jaystreetcrr wrote:Last weekend my 7 year old son and I went exploring the iron mine railroads. All of the following descriptions will make more sense if you're looking at NYNJ Trail Conference Map #103 East Hudson Trails. We parked on Route 301 at the Charcoal Burners Trail and started south. After less than a mile we hit the Old Mine Railroad trail and headed east.
It looked like it had been used as a jeep or logging road, a little wider than the Appalachian Trail section to the east, but still had that railroad grade look with built up retaining walls and stone culverts.
At Hidden Lake the grade continured east through an off-limits area while the trail got sketchy to the south.
After some bushwhacking we came to the Lakes trail, then bushwhacked over a ridge to the Sunk Mine. It's a nice scary shaft, rotten timbers and cave-ins, going down at a 45 degree angle. We hung out a while then went downhill to the rock dump by the swamp, through insane swarms of mosquitos (bring bug spray! we picked up some ticks too) There's a lot of interesting looking rocks there and the Reading Prong iron ore vein down through New Jersey contains a lot of interesting minerals.
Heading southwest from the Sunk Mine we found two parallel grades, seperated by about five feet of retaining wall. I'm guessing that one was the mine railroad and one was a wagon road. Near the Hamilton Mine the grade was obliterated by the present day Sunk Mine Road. There was some light T-rail sticking out of the flooded Hamilton mineshaft that looked a little newer than post Civil War...maybe this mine was worked later though I thought everything was played out by the late 1800s. After checking out the Denny Mine we made our way back to our car on the Charcoal Burners Trail, leaving me to speculate on the route of the Sunk Mine railroad to Dump Hill at #301...but that's another hike.
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