Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Appalachian Trail NJ: AMC Mohican Outdoor Center

Our second night out on our 2011 section hike the Appalachian Trail in New Jersey found us at the Appalachian Mountain Club's (AMC) Mohican Outdoor Center about ten miles north of the Delaware Water Gap.

Our one night visit left us surprised in many ways, both good and bad.

Unlike our first long distance section hike of the Appalachian Trail in Maryland, our first day ended not in thirst and leg cramps, but tired yet with a reserve of energy. So we were ready when we descended downhill towards the sound of running water. After a brief episode of rock hopping and crossing a wooden bridge, we found ourselves at a gray gravel road with a large green sign marking the entrance gate of the AMC Mohican Outdoor Center. A turn to the west and a short walk brought us to the large lodge building pictured above. We noticed a water spigot next to the garage across the gravel road and helped ourselves to pure water while cooling off. We doffed our pack onto one of several large benches along the road and walked up to the lodge entrance. Lights were out and no one answered our call. A local chasing his dog mentioned the caretaker was at a cabin and would likely return shortly.

Our host returned and we asked "What were the options for spending the night?" We could pay $9 to camp or considerably more for a cabin. We opted to pay the $9 to camp, paid an extra $1 for a cold Mountain Dew soda, and wandered towards the tent camping area. (In hindsight, being freshly showered and shaved from the church hostel and asking that particular question may have been a poor decision as long distance AT hikers generally camp for free.)

The tent camping area is located just past and behind the main lodge. A narrow trail winds through thick underbrush and trees. From time to time a clearing appears on either side of the trail with old wooden picnic tables. As we hang in a hammock at night we opted for site #3 which had well spaced trees with a BearSaver bear box and the privy not too far away. As this was a weekday evening in the first week of May we had the entire tenting area to ourselves. Close to dark we spotted several small deer feasting on the underbrush along the trail.

The next morning we broke camp, dropped by the lodge to "check out" and sign the log book.

Getting there

North bound hikers (NOBOs) will be coming downhill through the Delaware Water Gap NRA. After crossing the wooden bridge, make a left turn west and head up the gravel road to the lodge.

South bound hikers (SOBOs) will have left Catfish fire tower and will be traversing a ridgeline with wonderful views of New Jersey to the east. Coming sharply downhill, the trail will angle west and you'll also pass by at least one stealth camp site until you hear running water and emerge onto the gravel road. Make a right turn west and head up the drive to the AMC lodge.


$9 - Tent camping or hammocking
$3 - Indoor toilet and shower
$1 - Canned soda (Coke, Mt Dew)


Resupplying at the Mohican Outdoor Center is only viable for SOBOs who have run out of food, as NOBOs should have picked up supplies in Delaware Water Gap or nearby East Stroudsburg in Pennsylvania one or two days before. The Mohican Outdoor Center can provide water, canned sodas, candy bars, and sandwiches. Between those, you should have sufficient calories to get another 10 miles south to Delaware Water Gap, the best resupply point for over 50 miles in either direction.

The lodge also sells t-shirts and several other visitor center styled items such as wildlife guides and maps.

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