Thru Hike the Four Birds Trail

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Distance

19 Miles

Elevation Gain

1200 Feet

Activities

Photography, Hiking

Skill

Advanced

Season

Spring, Summer, Autumn

Type

Point-to-Point

Forest
Lake
Scenic
Wildlife

This hike offers some great views along several ridges and then down along a remote section of a reservoir for more views. This is seldom hiked as a through hike. Sections are usually done in conjunction with other trails for loops or can be done in sections as out and back hikes.

The Four Birds Trail is about 19 miles long and is a great thru hike or can be done in sections as out and back hikes or part of loop hikes with other trails.  Starting from the north, the trail ascends gradually over easy terrain until you reach a cliff ridge.  There are several good view points to the east.  The trail (marked with white blazes) parallels a forest road.  It is best to stay on the travel and not use the forest road because the Four Birds Trail will eventually descend away from the forest road.  After your first descent from the ridge, the trail will cross two other  forest roads.  The trail can be difficult to find in this section.  Watch for blazes (or download the route here). After crossing a boulder filled marsh area you begin to ascend your second ridge.  As you near the edge of this ridge you'll cross another forest road that this trail will parallel.  The trail is not on the forest road!  he trail follows very close to the cliff edge.  After descending this second reach you'll reach a stream with a wood plank crossing and soon after you'll reach Green Pond Road. This section is 3.5 miles and a good place to turn back for an out and back.

If not, cross Green Pond Road and re-enter the forest passing a kiosk with a trail map.  The trail ascend gradually for about 1.5 miles until you reach another ridge with an outstanding view point.  Turn right and follow a forest road for about 3/4 of a mile.  Watch for the white blazes as the trail turns to the right, off the forest road as it descends the ridge.  This section is rocky and difficult to navigate.  Some trail blazes are set off the trail further than expected.  After another 3/4 of a mile you'll reach Timberbrook Pond. The trail turns left and follows the shoreline for about a 1/2 mile until you reach a junction with the Timberbrook Trail (yellow blazes).  This section along the pond has a marked alternate route if the water level is too high.  This junction is a good place for an out and back if you parked on Green Pond Road.

If you continue the thru hike, the trail makes a sharp left at the Timberbrook Trail junction.  Follow the trail for about 1.5 miles over varied rocky terrain, until you reach the top of "Riley's Rise," a small hill overlooking the north end on Splitrock Reservoir. The trail turns sharply right and steeply descends a rocky trail to an open forest area.  After about 3/4 mile from Riley's Rise, you reach a trail junction with the Winnebago Trail (yellow blazes).

Continue south on the Four Birds for 3 miles.  Most of this section follows the shore line of Split Rock Reservoir and has some great view points.  The trail then begins to climb a ridge and in one mile you reach Split Rock Road.  The trail continues on the other side of the road.  This last section does not offer any view points and is rocky at times.  The trail ends on Green Pond road, further southwest from where you started. 

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures and follow local regulations.

Nearby Lodging

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Sparta Township, New Jersey

From $125/night

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Distance

19 Miles

Elevation Gain

1200 Feet

Activities

Photography, Hiking

Skill

Advanced

Season

Spring, Summer, Autumn

Type

Point-to-Point

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