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Welcome!

Welcome to the High Point State Park blog - your source for information about nature and history programs in the Park. High Point is located in the northwestern corner of New Jersey in rural Sussex County.

Please call the Interpretive Center at 973.875.1471 if you have questions about park programs, or email us at highpointprograms@gmail.com.

For questions about hiking, camping, swimming, picnicking or other information, please call the park office at 973.875.4800 or go to the official website for High Point State Park and the NJ Division of Parks and Forestry.
Need directions? Click on the link above.

Monthly Calendar

To view the full program description in Google Calendar, click on the program title, then click on the "more details" link at the bottom of the expanded entry, and a new window will open with all the program information. You can also switch between "monthly, "weekly," and "agenda" views by clicking on the tabs in the upper right corner. To create a printer-friendly calendar, click on the icon to the left of the tabs. To advance through the months click on the forward/backward arrows at the top left of the calendar.

Programs for Preschoolers

Fledgling Naturalists - for 3 to 5 year-olds with an adult partner.

Thursdays from 1:00 PM to 2:00 PM
January 22, February 05, and February 19

Fridays from 10:00 AM to 11:00 AM
January 23, February 06, and February 20

Class size is limited. Registration is required. Call 973-875-1471 or email highpointprograms@gmail.com.

Fledgling Naturalist programs are designed to encourage young children's curiosity, engaging them hands-on in the natural world, through outdoor activities, stories, games, and crafts. Topics covered this winter will depend on snow and weather conditions, but may include winter wildlife, birds, weather, and snowshoeing (snowshoes are provided). If any one of the three regularly-scheduled programs this must be canceled due to the weather, a make-up class will be held on 3/5/2009 or 3/6/2009 at the regularly scheduled time.

Ski Center Programs

UPDATE 1/9
The ground is currently covered with ice, not snow, so the Ski Center is closed. If we get the expected snowfall on Saturday, they will likely reopen. Check their website or call the number below for more information.

As of December 20th, the High Point Cross Country Ski Center is open. For more information about the trail conditions and ski and snowshoe rentals, go to the Ski Center website or call 973-702-1222.

Winter Trails Day - Canceled (no snow)
Saturday, January 10, 2009
Naturalist-guided tours at 11:00 AM and 1:00 PM
Snowshoeing has become a very popular winter activity. Come find out why! If you've ever been curious about snowshoes, this is a great opportunity to try out different types. During this day-long snowshoe festival at the High Point Cross Country Ski Center, vendors will be on hand to give you a chance to try and/or buy snowshoes. You can give the shoes a trial-run on free, naturalist-guided tours.

Ski Fest 2009
Sunday, February 8, 2009
Naturalist-guided tours at 11:00 AM and 1:00 PM
Come to the High Point Cross Country Ski Center and give cross country skiing a try during this day-long cross country ski festival. Lessons will be offered throughout the day and beginner-friendly, naturalist-guided ski tours will begin at 11:00 AM and 1:00 PM.

December Ice Storm

On Thursday, December 11, 2008 High Point State Park was coated with a thick, heavy layer of ice during the second-worst ice storm in recent memory. (The opinion of the park staff is that the November 2002 storm was more severe, but it's a close call.) The pictures below were taken on Friday the 12th.

To view the slide show, click the green arrow OR to view the album and a larger slide show, double-click the album. Captions can be viewed by clicking on the caption icon on the bottom left corner.


December Programs

Yoga on the Mountain IV - CANCELED
Saturday, December 13, 2008 from 10:30 AM to 12:00 PM
Come and enjoy the view and a cozy fire while relaxing your mind and body! The Friends of High Point are hosting a morning yoga class in the Interpretive Center at High Point State Park.The class is open to all levels, but class size is limited and registration is required. Please call 973-702-0488.

Friends of High Point State Park Meeting
- CANCELED/Postponed
Saturday, December 13, 2008 from 1:00 PM to 3:00 PM
Care about High Point State Park? Come join the Friends of High Point for their winter meeting. New members are always welcome. Stop in and get involved! Meet at the Interpretive Center.
This meeting may be rescheduled in January. Check back for more information.

