Hike to Devil’s Half-Acre Boulders in the Sourland Mountain Preserve

Sourland Mountain Preserve - Search Nearby - Added by Khürt Williams

Easy to moderate hiking over boardwalks and through the boulders of Devil’s Half Acre and Roaring Rocks.

On Good Friday, my wife Bhavna and I went for a hike in the Sourland Mountain Range. We drove over to the Sourland Mountain Preserve, located between Hillsborough Township and Montgomery Township in Somerset County. The large parking area near the pond was nearly full. I think local residents wanted to enjoy the incredible spring weather we have had this week. Clear, sunny skies with temperatures in the teens (ºC).

Located in Somerset and Hunterdon Counties, the Sourland Mountain Range is aptly named. The underlying geology, igneous rock from the Late Triassic and Early Jurassic age, was not able to support the farming and living needs of the early Dutch and German settlers to the area. One Wikipedia suggests that the name may be derived from the word ‘sorrel’ which German explorers used to describe the reddish-brown soils in the area or “sauer landt” because the region was not suitable for farming by 17th-century Dutch settlers.

We have hiked other trails in the Sourland Mountain Preserve but we wanted to try something new. I suggested that we hike the Ridge Trail to Devil’s Half-Acre Boulders, the most popular bouldering area in the Sourland Mountain Preserve. Devil’s Half-Acre Boulders is a fairly open section of the mountain with a cluster of boulders among the trees. There’s also a handful of isolated boulders nearby the main cluster which I could not resist climbing.

It took us about 30 minutes get to the boulders of Devil’s Half Acre, with the trail winding steeply through interestingly shaped rock formations with trees growing through cracks and crevices. The park is 12.24 km2 (3,025 acres) but we used one of the connecting trails to shorten the trip back from Devil’s Half-Acre Boulders. We hiked about half of the 8.0 km (5-mile) Ridge Trail. According to my iPhone, we hiked about 2.6 km and climbed the equivalent of 21 floors. My calves ached from the exercise.

The Sourland Mountain Preserve is “home to several rare and threatened plants and animals, including: trout lilies, wood anemones, ginseng, spotted salamander, pileated woodpecker, bobcat, wood turtle, barred owl, bobolink, Cooper’s hawk, grasshopper sparrow, Savannah sparrow, upland sandpiper, and the scarlet tanager.”

Along the sides of the trail, I saw a number of wildflowers including Spring Beauty, Rue Anemone (thalictrum thalictroides), and Bloodroot (sanguinaria canadensis). 
Original post "Hike to the Devil’s Half-Acre Boulders in the Sourland Mountain Preserve" by Khürt Williams appeard on Island in the Net.

Distance

1.6 Miles RT

Type

Loop

Activities

Rock Climbing, Photography, Mountain Biking, Running, Backpacking, Hiking

Dog Friendly
Easy Parking
Family Friendly
Forest
Wildflowers

Nearby Lodging

From $120/night

Bearkill Brook

Readington Township, New Jersey

From $180/night

Congress Hill Farm

Monroe Township, New Jersey

From $130/night

Nockamixon Forest Camp

Ottsville, Pennsylvania

From $120/night

Riverhouse Farm

Mount Bethel, Pennsylvania

We want to acknowledge and thank the past, present, and future generations of all Native Nations and Indigenous Peoples whose ancestral lands we travel, explore, and play on. Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures and follow local regulations. Please explore responsibly!

Reviews

Leave a Review

Overall rating:  Rate this Adventure

Have you done this adventure? Leave a review!

Nearby Adventures

Adventure

Hike through the Sourland Mountain Preserve

Adventure

Hike the Mountain Lakes Nature Preserve

Adventure

Visit the Princeton Battlefield Park Suspension Bridge

Adventure

Hike the Baldpate Mountain Loop

More Nearby Adventures