Stairway to Heaven to Pinwheel Vista was one of those hikes that I had on my to-do list for over a year, it was one of the first that I added to my 52 Hike Potential list when I decided to take on the challenge. It’s one of those hikes that you simply must do if you have the chance.
Hike 45 stats:
Date: November 5, 2016
Distance: 8.43 miles
Total Ascent: 1,408′
Highlights: Appalachian Trail, cow pasture, stairway to heaven, pinwheel vista
I parked the Jeep along RT 517 near the start of the AT boardwalk section. There are specific places to park along 517 and the surrounding streets; if you want a place to park and don’t want to get ticketed or towed, get there early to get a legal spot.
The boardwalks, suspension bridge, and hardwood forest would make for an amazing hike itself – but the real fun begins once you cross the train tracks.
Once across the tracks and into the cow field, you get your first unobstructed view of the second half of of the first half of this out and back hike – Wawayanda Mountain.
Once I got over the tracks, across the street and back into the woods – the trail travels through an awesome group of mature beach trees and into the boulder field at the bottom of the mountain.
The climb up Stairway to heaven is steep at times, but absolutely incredible. Most of the hike includes boulder hoping or climbing up the boulder stairs until you reach the top at Pinwheel Vista.
The views from the top were absolutely stunning – I hung out up here for about 20 minutes and watched the clouds roll in over the ridge-line in the distance. When the sky cleared up, I could see the Highpoint State Park monument in the distance.
I continued on the Appalachian Trail for a bit longer, checked out the Old AT Vista mailbox and followed a side (not well marked trail) into the woods in search of the lesser known vista. After getting a bit lost in the woods, I headed back towards Pinwheel and began my decent. The hike down was as awesome as the hike up – and certainly worth the effort for anyone looking for an awesome hike in Northern New Jersey.