Friends of High Point Holiday Celebration - CANCELED
Saturday, December 13, 2008 from 3:00 PM to 4:30 PM
All ages. Registration is NOT required.
Come join the Friends of High Point State Park for a holiday celebration. There will be treats, hot chocolate, and holiday music by the fire in the Interpretive Center and we’ll make natural ornaments to adorn the trees outside. Everyone is welcome to come join us and help celebrate the season. Meet at the Interpretive Center.

Moonlight Walk - CANCELED
December 13, 2008 from 7:00 PM to 8:30 PM
Adults/Children ages 10 and up. Registration is required by 4:00 PM on Friday, December 12th. Please call the Interpretive Center at 973-875-1471 or email highpointprograms@gmail.com.
Before the last-minute holiday rush begins, come take a quiet 2-3 mile walk by the light of the full moon on one of the longest nights of the year. Bundle up and come see High Point in a different light!

Winter Red and Green Walk
Sunday, December 28, 2008 from 1:30 PM to 3:30 PM
Update: Registration/snowshoe reservations are now required for this walk via email. Due to snow and ice damage the walk location will be change. More information will be provided when you register.

Adults/Children ages 8 and up.


Come take an easy 2.5-mile walk through High Point's Kuser Natural Area. We'll be on the lookout for spots of color in the winter landscape and will learn how to identify several evergreens and learn how they survive's winter's cold.

Wind Flags

Tuesday, December 30, 2008 from 1:30 PM to 3:00 PM
Families with children ages 4 to 10. Registration is required by 4:00 PM the day before the program. Please call 973-875-1471 or email highpointprograms@gmail.com.
More often than not, it's windy at High Point. Why? Come find out. Learn about how wind influences the plants and animals at High Point, and listen to a windy story. We'll make and decorate wind flags and then take a short walk to an overlook to feel them blowing in the breeze.

Snow! In October?

A surprise October snowstorm deposited over a foot of snow at High Point on Tuesday, October 28, 2008. See the pictures below! (To view the slide show, click the green arrow OR to view the album and a larger slide show, click on the tiny Picasa logo on the bottom right corner of the viewing pane, and then click on the album title.)

Yoga on the Mountain III

Come and enjoy the view while relaxing your mind and body! The Friends of High Point are hosting a morning yoga class in the Interpretive Center on Saturday, November 8th at 9:30 a.m. The class is open to all levels, but class size is limited and registration is required. Please call 973-702-0488.

Support High Point and Celebrate the Season!

Show your support for High Point and Celebrate the Season on December 13th!
The Friends of High Point winter meeting will take place on Saturday, December 13th at 1:00 p.m. in the Interpretive Center. New members are always welcome. Stop in and get involved!

After the meeting, the Friends are hosting a holiday celebration at 3:00 p.m. There will be treats, hot chocolate, and holiday music by the fire in the Interpretive Center and we’ll make natural ornaments to adorn the trees outside. Everyone is welcome to come join us and help celebrate the season.

At 7:00 p.m. there will be a naturalist-guided full moon walk beginning at the Park Office on Route 23. Bundle up and come see High Point in a different light! Pre-registration is required for this walk. Please call the Interpretive Center at 973-875-1471 or email highpointprograms@gmail.com.

The Poetry of High Point State Park

Rose Leaf and Lavender Autumn Tea

Throughout High Point's history, the mountain and the park have been the inspiration for and subject of a number of poems. Join us in discovering poetry's place in the history of High Point while in enjoy an autumn tea by the fire.

You are welcome to write and share an original nature or High Point-themed poem. All ages are encouraged to attend and participate, and there will be a craft activity for children. Please bring your own teacup or coffee mug to help us reduce waste. Registration is required. Please call the Interpretive Center at 973-875-1471 or email highpointprograms@gmail.com.

This poem was written in the mid-1850s by William Kitchell, the geologist who first identified the peak of Kittatinny Mountain as the highest elevation in New Jersey.




Volunteer Work Day

The Friends of High Point State Park will be sponsoring a work day at Sawmill Lake on Sunday, October 26, 2008. The goal of the day is to clean up, clear, and repair the walking trail around the Sawmill Lake Camping area. All ages are encouraged to come pitch in. We'll be doing simple litter clean-up, as well as weed cutting and minor bridge repairs.

