Stokes State Forest, Kittatinny Mountains, Sussex County, NJ


From NYC, take I-80 about 40 miles west to exit 34. Head northwest 20 miles on Route 15. Continue northwest on US 206 for 8.5 miles to Struble Road 0.3 mile beyond the forest office. Turn left at the sign for the Kittatinny Boy Scout Reservation. Go west 4.3 miles. Park on the left in the Upper Falls Parking Area.

This ravine borders a road which runs from Wallpack Center through Stokes State Forest to Route 206; there are two parking areas on this road marked Tillman Falls Recreation Area and Tillman Falls Scenic Area.

north: Kittatinny Lake and Culver Lake separated by Culver's Gap, then Normanook Lookout Tower and Sunrise Mountain
south: Wallpack Center and Buttermilk Falls


West of the ridge crest the forest sits upon the High Falls formation, consisting of alternating red-green and olive colored sandstones and shales. In the higher elevations the softer red shales predominate, with the top layer being concealed by varying thicknesses of glacial till. The lower beds of the High Falls formation contain red quartzitic sandstones. Transition from the Shawangunk to the High Falls is not sharply defined but occurs very gradually. Excellent examples of the High Falls formation can be observed in the rock outcrops along Coursen Road and in Tillman Ravine. (Guide to Stokes State Forest p 2)

Tillman's Brook arises from springs on the Kittatinny Ridge. The brook cuts through reddish shales and sandstones. These sediments were deposited on the vast plain of a river delta at the edge of an inland sea that existed here about 420 million years ago. The sedimentary rock was lifted, cracked, and bent in several long and intense periods of mountain-building during the upheavals that created the Appalachians.

At the falls, as the water strikes the bottom, it swirls sand and pebbles against the bedrock, this swirling action wearing away a bowl, which gradually deepens. Three stages of the process are visible. A horseshoe-shaped basin at the bottom of the falls is an old pothole; the stream has finally broken through the outer lip. (50 Hikes in New Jersey)

Up one step is a deep, rounded pothole, the Teacup -- roughly six feet in diameter, a favorite spot for many visitors near the bottom of the ravine.


One of the most readily accessible hemlock stands. Some of the tall hemlocks are 150 years old. Hemlock ravines are noted for their dense shade, provided by mature trees, and for the acidity of their soils, to which both the underlying stone (sandstone in this case) and the hemlocks themselves contribute.
stand of red and white pine planted in 1932
red squirrel amidst hemlocks

Dr. Patrick L. Cooney

Acer rubrum (red maple)
Acer saccharum (sugar maple)
Betula alleghaniensis (yellow birch)
Betula lenta (black birch)
Betula populifolia (gray birch)
Carya glabra (pignut hickory)
Carya ovata (shagbark hickory)
Carya tomentosa (mockernut hickory)
Castanea dentata (American chestnut)
Cornus florida (flowering dogwood)
Crataegus spp. (hawthorn)
Fagus grandifolia (American beech)
Fraxinus americana (white ash)
Juglans nigra (black walnut)
Juniperus communis (common juniper)
Juniperus virginiana (red cedar)
Liriodendron tulipifera (tulip tree)
Nyssa sylvatica (tupelo)
Ostrya virginiana (eastern hop hornbeam)
Pinus resinosa (red pine)
Pinus strobus (white pine)
Pinus rigida (pitch pine)
Platanus occidentalis (American sycamore)
Prunus serotina (black cherry)
Pyrus malus (crab apples)
Quercus alba (white oak)
Quercus prinus (chestnut oak)
Quercus rubra (red oak)
Quercus velutina (black oak)
Populus tremuloides (quaking aspen)
Rhus typhina (staghorn sumac)
Sassafras albidum (sassafras)
Tilia americana (American basswood)
Tsuga canadensis (eastern hemlock)
Ulmus americana (American elm)

Shrubs and Sub-Shrubs:
Chimaphila maculata (spotted wintergreen)
Chimaphila umbellata (pipsissewa)
Gaultheria procumbens (teaberry)
Hamamelis virginica (witch hazel)
Kalmia angustifolia (sheep laurel)
Kalmia latifolia (mountain laurel)
Lindera benzoin (spicebush)
Mitchella repens (partridge berry)
Rhododendron maximum (rosebay rhododendron)
Vaccinium spp. (blueberries)

Anemonella thalictroides (rue anemone)
Arisaema triphyllum (jack-in-the-pulpit)
Baptisia tinctoria (wild indigo)
Cypripedium acaule (pink lady's slipper)
Epigaea repens (trailing arbutus)
Erythronium americanum (trout lily)
Hepatica americana (round-leaved hepatica)
Hieracium venosum (rattlesnake hawkweed)
Hypoxis hirsuta (yellow star grass)
Lysimachia quadrifolia (whorled loosestrife)
Maianthemum canadense (Canada mayflower)
Monotropa uniflora (Indian pipe)
Podophyllum peltatum (may apple)
Polygonatum biflorum (smooth Solomon's seal)
Prunella vulgaris (self-heal)
Ranunculus acris (tall buttercup)
Silene armeria (sweet William catchfly)
Symplocarpus foetidus (skunk cabbage)
Viola pubescens (yellow forest violet)