Glacial lakes, limestone outcroppings, former railroads, and a small airport are features of Kittatinny Valley State Park. Lake Aeroflex and Gardner’s Pond form part of the headwaters of the Pequest River and are excellent for fishing and boating. This scenic property is home to a variety of wildlife such as whitetail deer, wild turkey, a variety of songbirds, beaver, muskrats, and squirrels.
Hunting, hiking, mountain biking, birding, and horseback riding are popular activities. The four lakes offer fishing, boating, and kayaking opportunities.
The Paulinskill Valley Trail and the Sussex Branch Trail are former railroads that have been converted for use as multiple use trails. Both railroads were critical to the development of Sussex County through the late 1800’s and early 1900’s. The wide cinder surface is ideal for walking, running, mountain biking, and horseback riding. When snow conditions are abundant, these trails provide and excellent opportunity for cross-country skiing, and snowshoeing. You might even see a musher and his dogsled team running down the trail!
Facilities & Activities:
Trails in the park vary in difficulty and terrain from the gravel roads that are walked and biked by many to the technical terrain enjoyed by hard-core mountain bikers. Single track trails and gravel roads are suitable for hiking, mountain biking, cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, and horseback riding. A 2-mile self-guided nature trail provides a brief introduction to the park’s natural and cultural resources. Motorized vehicles are not permitted on any park trails.
Paulinskill Valley Trail
For most of its 27 miles, the trail passes through rural landscapes, northern deciduous forests and wetlands, and small towns in Warren and Sussex Counties. The trail cuts under the majestic Hainseburg viaduct, once part of the Erie Lackawanna Railroad. The trail has a wide, firm cinder base suitable for hiking, biking, horseback riding, and cross-country skiing. Over 100 different species of birds are identified in and along the trail corridor in an annual bird census conducted by members of the Paulinskill Valley Trail Committee. Six bridge crossings of the Paulinskill River provide scenic views of the river and some fishing access. Monthly hikes on the Paulinskill Valley Trail are sponsored by the Paulinskill Valley Trail Committee, (973) 786-5768.
Sussex Branch Trail
This 20-mile trail skirts swamps, lakes, fields and several small communities. The trail corridor exhibits many features of the trail’s former existence as a railroad. Among them are graded fill areas, cuts through bedrock, underpasses that allow the passage of farm equipment and dairy cattle from one side of the tracks to the other, and bridges crossing the Pequest or Paulinskill Rivers. The flat cinder base of the trail permits multiple uses including hiking, horseback riding, biking, cross-country skiing and dog sledding. The trail provides access for fishing and for wheelchairs in certain areas. The Sussex Branch Trail also crosses through Allamuchy Mountain State Park.
Group campsites: Three group campsites containing picnic tables, grill, fire ring, drinking water, and composting toilets. Each campsite accommodates up to 21 people. Open April 1 to October 31. Fee: NJ Resident $42 per night; Non Resident $84 per night.
Fishing and Boating
Beginning May 17, 2006, the NJ Division of Fish and Wildlife introduced landlocked salmon to Lake Aeroflex to provide anglers with an opportunity to fish for this unique coldwater sport fish close to home. Only a handful of deep lakes in New Jersey have suitable year round habitat for coldwater fish like trout and salmon. Lake Wawayanda in Wawayanda State Park also received the landlocked salmon.
Kittatinny Valley State Park contains 4 lakes to provide fishing and boating opportunities. Lake Aeroflex (119 Acres) is accessible by shoreline and via the boat launch ramp. Gardner’s Pond (39 Acres) may be reached on foot through the small plane parking area at Aeroflex-Andover Airport. Small boats may be transported by hand or small cart and launched from shore. Vehicular access is not available. Access for both lakes is from Limecrest Road in Andover Township.
There are also kayaks, row boats and paddle boards for rent on Lake Areoflex. They are located next to the boat launch and are available from May to October.
Twin Lakes is a 29-acre lake located off of Goodale Road in Andover Township. Anglers may access the lake via the car-top boat launch or from the shoreline.
White’s Pond is reachable from the Sussex Branch Trail or from Goodale Road and is open for shoreline fishing only.
All lakes are open for ice-fishing during the winter as conditions allow.
The New Jersey Division of Fish and Wildlife stocks Lake Aeroflex annually with brown and rainbow trout. The lake is designated a “holdover trout lake.”
State Park Service areas open to hunting
Hunting is permitted within Kittatinny Valley State Park, however hunting is not permitted on or from either rail trail. The core area of the park, west of Limecrest Road and east of Goodale Road, is also closed to all hunting.
Areas of the park to the west of Goodale Road and to the east of Limecrest Road are open for all hunting seasons as described in the Fish and Wildlife Digest.
Please contact the park office for a copy of the hunting flyer which details the open seasons and specifies the dates.
Hunting is permitted in designated areas within the park and is subject to Division of Fish and Wildlife regulations.
A small number of picnic tables and grills are available near the parking area adjacent to Limecrest Road. Other picnic tables are scattered through the park.
With over 8 miles of rugged mountain bike trails available, Kittatinny Valley State Park is a favorite of many hard-core mountain bikers. Volunteers from the Bulldog Mountain Bike Team regularly maintain trails in preparation for mountain bike races held in the park each year. The terrain is varied enough to be challenging to both novice and expert riders.