Work will be ongoing from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. All volunteers are asked to come register at the dam by to the boat launch prior to beginning work.

Built in the 1930s by the Civilain Conservation Corps, Sawmill Lake and it's campgrounds are one of the most beautiful spots at High Point. Bring a picnic lunch with you and take a break to enjoy the autumn colors and the lovely setting!

For more information or to pre-register, contact Michael Bender at 973-347-4722 or michaelbender1@hotmail.com.



Joe-pie weed is one of the many wildflowers that grow along the banks of Sawmill Lake.

Preschoolers, Homeschoolers, After-schoolers

High Point's autumn nature programs for preschoolers, homeschoolers, and after school treks begin in October.

For dates and program descriptions check out the Google calendar or the posts in the blog archive for the month of August. Remember, class size is limited and registration is required. Please call 973-875-1471 or email highpointprograms@gmail.com.

Check out this slideshow of the spring stream study program for preschoolers, courtesy of the Austin Family.

Yoga on the Mountain 2

In August the Friends of High Point hosted their first “Yoga on the Mountain” program which was well attended and enjoyed by all. (It didn’t hurt that the weather was perfect too!) See for yourself by following the link below to view a photo essay by Colleen Drache, a photographer for Straus News who joined us for the class.
http://strausnews.mycapture.com/mycapture/folder.asp?event=579392&CategoryID=1514

The Friends will be sponsoring another sunset yoga class at 5:30 p.m. on Friday, October 3, 2008. All are invited to enjoy the view while relaxing mind and body. The class is open to all levels, but class size is limited and registration is required. Please call 973-702-0488.

Open Hearth Cooking Day

The Friends of High Point State Park will be hosting their annual Open Hearth Cooking Day on Saturday, October 4 from 10:30 AM to 3:00 PM in the Interpretive Center at High Point State Park.

Cooking demonstrations will be ongoing throughout the day, so visitors are encouraged to stop by at any time and taste a sample of the food that has just come off the hearth. A variety of foods will be prepared, including snacks, soups, meats, and desserts.

There will also be cider pressing demonstrations at 11:30 AM and 12:30 PM and a seasonal craft activity for children will be offered at 1:30 PM. Park souvenirs and hand-crafts will be available for sale in the afternoon (proceeds support the Friends of High Point).

The Friends of High Point State Park is a not-for-profit organization that supports historical, scientific, educational, recreational, and natural resource management activities within the Park.

October Programs

Annual Open Hearth Cooking Day
Saturday, October 4 from 10:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.
For more information, please see the Open Hearth blog post.

Mountaintop Talk
Sunday, October 5 at 12:30 p.m.
The Park Interpretive Specialist will give a brief talk about the history or the natural history of the mountaintop and the Monument. Maps and other park information will be available and the Interpreter will be on hand to answer questions for about an hour. Meet by the steps to the Monument Plaza.

Cedar Bog Walk/Scavenger Hunt
Saturday, October 11 at 10:00 a.m.
Adults/families with children ages 6 and up. Take a naturalist-guided walk through the Kuser Natural Area to see High Point’s unique forested bog habitat. Along the way we’ll be on the lookout for seasonal scavenger hunt items. This is an easy, 2.5 mile walk. Meet at the trailhead to the Cedar Swamp Trail.

Sunset Canoe/Kayak
Sunday, October 19 at 5:00 p.m.
Come take a leisurely naturalist-guided paddle around Lake Steenykill. Bring your own non-motorized boats. Space is limited, registration is required. Please call 973-875-1471 or email highpointprograms@gmail.com.

Morning Canoe/Kayak
Saturday, October 25 at 10:00 a.m.
Come take a leisurely naturalist-guided paddle around Lake Steenykill. Bring your own non-motorized boats. Space is limited, registration is required. Please call 973-875-1471 or email highpointprograms@gmail.com.

Scutes, Scales, and Turtle Tales
Saturday, October 25 at 1:30 p.m.
For families with children ages 4 to 8. Come learn about the turtles, listen to a story about the changing seasons, Thirteen Moons on Turtle’s Back by Abenaki storyteller, Joseph Bruchac, and make a turtle shell calendar craft to take home.

