Ascent of Preakness Mountain on 2011-07-28
|Date:||Thursday, July 28, 2011|
|Ascent Type:||Successful Summit Attained|
| Location:||USA-New Jersey|
| Elevation:||862 ft / 262 m|
Ascent Trip ReportFrom NJ-208 just east of I-287, take the High Mountain Road exit south for a couple of miles and turn right onto Scioto Drive. Take the first left onto Navaho Trail, the second right onto Apache Road, then the first left onto Winding Hollow Drive. Go 0.3 miles to the roundabout that connects Winding Hollow Dr. to Reservoir Drive, and park. The roundabout can also be approached from High Mountain Road via Reservoir Dr., 0.7 west from the junction opposite the Haledon Reservoir.
See a very obvious trailhead leaving from the roundabout. That is the yellow trail heading southeast to High and Cecchino Mountains. The trailhead for Preakness Mountain, also labeled as Beech Mountain on some maps, is a few feet west of the roundabout, off Winding Hollow and opposite house #611, and is the continuation of the yellow trail, but heading southwest.
From the trailhead, one could probably bushwhack straight up the steep hill to the summit, but I followed the trail, which ramps up the hill to a crest about 1/4 mile south of the summit. From there it's an easy bushwhack through very open woods to the top. As the summit ridge climbs from the trail crest, it forms sort of a double top, with higher ground to the left. The less promising line to the right is where you want to go, and keeping to the right (eastern) side of the ridge will keep you on line. There are a couple of bumps at the top that are candidates for the true summit, and I built a small cairn on my favorite. Retrace the bushwhack back to the trail, keeping on the left edge of the ridge all the way.
Note that "Preakness" is actually the name of the range, and that the summit is marked on USGS topos only with an 862' spot elevation. The entire High Mountain Reservation, with all hiking trails shown, is covered best on the Jersey Highlands Trails, Central North Region, map #125, published by the NY-NJ Trail Conference.
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