Forested mountains, clear freshwater streams and breathtaking, panoramic views from Sunrise Mountain await you in Stokes State Forest.
Whether you are looking for some peace and tranquility or some active outdoor recreation, Stokes State Forest is the place for you! With over 63 miles of trails leading to locations like Sunrise Mountain, the Appalachian Trail, Tillman's Ravine, and Stepping Stones Falls there is plenty of natural beauty to explore. Stokes is also a great place for fishing in one of the best trout streams in New Jersey, mountain biking, hunting, camping, skiing, snowmobiling, and the list goes on!
The landscape of Stokes State Forest has been shaped by various glacial periods for over one million years. Most recently, the Wisconsin Glacier covered Stokes with a half mile of ice, less than 20,000 years ago! Its weight and friction scraped and scoured the area, creating the geologic landforms you see today. Take a walk on the Geology Trail to learn more.
This land was occupied by various tribes of Americans for thousands of years before the first Europeans arrived. For some time, New Jersey was largely the territory of the Lenni-Lenape, a peaceful people who moved with the seasons to make the most of the natural resources.
The first colonists to carve out a life for themselves in Sussex County were farmers and miners. By the 1800s much of what is now Stokes was clear-cut to make way for crops and pasture. Industry and innovation happened here too, and its echoes still lie in the forest in the forms of covered mine shafts, dilapidated mills and other interesting structures.
Governor Edward C. Stokes
Stokes State Forest was named after Edward C. Stokes, governor from 1905 to 1908, who personally donated the first 500 acres to the state to establish the park. A nice down payment to get the ball rolling; today Stokes covers 16,025 acres.
Stokes and the CCC
In the 1930s, the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) was formed. It brought young American men into rustic camps to do environmental conservation work in every corner of the nation, including Stokes State Forest.
From 1933 to 1942, the CCC men of Stokes built Sunrise Mountain Road, erected the pavilions, lean-tos, and cabins, dammed streams to create Lake Ocquittunk and Skellinger Lake, and planted hundreds of trees throughout the forest.
There are more than 63 miles of marked trails within Stokes State Forest. Trails vary in length, from one half mile to seventeen miles long (Blue Mountain Trail), and terrains that range from flat lowlands to rocky mountains. Many of the trails connect, offering bikers a variety of trips from an hour to a full day.
During the winter months when conditions permit, cross-country skiing is permitted on the trails.
A 12.5-mile-long section of the Appalachian Trail follows the Kittatinny Mountain Ridge through Stokes State Forest. This trail's designated use is hiking only for its entire length from Maine to Georgia.
Along Kittatinny Mountain are outstanding views of the surrounding landscape. Sunrise Mountain offers scenic vistas of the Kittatinny Valley to the east and the Delaware River Valley to the west.
In addition to the Appalachian Trail, there are more than 63 miles of marked trails within Stokes State Forest in addition to the 17-mile-long Blue Mountain Trail. Trails vary in length from one half mile to four miles, and over terrains ranging from flat lowlands to rocky mountains. Many of the trails connect, offering the hiker a variety of trips from an hour to a full day.
There are more than 63 miles of marked trails within Stokes State Forest. Trails vary in length from one half mile to four miles, and over terrains ranging from flat lowlands to rocky mountains. Many of the trails connect, offering horseback riders a variety of trips from an hour to a full day. Horseback riding is not permitted on the Appalachian Trail.
There are miles of trails and roads open to registered and insured snowmobiles. Click here to view our winter activities map.
Snowshoeing is permitted on the trails in the winter months.
12.5 miles of the Appalachian Trail follows the Kittatinny Mountain Ridge through Stokes State Forest. This trail's designated use is restricted to hiking only for its entire length from Maine to Georgia. White blazes mark this narrow and sometimes very rocky trail. There are 2 designated overnight shelters: Brink Road Shelter and Gren Anderson Shelter. These are the only overnight locations that allow you to stay overnight on the trail. Camping is limited to 1 night per shelter.