Mountaintop Talk
Sunday, October 26 at 12:30 p.m.
The Park Interpretive Specialist will give a brief talk about the history or the natural history of the mountaintop and the Monument. Maps and other park information will be available and the Interpreter will be on hand to answer questions for about an hour. Meet by the steps to the Monument Plaza.

September Programs

Bait and Boat Festival
Saturday, September 6th
Sponsored by the Friends of High Point State Park.
For more information please see the earlier post about the Festival.

Night Hike to Lake Rutherford
Saturday, September 13 at 7:00 p.m.
Adults/Children age 10 and up. Take a naturalist-guided night-time stroll by the light of the almost-full moon. Round trip we’ll cover about three easy miles along an old gravel road. Flashlights won’t be necessary—you may be surprised by how much more you can see without them. Meet at the Park Office.

Mountaintop Talk
Saturday, September 27 at 12:30 p.m.
The Park Interpretive Specialist will give a brief talk about the history or the natural history of the mountaintop and the Monument. Maps and other park information will be available and the Interpreter will be on hand to answer questions for about an hour. Meet by the steps to the Monument Plaza.
Additional dates: October 5th and 26th.

Ready, Set, Migrate!
Saturday, September 27 at 3:00 p.m.
Families w/children ages 5-10. Every year many animals make journeys that few humans could manage without a plane ticket. Come learn about nature’s travelers and their trips through games and activities, and make a kite that will catch the wind like the wings of a migrating hawk. Please call 973-875-1471 or email highpointprograms@gmail.com to register for this program.

Nature Programs for Homeschoolers

Homeschool Naturalists meet the first Friday of each month from October through June with the exception of the month of January. Classes are geared for children ages six to ten, begin at 2 PM, and last between 1.5 to 2 hours. These hands-on activities provide homeschoolers with opportunities to explore the natural world and interact with other home-schooled students. Suggestions for further study and resources are provided for each program. Registration is required, please call 973-875-1471 or send an email to highpointprograms@gmail.com.

This year, homeschoolers will be making and keeping a nature journal. Journals can be used as a way to heighten observation skills and to deepen understanding in very individual ways. Part sketchbook, part scrapbook, part essay, a nature journal offers many different ways to explore and express oneself.

In October we will make a simple journal and subsequent classes will include opportunities to make journal-entries, recording observations about seasonal changes as well as other impressions and discoveries.

This fall, on October 3rd, Homeschool Naturalists will discover the six and eight-legged park inhabitants using nets to capture and observe insects and spiders of the fields and forests. On November 7th, we’ll explore the rocks and soil that form the foundation of the High Point State Park.

Preschool Programs

Fall Fledgling Naturalist Programs, for preschoolers ages 3 to 5 and an adult partner, are designed to encourage young children’s natural curiosity, engaging them hands-on in the natural world.

Programs take place both indoors and out. Come dressed for the weather and be aware that it is often a bit cooler and windier on the mountain than it is elsewhere.

Class size is limited. Registration is required. Please call the Interpretive Center at 973-875-1471 or send an email to highpointprograms@gmail.com.

Life of a Log
Thursday, October 2 from 1 to 2 PM
Friday, October 3 from 10 to 11 AM
What happens to a tree when it dies? You may discover it has a lot of life left in it. Come uncover the secret life of a log.

A Sense of Fall
Thursday, October 16 from 1 to 2 PM
Friday, October 17 from 10 to 11 AM
We’ll use our eyes, ears, noses, and hands to explore the seasonal changes that occur in autumn.

Getting Ready for Winter
Thursday, October 30 from 1 to 2 PM
Friday, October 31 from 10 to 11 AM
Through stories and role-playing we’ll learn how plants and animals get ready for winter.

Autumn After-School Treks

Children ages 6 to 10 accompanied by a parent or guardian are invited to come stretch their legs on these kid-friendly 1 to 2 mile hikes. Come dressed for the weather and be aware that it is often a bit cooler and windier on the mountain than it is elsewhere.

Class size is limited. Registration is required. Please call the Interpretive Center at 973-875-1471 or send an email to highpointprograms@gmail.com.

