridge Road/Mt Arlington Blvd/Old Mt Arlington Blvd (signs will indicate Sparta Township Municipal Building).
7. Drive along this road for roughly one mile then turn left into Old Ledgewood:Berkshire Valley Road/Taylortown Rd.
8. After traveling another two miles or so, make a slight right towards Morris County Route / Berkshire Valley Bypass/Berkshire Valley Wildlife Management Area/Franklin Borough/Hopatcong Hills/Kittatinny Mountains Preserve/Picatinny Arsenal/Rockaway River Wildlife Management Area/Stanhope/U.S.Army Corps of Engineers Wallkill Project Office/Wildcat Ridge Hawk Watch Site/.
9. Follow signs indicating "Rough Mountain" as you drive through various intersections within next few minutes.

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New Jersey

New Jersey State Parks