I don’t hike the AT much, but it seems like when I do, it’s either in North Carolina or New Jersey/Pennsylvania. I don’t know why; maybe it’s just because the AT is a convenient trail in those areas. At any rate, a real highlight of AT hiking for me last summer was walking to the New Jersey/Pennsylvania State Line in the Delaware Water Gap. It was especially special since the state line is in the middle of the river, so we had to cross a huge bridge, right beside I-80, to get to it!
We decided to hike to the state line after trekking to the top of Mount Minsi, the high peak on the Pennsylvania side of the Delaware Water Gap. Having a few extra minutes to spare, we followed the white blazes down to road to the I-80 bridge and the state line.
First off, let me say that I wouldn’t recommend walking, like we did, from the Mount Minsi parking area down to the bridge (unless you’re real keen on walking on roads). There is a secondary parking area close to the bridge, so you can easily park there instead and have a much shorter hike.
We followed the road downward and into town, always following the splotches of white paint – much of it weather-worn , faded, and all-together difficult to see on the road surface, sidewalk, or telephone poles. We crossed the large road, then turned right on the next street, heading generally toward the highway maintenance facilities next to the highway. It’s next to these buildings that there is a parking area for hikers. Fearing that we wouldn’t be able to find a place to park, we’d left the van at the Mount Minsi trailhead – no big deal, but it was a bit longer hike that we’d anticipated, so we didn’t quite get back in time (not that anyone minded).
Just after the maintenance buildings, the trail takes a sharp right toward the bridge. It’s now on a sidewalk, with only a barrier between you and the highway. I found this quite nerve-wracking, but, hey, it’s almost a once-in-a-lifetime experience (unless you live nearby, lol)!
Not far onto the bridge, a chain-link fence has been installed on the right (river) side of the bridge. A railroad goes beneath the bridge at this point, so I’m guessing the fence is to keep stones, etc., from falling onto the tracks.
Walking the bridge, it went on and on – driving across it 100s of times, I never knew how long it really was! And we only hiked half way across – to the Mile 0 sign and the NJ boarder! Ya-hoo! We did it!
Meanwhile, the cars and trucks kept zooming past us. Some were very considerate and, whenever possible, moved into the inner lane rather than get too close to the barrier. But sometimes those huge tracker trailers couldn’t move – or didn’t – and they’d send a wave of air rushing past our faces. Yikes!
My favorite truck drivers, though, saw us all coming and gave us a friendly toot on their horn. One driver even blew the horn, then held up a bottle of his product as if to say, “Hey! Our cheese is best!”
By then, we were really running out of time, so we hoofed it back to the PA side of the bridge, back up the street, then back up the very steep hill to the Mount Minsi trailhead parking. But was it worth it? Oh, yes!
Round Trip Trail Length: About 1.5 miles, beginning at the Mt. Minsi Parking Area
Starting Elevation: 520 ft.
Ending Elevation (state line): 372 ft.
Net Elevation Gain/Loss: 148 ft.
Would I go 100 miles out of my way for this?
Key GPS Coordinates for the NJ / PA State Line on the AT
Parking: 40.97982N / 075.14203W (ended 1.6 miles) (520 ft.)
State Line: 40.97779N / 075.13585W (???) (372 ft.)
Getting to the Parking Area for the NJ / PA State Line on the AT
From I-80, take Exit 310 onto Broad Street. Drive 0.4 miles to a T intersection; turn left onto Main Street / PA-611 S. After 0.3 miles, turn left onto Mountain Road. Take the first right onto Delaware Ave; park in the parking area near the end of this road.
Alternatively, from Portland, PA, drive 5.5 miles north on PA-611 N. Turn right onto Mountain Road. Take the first right onto Delaware Ave; park in the parking area near the end of this road.
Note: to follow the map, turn uphill on Mountain Road, then take a left onto Lake Road and drive to the parking area for the Mount Minsi Trail / AT.
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With lots of maps and helpful information (including mileages between points of interest), this book details the AT as it traverses the mid-Atlantic states; namely, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Maryland.
Sun Oct 22
Sunshine and clouds mixed. High around 75F. Winds S at 5 to 10 mph.
Mon Oct 23
Cloudy. Slight chance of a rain shower. High 72F. Winds SSE at 5 to 10 mph.
Tue Oct 24
Rain. Thunder possible. High around 70F. Winds SSE at 10 to 20 mph. Chance of rain 100%.
Wed Oct 25
Partly cloudy skies. Slight chance of a rain shower. High 64F. Winds W at 5 to 10 mph.
Thu Oct 26
Intervals of clouds and sunshine. Slight chance of a rain shower. High near 60F. Winds WNW at 5 to 10 mph.