Autumn Treasures
October 16 from 4-5:30 pm
We’ll take a short walk on a wooded trail in search of seasonal materials (colorful leaves, twigs, seeds, fruits) that we’ll use to create an autumnal “magic carpet” at the walk’s end.

A to Z Hike
October 30 from 4-5:30 pm
We’ll travel about a mile and a half around Sawmill Lake in search of items that begin with each letter of the alphabet. “A” is for “acorn;” “B” is for “beaver;” who will find “X?”

Twilight Walk
November 13 from 4-5:30 pm
We’ll walk 2 to 2.5 miles in the twilight through the day use area and will make a stop at an overlook to watch the rising full moon. Come see High Point in a different light!

Bait and Boat Festival

On September 6th (raindate September 7th) the Friends of High Point State Park are sponsoring a "Bait and Boat Festival." Join us for a day when non-motorized boats will be permitted on Lake Marcia. Most events will take place at the beach. Bring your fishing gear (a NJ fishing license is required if you are over the age of 15), canoes, kayaks, and rowboats, and join us! Also, pack a picnic for the afternoon or visit the concession stand by the beach.
  • Friends’ Meeting - 9:30 am
  • Fishing Contest - 9 to 11 a.m.
  • Lake Walks - 11 a.m. and 3 pm
  • Boat Races - 1 and 2 pm
  • BYOPicnic - 4 to 6 pm
  • Paper Boat Flotilla - 4 to 6 pm
  • Campfire & S’mores - 6 pm
  • Campfire Stories - 7 pm

Yoga on the Mountain

On Friday, August 22nd the Friends of High Point State Park are sponsoring a sunset yoga class from 7 to 8:15 PM. Enjoy the sunset and the beautiful views from the Interpretive Center while relaxing your mind and body! All levels are welcome. Please bring a yoga mat. Class size is limited! For more information or to register, please call 973-702-0488.

Fledgling Naturalists

Fledgling Naturalist programs are designed to encourage young children’s natural curiosity, engaging them hands-on in the natural world. Registration is required. Please call 973-875-1471.

This summer we’ll be exploring things that fly, crawl, and leap in the sunshine and will make a caterpillar craft that will transform into a butterfly by the end of the three classes. Please bring an egg carton if you can.

Caterpillars and Colors
Thursday, July 10 from 9:30 to 10:30 am
Thursday, July 10 from 11 am to 12 pm
Friday, August 8 from 10 am to 11 am

Winged Things
Thursday, July 17 from 9:30 to 10:30 am
Thursday, July 17 from 11 am to 12 pm
Friday, August 15 from 10 am to 11 am

Bugs of the Field
Thursday, July 24 from 9:30 to 10:30 am
Thursday, July 24 from 11 am to 12 pm
Friday, August 22 from 10 am to 11 am

August Programs

Family Nature Program - Trail Signs and Treasure
Friday, August 1 at 11:00 am
Learn how to make and follow trail signs, and then using signs and a special map, go on a search for hidden “treasure.” Meet at the Life Trail in the Winter trail use parking lot. (Families with children ages 5-10)

Lake Life- Sawmill Lake
Saturday, August 2 at 7:00 pm
What (and who) lives in Sawmill Lake? Borrow a net and join the park naturalist to find out. We’ll meet at the Sawmill Lake boat launch at 7:00 and will be netting in the Lake near campsite two—stop by any time.

Family Nature Program - Scavenger Hunt at Lake Marcia
Friday, August 8 at 12:30 pm
Use all your senses to search the beach area and the nearby lakeside for a variety of natural artifacts. Meet by the swings at the beach. (Families with children ages 5-10)

Night Hike to the Ayers Fields
Saturday, August 9 at 7:30 pm
Come experience the park as day slides into night. We’ll walk to the fields and then spend some time there watching and listening as the stars come out and the birds and animals settle into their nighttime routine. Then we’ll then hike back in the full dark, covering about two miles in all. To make the most of this experience, we ask that you not use flashlights—you’ll be surprised by how much you can see by light of the moon and the stars. You may wish to bring a blanket or something to sit on while we are at the fields. Inclement weather may cancel this program. Call 973-875-1471 if in doubt. Meet at Sawmill Lake boat launch. (Adults/Children age ten and up)