No motor vehicles of any kind are permitted on AT. The Appalachian Trail is for foot travel only.
Overnight parking is located at the Appalachian Trail Parking Lot on Upper North Shore Road located off of Route 206 just south of the park office. A permit is required and can be obtained during Park Office business hours. This is the only designated overnight parking for the AT in Stokes State Forest. Information regarding the Appalachian Trail in NJ can be found here.
Reserve a campsite at camping.nj.gov. Please note tent and trailer family campsites are available to reserve until December 15. Cabins, group cabins, shelters, lean-tos, group lean-tos, wilderness campsites, group campsites, primitive campsites, and primitive group campsites remain closed until further notice.
Alcohol is prohibited.
A non-refundable service fee of $5.00 will be charged to the customer for each reservation.
Changes to the reservation that occur prior to the Start/Check in date will incur a non refundable fee of $5.00.
Changes made after the start/check-in date will be chargerd a service fee according to the following:
Pet Friendly Campsites please click here for details on sites that are designated Pet Friendly, license and inoculation paperwork requirements and additional cost. Pet friendly sites are family campsites #101-137.
Campsites: 90 tent and trailer sites with fire rings and picnic tables. Some camping areas available all year. Fee: NJ Resident: $20 per night; Non Resident: $25 per night. Accommodates up to 6 people, including children.
Steam Mill Camping Area - 27 tent and pop-up camper sites with an artisan well for water and pit toilets. All sites have a picnic table, fire rings and lantern hooks. Fee: NJ Resident: $20 per night; Non-Resident: $25 per night.
Lake Ocquittunk - The popular Lake Ocquittunk Camping area has a combination of 26 trailer, tent and 3 (12x14) platform sites. Many of the sites are located near Lake Ocquittunk or on the Big Flatbrook stream. This camping area has flush toilets and a shower facility. And Shotwell- This is our pet friendly camping area. Shotwell has 27 trailer and tent campsites, 9 lean-to’s and 6 (12x14) platform sites. There are flush toilets but no shower facility. Some of the sites have pit toilets.
Group campsites: Ten group sites located at Haskins with fire rings and picnic tables. Haskins Group Sites have horseshoe pits. Please bring your own horseshoes and spikes. Open April 15 to October 31. Campsites A, B, C, D, E, and F accommodate up to 30 people. Fee: NJ Resident $60 per night; Non Resident $120 per night. Campsite G accommodates up to 65 people. Fee: NJ Resident $130 per night; Non Resident $260 per night. Campsite H accommodates up to 10 people. Fee: NJ Resident $20 per night; Non Resident $40 per night. Campsite I accommodates up to 45 people. Fee: NJ Resident $90 per night; Non Resident $180 per night. Campsite Z, located at Lake Ashroe accommodates up to 40 people. Parking is not allowed on the campsite, but there is a designated park area. Fee: NJ Residents $80 per night; Non Resident $160 per night.
Horseshoe pits have been added to the group campsites and one location at Lake Ocquittunk. Please bring your own horseshoes and spikes.
Lean-tos: Nine enclosed lean-tos located in Shotwell Camping Area with fire rings and picnic tables. Approximate dimensions are 10' x 12' and have a wood stove inside for heat. Open year round. Fee: NJ Resident $35 per night; Non Resident $40 per night. Lean-tos accommodates up to 6 people, including children
Group Lean-tos: Located at Lake Ashroe. GL-X has 3 lean-tos and accommodates 6 people each for a total of 18 people. Fee: NJ Resident $105 per night: Non Resident $120 per night.
GL-Y has 5 lean-tos and accommodates 4 people each for a total of 20 people. Fee: NJ Resident $125 per night: Non Resident $150 per night. The site is hike in only. Parking is located at Group Site Z.
Each lean-to has a charcoal grill and each group site has 2 fire rings and multiple lantern hooks.
There is no wood stove for heat.
