Sunfish Pond

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Sunfish Pond
Location Worthington State Forest, Hardwick Township, New Jersey
Coordinates 41°00′11″N 75°04′23″W / 41.003043°N 75.073099°W / 41.003043; -75.073099Coordinates: 41°00′11″N 75°04′23″W / 41.003043°N 75.073099°W / 41.003043; -75.073099
Type Glacial
Primary outflows Dunnfield creek, tributary of Delaware River
Basin countries United States
Surface area 44 acres (18 ha)
Surface elevation

1,379 ft (420 m)

Designated: January 1970

Sunfish Pond is a 44-acre (18 ha) glacial lake surrounded by a 258-acre (104 ha) hardwood forest located on the Kittatinny Ridge within Worthington State Forest, adjacent to the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area in Warren County, New Jersey. The Appalachian Trail runs alongside the western and northern edges of the pond. It was created by the Wisconsin Glacier during the last ice age. The pond was declared a National Natural Landmark in January 1970.[1]


The land was purchased by Charles C. Worthington who used the forest as a deer hunting preserve; the pond supplied water to his mansion.[2]

In 1965, there was a plan to create a reservoir which would have covered the pond. Casey Kayes, a local custodian, led 655 people on a hike to protest the plan. Further hikes and letter campaigns caused the power companies that owned the land to donate it to the state in 1966.[3] Supreme Court Justice William O. Douglas mentioned the pond in his dissenting opinion in the Sierra Club v. Morton case.[4]

Flora and fauna[edit]

The pond is surrounded by stands of mountain laurel, sheep laurel, and Cunila origanoides. Nearby are fields of Symphoricarpos orbiculatus.[2]


It is a popular hiking destination. Several trails reach the pond, including the Appalachian Trail, which runs alongside the western and northern edges of the pond.[5] It is the southernmost glacial tarn along that trail.

The shortest distance is 1.5 miles from the trailhead. The trails are steep and rocky in places. There is no swimming in the pond. There is a Leave No Trace campground about 1/4 mile away, but proper food precautions must be followed since black bears are active in the area.

There is a collection of ad hoc primitive rock artworks (cairns) along the northwestern shore.[6] As of May 27, 2012, many of these piles of rocks have been pushed over.


  1. ^ "National Natural Landmark Summary". NPS. Feb 5, 2004. Retrieved 2009-03-19. 
  2. ^ a b "Hiking Sunfish Pong". Retrieved 2009-03-19. 
  3. ^ Brill, Douglas B. (February 1, 2009). "Casey Kays, considered founder of environmental movement in New Jersey, is dead at 85". Retrieved 2009-03-19. 
  4. ^ "SIERRA CLUB v. MORTON 405 U.S. 727 (1972)". Supreme Court of the United States. 1972. Retrieved 2009-03-19. 
  5. ^ "Appalachian Trail: Sunfish Pond & Mount Mohican". Retrieved 2009-03-19. 
  6. ^ "Sunfish pond". Retrieved 2009-03-19. 

External links[edit]