Nestled in the Appalachian Wilderness of New Jersey, Stokes State Forest attracts campers, hikers, and outdoor enthusiasts all over thanks to its many viewpoints and wild terrain. Spanning over 16,400 acres, visitors can expect exciting adventures crammed with tons of wilderness activities. Surprisingly, there’s a large range of amenities within the various campgrounds located throughout. In addition, there’s a host of unique geographic features to keep even the most dedicated busy for weeks.
Speaking of geography, there’s no shortage of terrain diversity here. For example, Sunrise Mountain towers 1,653 feet over the undeveloped New Jersey farmland to the East, as well as virgin mountain ranges and forests to the West. Located along the legendary Appalachian Trail, this mountain peak is the most frequently visited site in Stokes State Forest. If you’re not one to hike up the side of a mountain for a view, Sunrise Mountain Rd. traverses all the way to the top for those traveling in a vehicle.
Nestled below, the 500+ acre Tillman Ravine Natural Area is a green wonderland home to endangered species such as the Barred Owl. The ravine showcases world-class trails spanning throughout its terrain, complete with babbling brooks and overly-curious bears to dodge during your stay.
Additionally, Stokes State Forest is home to the Lake Ashroe Recreation Area which has an area for Kayaking and Paddle Board rentals. Even though there is no boat ramp, nearby Lake Ocquittunk is perfect for small, electric motor boats. In contrast, those looking for swimming should head to Stony Lake, which features lifeguards on duty and a great recreation area for picnicking.
Campgrounds are plentiful here, with four different areas to camp at depending on your needs. Shotwell to the East, and Steam Mills to the west both offer normal park amenities, and are perfect for tent campers, or people interested in camping in a lean-to. Just West of Shotwell, Haskin’s Group Camping Area consists of 9 group campsites perfect for groups of 10-65 depending on the campsite. Finally, Lake Ocquittunk has its own campground with reservable campsites, and cabins as well. Fees & permits vary here, so be sure to check the park website for more info.
Regardless of your interests, if you love the outdoors in any form you’re going to enjoy your stay here. Stokes State Forest literally offers everything an enthusiast could ever dream of doing. From its babbling creeks and forested ravines, to the breathtaking mountain peaks, this is an Appalachian camping experience you don’t want to miss out on.
Sussex county is beautiful. Stokes is such a peaceful campground! We stay in the cabins. It’s great to have the small kitchen when camping with the family. A must see campground.
The cabins by the lake are great! Very peaceful. Great hiking. Close to High Point. Dale’s market is great. Sunrise Mountain is a must. Close to Space Farms. Fishing is ok, changes year to year. Showers are nice. Nice place for families.
Stokes State Forest has four campgrounds. The Steam Mill Camping Area is tucked out the of the way and is the most primitive. It is the smallest of the campgrounds with 27 sites only suitable for tents or small trailers/campervans. No pets or alcohol allowed.
The campground has a pit toilet and a well. Each large campsite has a picnic table, fire pit, and lantern hook. Some sites also have a tent platform. Many sites are a bit rocky.
We selected site T219. It was a solid choice: private but close to the toilet and water. Some sites located around the opposite side of the ring back up to a babbling brook. The rushing water will soothe you to sleep.
Remember, this is bear country so proper food storage is a must. Bear lockers are not provided. The area also has ticks and rattlesnakes.
Outdoor activities in the area abound. Go fishing, hiking, biking, horseback riding, kayaking, and more. There are 21 marked trails that cover over 63 miles within the boundaries of Stokes State Forest. Twelve miles are part of the Appalachian Trail. Pick up a hiking map at the park office or download the Avenza Maps app.
This visit we hiked the Tillman Ravine trail (tip: make the trail a loop and visit both the ravine and the nearby old cemetery).
You can also drive or hike to Sunset Mountain Scenic Overlook for a view of High Point Monument. High Point Monument is the highest elevation in New Jersey and is located in High Point State Park which borders Stokes State Forest on the north. High Point State Park also offers camping, hiking, sightseeing opportunities. And, on the western border of Stokes State Forest is the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area. So, there is lots of outdoors to get out and explore!
We camped at the Steam Mill Camping Area in Stokes State Forest in our campervan over a chilly autumn weekend. We had the opportunity to cook some soup on our stovetop and chill out by the campfire. And, as Rangers for The Dyrt, we get products to test from time to time so we were psyched to try out some new dinnerware and cutlery. This included the FlexiBowl and GoBites from humangear.
What made these humangear products pretty awesome? Well, the fun colors to start. I mean, seriously, my orange bowl rules. The FlexiBowl also has some neat features: it’s flexible - just like the name suggests - and foldable. The bowl can be squished and stuffed anywhere. And, the top section can be folded down to create a smaller bowl. The FlexiBowl is versatile yet durable. It held my hearty, warm soup just perfectly.
I paired the FlexiBowl with one of the GoBites utensils (the Uno model). The Uno model is my favorite - it has a fork on one side and a spoon on the other side. Very simple and convenient. The other GoBites models include the Duo (separate fork and spoon that can snap together) and the Trio (a fork, spoon, and knife - with bottle opener - in a case).
PRO TIP: I keep the Trio GoBites model in my travel pack at all times. It recently came in handy on a (non-camping) trip to Sardinia. The knife on the Trio allowed me to slice some delicious local cheese to pair with bread, jam, and wine that was purchased from the grocery store. YUM.
If you’re a novice or experienced stokes is the place for you. They have tent sites, lean to sites, cabin sites, trailer/rv sites, and some of the home owners in the area rent their homes out. Ever since I found stokes about 4 years ago I haven’t went anywhere else. I truly can’t say enough good things about stokes. I generally stay at steammill, definitely check out the map and look at the location of each site. I definitely suggest staying in the outside of the circle the sites are bigger but tbh even when there’s people around it’s still an incredibly Peaceful place. Even to go there just for a hike is worth every second. Pictures posted are of both the site and the woods surrounding the site.
Stokes has a little bit of everything. It’s one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever been to. Each section that you hike through is like a fairy tale. It truly is such an amazing place. The people that live there are amazing I meet a new person every time I go, and the other campers are always incredibly respectful. Highly suggest that people go here.
Behins this particular site there is a beautiful creek that runs through most of the woods. It’s just such a serene place.
Stokes is the classic state forest camping, I’ve staying on group sites which are large and lots of fun to bring friends and family. Plenty of room to play games, volleyball, kickball, football are some we enjoy. Great hiking within the park and other local trails close by. Fresh drinking water! It’s so good! Bathrooms and property are clean, Rangers don’t tend to bother visitors, unless causing a issue/ruckus. The park has a no alcohol policy, however if your responsible and out of sight with it, it’s not an issue. Always a fun time at Stokes, lake with fishing, smaller sites and lean-toos are available.
My husband and I like to be it in the middle of no where. We have done backpacking trips in the past but this was he first REAL camping trip with our 2 year old and we felt like we had to keep him quiet, for the sake of others. It was a beautiful area, lots of things to do for the kids… we strayed away from the crowded areas and explored on our own.
Open most of year. Fun if u lik3 camping.
HAS SHOWERS … OPEN FIELDS … NOT MUCH TO DO
very quite park this time of year. cabins very well maintained. this particular cabin was very isolated and had a nice stream running by it. Sleep 8 guys for the weekend. No heat was needed.