Cabins: Ten furnished cabins each with wood stove; two single beds; one double-deck bunk; kitchen with cold and hot running water, refrigerator, electric stove; half-bath with toilet and sink. Electric lights. Each accommodates four people. Cabins are adjacent to Lake Ocquittunk. Fee: NJ Resident $55 per night; $385 per week; Non Resident $65 per night; $455 per week.
Cabins 7 & 12 Accommodates eight people. Facilities are the same as listed above, except they include a shower and hot and cold running water. Cabin 7 has a fireplace and Cabin 12 has a wood stove. Accommodates people with disabilities. Located 1/2 mile from Lake Ocquittunk. Fee: NJ Resident $100 per night; $700 per week; Non Resident $110 per night; $770 per week.
Group Cabin 13: Accommodates twelve people. Facilities includes two sleeping areas and two full bathrooms and a Fireplace. Located one mile from Lake Ocquittunk. Fee: NJ Resident $140 per night; $980 per week; Non Resident $150 per night; $1,050 per week.
Wood is not provided. You can buy it at the park office for $7 a bundle. You need to bring sheets, towels and cooking utensils. There are no small appliances such as a coffee maker, toaster or microwave. Outside the cabins there is a picnic table, fire ring and charcoal grill.
Cabins must be reserved for seven or fourteen consecutive nights only during the summer months. Cabins may be reserved for a minimum of two consecutive nights to a maximum of fourteen consecutive nights during the off season.
Check the camping website, www.camping.nj.gov, or call the park office for when the cabins open and close.
Canoes, kayaks, paddleboards and small boats with electric motors are permitted on the waters of Lake Ocquittunk and Lake Ashore and are subject to all applicable boating laws. There is no boat ramp.
Stocked annually by the Division of Fish and Wildlife (link is external), the Big Flatbrook and its tributaries provide some of the best trout fishing in New Jersey. Lake Ashroe, Lake Ocquittunk and Stony Lake also are stocked with trout.
View the State Park Service areas open to hunting for 2021
The majority of the forest is open to hunting and is subject to the Fish and Wildlife (link is external).
Ice fishing is permitted at Lake Ashroe, Lake Ocquittunk and Stony Lake.
Stokes State Forest offers two picnic areas, Stony Lake and Kittle Field. Picnic tables and grills are available on a first come-first serve basis. The group picnic area at at Kittle Field has a capacity of 120 people, provides shelter, playfields and playground equipment. The pavilion may be reserved for a fee. The reservation is for the pavilion and the area immediately in front. This includes the charcoal grill and picnic tables close to the pavilion and the covered picnic tables. This does not include exclusive use of the field and playground across the street or the restrooms. There is no electric provided at the pavilion and generators or amplified devices are not permitted.
The Stony Lake picnic area has 45 picnic tables with adjacent grills located next to Stony Lake. Picnic tables and grills area available on a first come-first serve basis. The pavilion at Stony Lake can be reserved for a fee. The reservation is for the outside, open pavilion and includes the covered picnic tables. This does not include exclusive use of any grills, grassy area or beach space. There is no electric provided at the pavilion and generators or amplified devices are not permitted.. Vehicle access is not permitted beyond the gate that is located next to the accessible parking. Swimming is not permitted at Stony Lake, or any of the lakes in Stokes State Forest.
Reservations can be made over the telephone using a credit card, or by mail using the Group Picnic Reservation form. Payment in full of the appropriate group picnicking fee must accompany this application.
Please remember that you must take all trash home with you. Bring your own garbage bags as they are no longer provided.
The Tillman Ravine Natural Area affords the opportunity to witness numerous endangered species in their natural habitat. Sunrise Mountain is a good place to watch the hawk migration in spring and fall.
Playground equipment and a small open playfield are available at the Stone Lake and Kittlefield area.
A sports field is located across the street from the picnic shelter at Kittle Field.
