Section 7 of the Appalachian Trail takes hikers through the entirety of New Jersey and New York. This section is unique in that it’s very easy to do as a standalone section hike as well (one I’ve considered in the past). The start is a short bus ride from NYC to the New Jersey border and the end walks you right past a train station that takes you directly to Manhattan. Many hikers like to take side trips to the city during this section for that reason and get a vacation from the trail. I plan to visit family near Bear Mountain … which is the lowest elevation point of the trail … but other than that, it’s onward and upward to New England. Hello Neiman!
- Start of Section: Delaware Water Gap (1294.7)
- End of Section: Kent / Connecticut Border (1468.4)
- Total Miles: 173.7
- Total Days: 10
- Avg Daily Miles: 17.3
- Town Stops: 2
General Strategy for Section 7
- 1296.0 – Delaware Water Gap is a nice sized trail town along the Delaware River. Continuing along the river for a couple miles, you have very limited elevation change and a few landmarks to look out for. The Kittatinny Visitor Center is first at 1296.0, followed by a 0.3m trail to the Mohican Outdoor Center at 1305.5. Good place to stock up on a hot meal on the way out of town.
- 1326.0 – After some VERY small “mountains” that see 500 ft of elevation change at best, you come to the Stony Brook Trail with a 1-mile side trail to Stony Lake and some free showers. By this point in the hike, any excuse for a shower should be considered.
- 1346.2 – Unionville, NY has a small village office that allows hikers to set up a tent for the night while they enjoy this small trail town. Not too much, but does have a store for resupply, a deli or pizza place for lunch, and a tavern for dessert. I’ll need to stop here for the night and resupply for a few days. I wonder how many people ask to fill water bottles and camelbacks from the beer taps. I’m not saying I will, but I’m not saying I won’t.
- 1359.0 – Queue the music, because climbing up this south side of Wawayanda Mountain is called “Stairway to Heaven”. Boardwalks through marshlands, then stone steps and switchbacks to one of the best viewpoints in NJ called Pinwheel Vista. From here you can view the Kittatinny Mountains in the distance, farms in the valley below, and on a clear day, High Point Monument.
- 1367.1 – Cross the NJ/NY border to The Empire State, your 9th state of the trek.
- 1404.0 – Bear Mountain, Fort Montgomery, and the Hudson River. This part of NY is an important milestone, as it is technically the lowest point on the trail. Many people stay in Bear Mountain to enjoy the many hotels, restaurants, and sights, and did I mention there is a Museum and Zoo? I plan to meet family there for some time off-trail before crossing the Hudson River and continuing north.
- 1411.3 – Graymoor Spiritual Life Center. Hikers are invited to sleep for free at this monastery’s ball field picnic shelter, and leverage the privy and shower. I don’t know why, but this feels more like a homeless shelter than a hiker hostel, but if hosting hikers after 3 months of walking … is there really a difference?
- 14325.1 – If the spiritual life center isn’t for you, walk another dozen miles to Clarence Fahnestock State Park for a free night of camping along Canopus Lake.
- 1447.6 – Just a couple miles past Pawling, look to the north side of County Rd 20/West Dover Road to see Dover Oak, the largest oak tree on the Appalachian Trail. With a girth of 20′ 4″, this tree is estimated to be over 300 years old and is a good Kodak moment for the day.
- 1450.0 – The Appalachian Trail North Metro Railroad Station here will take you directly to the Big Apple.
- 1462,2 – Welcome to Connecticut!
And that’s it! At mile 1468.4, you can take a short 0.8m side trip to the east along Macedonia Rd (CT 341) to Kent, CT. Kent is the official end of this section and has a nice trail town for hikers to enjoy. The Kent Welcome Center provides restrooms and hot showers, phone charging, water fill-up, and recently erected a new sculpture to honor thru-hikers. Unfortunately, I don’t plan to stay in this town, as I have a deadline to finish Section 8 before June 21. Connecticut, Massachusetts, Vermont, and New Hampshire are next! Hello Neiman!