Family Nature Program - Journaling/Art in Nature
Friday, August 15 at 12:30 pm
A nature journal can be just about anything you want it to be—a place where you can collect ideas, observations, drawings, photographs, stories… Come make a basic journal and record the results of a few simple artistic and observation exercises in its pages. (If you prefer, you can bring and use your own sketchbook or notebook). Meet at the Interpretive Center. (Families with children ages 5-10)

Sunset/Moonrise Hike
Saturday, August 16 at 6:30 pm
We’ll hike a one-mile stretch of Appalachian Trail and end at an observation platform that gives us an unobstructed view of the setting sun and the rising full moon. We’ll return to our cars in the dark via an easier route. The hike on the AT is moderately difficult with a rough and rocky surface—sturdy footwear is a must! Inclement weather may cancel this program. Call 973-875-1471 if in doubt. Meet at the Park Office. (Adults/Children age ten and up)

Family Nature Program - Monarchs and Milkweed
Friday, August 22 at 12:30 pm
Monarch butterflies and several other insects rely on milkweed plans for their survival. Come beat the heat in the air-conditioned Interpretive Center and watch a DVD about monarch butterflies, and then take a short walk to search for milkweed plants and to discover what critters are living amongst their leaves. Meet at the Interpretive Center. (Families with children ages 5-10)

Night Insects
Saturday, August 23 at 8:00 pm
Late summer nights are filled with the sounds of insects. Come learn about katydids, crickets, moths and others. Bring a flashlight and we’ll go on an after-dark bug hunt. Meet at the Interpretive Center. (Families with children ages 6-11)

Family Nature Study - Boulders to Pebbles
Friday, August 29 at 11:00 am
High Point is a rocky place. In fact, if it weren’t for rocks, there would be no High Point, so come learn a bit about rocks and the geologic forces that shaped the mountain. Meet on the patio of the building by the beach. (Families with children ages 5-10)

Sunset Mountaintop Talk/Scavenger Hunt
Saturday, August 30 at 7:00 pm
Come watch the sunset from the highest spot in New Jersey. The park Interpretive Specialist will give a brief talk about the history of Kittatinny Mountain and will have scavenger hunts on hand for the kids. Meet by the steps to the Monument plaza.

July Programs

Lake Life – Sawmill Lake
Saturday, July 5 from 7:00 to 8:30 pm

What (and who) lives in Sawmill Lake? Borrow a net and join the park naturalist to find out. We’ll meet at the Sawmill Lake boat launch at 7:00 and will be netting in the Lake near campsite two—stop by any time.

Family Nature Program - Scavenger Hunt at the Monument
Friday, July 11 at 11:00 am

Come enjoy a birds-eye-view of the tri-state region and use all your senses to explore the unique ecology of the mountaintop by going on a scavenger hunt. Meet by the Monument plaza steps. (Families with children ages 5-10)

Bird Talk isn’t “Cheep”
Saturday, July 12 at 7:30 pm
Ever wonder what all the chirps, whistles, and squawks coming from the treetops mean? Come learn about bird songs and calls and find out what all the bird talk is about. Meet in the Interpretive Center. (Adults/Children age 8 and up)

Family Nature Program - Sawmill Lake Study
Friday, July 18 at 11:00 am
Come learn about the critters that call Sawmill Lake home and use a net to scoop up and observe some of the smaller swimmers. Meet at the Sawmill Lake boat launch. (Families with children ages 5-10)

Family Nature Program - Bugging Out
Friday, July 25 at 11:00 am
Get up-close and personal with some of High Point’s six-legged inhabitants. You’ll learn the basics about bugs and will be able to borrow a net to try your hand at bug catching. Meet in the Interpretive Center. (Families with children ages 5-10)

Going Batty
Saturday, July 26 at 7:30 pm
Come learn about these nocturnal mosquito-munching creatures through stories and games. We’ll also take a short walk to try to see these night-flyers in action. Flashlights optional. Meet in the Interpretive Center. (Families with children age 5 and up)