Horseshoe pits are located in all Haskins group camp sites, Stony Lake. Please bring your own horseshoes and stakes.
At an elevation of 1,653 feet above sea level, the top of Sunrise Mountain, the 2nd highest mountain in the state, is one of the most frequently visited sites in Stokes State Forest. The mountaintop provides 360-degrees of breathtaking views - with vistas towards the Delaware River Valley, Pennsylvania, High Point Mountain, and farmlands of Sussex County. The thin soil and harsh climate characteristic of Sunrise Mountain is a difficult environment in which few plants can survive. Mountain laurel, wild blueberry, pitch pine , and scrub oak are among the natural vegetation found throughout the area. The pavilion at the summit was built in the late 1930s by the Civilian Conservation Corps. The Appalachian Trail (link is external) runs along the ridge.
Sunrise Mountain Road is closed to vehicles seasonally from December 15 to April 15, or when conditions are hazardous due to weather.
This cool evergreen forest of eastern hemlock is ideally suited to the steep slopes carved by the rushing waters of Tillman Brook. Several trails wander through this spectacular ravine, providing views of waterfalls and ferns clinging to rock crevices. The area is home to the threatened barred owl and other endangered species.
Vehicle access to Tillman Ravine is restricted from December 15 to April 15, or when conditions are hazardous due to weather. Parking during these months is available at the pull off next to the 4H camp.
Sunrise Mountain Road, Crigger Road, Grau Road and Struble Road (at 4H camp) all close seasonally from December 15 through April 15, or when conditions are hazardous due to weather. Please call the park office at 973-948-3820 for more information.
Access for Persons with Disabilities
The Stokes State Forest recreational facilities are partially accessible for persons with disabilities. Please contact the park office at 973-948-3820 for further information regarding disability access needs. Text telephone (TTY) users, call the NJ Relay & CapTel Service at 711 or 1-800-852-7897 for English or 1-866-658-7714 for Spanish.
All-Terrain Vehicles (ATVs)
Recreational use of ATVs is not permitted on NJ State Park Service property. This includes state parks, forests, recreation areas, golf courses, marinas, natural areas, historic sites, and preserves. Thank you for your help in protecting New Jersey’s natural and historic resources. [N.J.A.C. 7:2-3.4(d)]
Drones are not permitted to be flown in any of New Jersey's state parks or forests.
State law prohibits the smoking of tobacco and use of electronic smoking (vaping) devices in all state parks, forests, historic sites, recreation areas, golf courses and marinas. [N.J.P.L.2005, c.383 (C.26:3D-56)]
Alcoholic beverages are not permitted in state parks, forests, recreation areas, golf courses, marinas, natural areas, historic sites, and preserves. [ N.J.A.C. 7:2-2.6 ]
Keep Your Park Clean and Green
Protect plants and animals and care for your parks by taking your trash with you. Whatever you carry into the park, plan on carrying it out too. It’s like crowdsourcing trash management! Bring a bag or two for trash, recycling and cleaning up after your pet. There are no trash receptacles in this park. Thank you!
Pets must always be on a leash no longer than six feet in length and under the control of the owner. Please clean up after your pets.
Use insect repellent, wear light-colored clothing, tuck pants into socks, stay on trails, check yourself when you get home, shower and wash clothes immediately.
Be Bear Aware
Black bears are found throughout New Jersey. Do not approach or attract bears by making food available. Feeding bears is dangerous and illegal. Never run from a bear! To report an aggressive bear, call 1-877-WARN-DEP (1-877-927-6337) immediately. Please report any damage or nuisance behavior to the park office. Visit the New Jersey Division of Fish and Wildlife at www.njfishandwildlife.com for additional information on bear safety.
1 Coursen Road
Branchville, NJ 07826
Gate Open daily from 8:00 am to 8:00 pm.
Park Office Open Thursday - Monday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Closed Tuesday & Wednesday
Entrance fees are charged per vehicle from Memorial Day weekend to Labor Day.