Jugtown Mountain Nature Preserve
Mine Road,
Bethlehem Township, Hunterdon County, NJ
237 acres

Directions from the Clinton Area:

Take Route 78 west to exit 11. Proceed on Route 173 west for about 1.5 miles. Turn right onto Mine Road. Drive a little ways and make a left still continuing on Mine Road.  At 0.6 of a mile the park entrance will be on the left.

Directions from the Hampton Area:

Take Route 635 (also known as Charlestown Road) south to Mine Road. Turn left onto Mine Road and proceed for about 2 1/2 miles. The entrance to the park will be on the right.

It is interesting  and somewhat amusing that the preserve borders completely surround house #412. 


Located in the Musconetcong Mountains.  The  preserve is named after the rock crevices where mineworkers held parties and cooled their beverages on hot summer days.  (Another story says the name came from the fact that moonshiners hid their jugs to avoid government authorities during Prohibition.)


18th & 19th centuries  --  there were 41 known mines that were operated in Hunterdon County..

1868  -- founding of  the West End Iron Company, under the guidance of general manager, G.M. Miller, and superintendent, N.H. Heft.

The Swayze Mine was named after local citizen William Swayze who represented Hunterdon County in the New Jersey State Assembly.

Coming of the Lehigh Valley Railroad.  Mining operations prospered.

1880  --  the small village at the foot of the mountain changed its name from Bethlehem to West End, to conform to the name of the company. The town had a general store, a post office, a sawmill, a blacksmith and wagon shop, a tailor shop, a school, and two churches.

1881  --  an aerial wire rope tramway installed to transport ore down the north side of the mountain to where it was carted half a mile south to the Valley Station of the Central Railroad of New Jersey.

1884  --  an abundant supply of iron deposits in the western US made it unprofitable to continue operations in New Jersey.

1889  --  the West End Iron Company closed and the village changed its name to West Portal, after the Musconetcong train line terminus.

c. 1939  --  Harry M. Roche, president of the West Portal Mines, Inc., decided to open the Swayze Mine again.

c. 1943  --  because men were needed to fight WW II, the Swayze Mine close after it had yielded around 253,000 tons of ore and employed 250 men.

Foundations from the mine buildings are still visible, as are rock pits and ore dumps.

2003  --  the Laura Trepani estate of 85 acres on Mine Road purchased.


History of the Jugtown Mountain Nature Preserve; Harbinger: Hunterdon County Department of Parks and Recreation

Hunterdon County, in cooperation with Hunterdon Land Trust Alliance and Bethlehem Township, purchased 85 wooded acres on the Musconetcong Mountain ridgeline, to be added to 150 contiguous acres as part of the Hunterdon Co. Park System. The Estate of Laura Trepani sold the land for $562,000 in a ‘bargain sale.’ Part of the Musconetcong River and Mullhockaway Creek watersheds, the property will provide a link between the Spruce Run Wildlife Management Area and Musconetcong Gorge County Park.

Hunterdon Co., Hunterdon Land Trust Alliance, and Bethlehem Twp. will add the 85-acre wooded Minchella parcel on the Musconetcong Mt. ridgeline to a contiguous 150-acre parcel to form the new Jugtown Mt. County Park. The parcel, obtained in a bargain sale from the Estate of Laura Trepani, is part of the Musconetcong and Mullhockaway watersheds and is traversed by the Highlands Trail.

(Source: The Highlands Coalition’s quarterly newsletter "High Grounds" Summer 2003 published by the Association of New Jersey Environmental Commissions (ANJEC); http://www.highlandscoalition.org/highground.htm)


Jugtown Mountain offers a moderate hiking opportunity, mountain biking and horseback riding.  There are locations which provide an overlook of  the Musconetcong Watershed.


The forest canopy is dominated by Red Oaks and Tulip Trees. The understory consists of Sassafras Trees and Spicebush.


Juggtown Mountain Nature Preserve: Trail Map and Guide. http://www.co.hunterdon.nj.us/pdf/parks/Jugtown.pdf.


4/09/2005.  Rosemary Cooney, Ceferino Santana, dog Sonar and I parked in the huge parking area.  We follow the white trail markers northwest to the crest of the mountain and down the other side.  There is a great view of farmland set in a valley (somewhat blocked by the trees.)  My wife and brother-in-law did not want to continue because the descent was quite steep and they knew they would probably have to come back up the same steep slope.  So I went down by myself.  Near the bottom I had a choice of continuing straight on the original trail or turning left.  I continued straight, but did not get very far because the multiflora rose and Japanese barberry proved too much of a barrier.  So I returned up slope to take that left hand trail.  This trail was more open.  When I started getting close to Route 173 (and could see US 80 in the background) I turned around and walked back to my fellow hikers. 

We had passed a trail on the right not far from the original trail entrance, and so I decided to walk down it, while my compatriots went back to the parking lot.  The trail heads north, then takes a left (northwest turn) and back to north. Then it began descending.  (I don't really know but it looks as if it was also heading down to the other side of the mountain.)  I'll have to come back by myself so I can explore the trails more. Dr. Patrick L. Cooney.

Dr. Patrick L. Cooney
* = blooming on date of field trip 4/09/2005

Acer rubrum (red maple) *
Ailanthus altissima (tree of heaven)
Betula lenta (black birch)
Betula populifolia (gray birch)
Carya cordiformis (bitternut hickory)
Carya sp. (hickory)
Claytonia virginica (spring beauty) *
Fagus grandifolia (American beech)
Liriodendron tulipifera (tulip tree)
Populus grandidentata (big-toothed aspen)
Quercus alba (white oak)
Quercus prinus (chestnut oak)
Quercus rubra (red oak)
Quercus velutina (black oak)
Sassafras albidum (sassafras)

Berberis thunbergii (Japanese barberry)
Euonymus alatus (winged euonymus)
Hamamelis virginiana (witch hazel)
Ligustrum sp. (privet)
Lindera benzoin (spice bush)
Rosa multiflora (multiflora rose)
Rubus occidentalis (black raspberry)
Rubus phoenicolasius (wineberry)
Viburnum prunifolium (blackhaw viburnum)
Vinca minor (periwinkle)

Lonicera japonica (Japanese honeysuckle)
Smilax sp. (greenbrier)
Toxicodendron radicans (poison ivy)
Vitis sp. (grape)

Alliaria petiolata (garlic mustard)
Allium vineale (field garlic)
Artemisia vulgaris (common mugwort)
Cardamine parviflora (few-flowered bittercress) *
Cirsium sp. (thistle)
Daucus carota (Queen Anne's lace)
Geum canadense (white avens)
Impatiens sp. (jewelweed)
Podophyllum peltatum (mayapple)
Potentilla sp. (cinquefoil)
Sanguinaria canadensis (bloodroot) *
Scilla siberica (blue squill) *
Symplocarpus foetidus (skunk cabbage)
Taraxacum officinale (common dandelion)
Verbascum thapsus (common mullein)
Veronica persica (Persian speedwell) *

Microstegium vimineum (Japanese stilt grass)
Setaria faberi (nodding foxtail grass)

Dryopteris marginalis (marginal woodfern)
Onoclea sensibilis (sensitive fern)
Polystichum acrostichoides (Christmas fern)