Old Mine Road is a scenic route recorded in the National Register of Historic Places and is considered to be one of the oldest roads in the United States, running 104 miles from the southern most point at Kittatinny Point Visitor Center in Hardwick Township, NJ to Kingston, NY.
The most pristine and historic segment of this route is in New Jersey covering a length 40 miles through The Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area in Northwest New Jersey.
In New Jersey, Old Mine Road is a tar road, passing through a largely undeveloped area over mostly two lanes (with segments dropping down to one lane) from the Delaware Water Gap to to the New York State line at Montague Township in Sussex County, and crossing over the New York State line at Port Jervis, NY, the road becomes a multi-lane NY highway to Kingston, NY.
Due to substantial flooding along the Delaware River in 1955, the US Army Corps of Engineers was able to secure approval from congress in 1962 to construct a dam at Tocks Island to provide for flood control of the region.
Subsequent to obtaining approval for the construction of the dam, the land bordering the Delaware River was acquired by the U.S Government. However, largely due to protests by environmentalists, local residents, and historians, the authorization was overturned and the dam construction was averted.
As a result of this de authorization and reversion, the area is now left more pristine than it was 50 years ago. With the expected construction of the Tocks Island Dam–Reservoir, almost all of the property owners in the area were forced to sell out and move away.
The building of the dam-reservoir would have wiped out all traces of history and human lively hood in this scenic valley.
In its early history, this road was traveled by Lenape Indians, Dutch miners, and Revolutionary War soldiers. In the 17th century, Dutch settlers mined copper ore from the Pahaquarry Copper Mine located in a scenic ravine approximately six miles north of the Kittatinny Point Visitor Center.
To transport the ore to Kingston, NY on the Hudson River, the miners constructed the road that is today known as the Old Mine Road. Much of the roads history remains in doubt and often debated, especially as to where the southern most point began markers are placed to identify that the road began as an Indian trail.
Today the road is a popular scenic attraction for motorists, bicyclists, hikers, backpackers, and historians. This is a one day trip that will take you to historic sites, Revolutionary War and Civil War cemeteries, the ruins of old copper mines, and beautiful vistas of forested hills and farmlands.
In the past, Old Mine Road has changed course
many times. Originally, the road was routed near the Delaware river and since the 1950s there have been several reroutings.
One of the reroutings is a 250 yard segment in Sandyston Township that is now gated by land owners who in 2007 acquired a 122 acres of farm land extending from the river to land on the east side of Old Mine Road. This battle over legal rights of this section of the road is still in the courts between the Federal Authorities and the owners of the farm -- the Hull Family. Until this issue is finally settled, visitors must bypass the historic road through the center of the arts and crafts village of Peter's Valley before re-entering onto Old Mine Road.
The road, especially in the southern end for the first ten miles can be a rough ride with pot holes, speed limits dropping down to 15 mph and traffic lights controlling two-way traffic on the one way lane segments.
Old Mine Road is popular on weekends in spring, summer, and fall, It's natural scenery and sereneness make for a great autumn scenic trip.
If you are looking to take a break and have a bite to eat, stop off at Walpack Inn in Walpack Center on Rt 615, about two miles from the Village of Millbrook.
From the restaurant dining room you can get some great scenic views, and if you're lucky, some wildlife that occasionally strolls by. They are open on Fridays and Saturdays for dinner, and for lunch and dinner on Sundays.
A suggested route is to start at the Southern most point at the Kittatinny Point Visitor Center. You can reach the Kittatinny Point Visitor Center by going westbound on I-80 in New Jersey, get off at exit 1 Millbrook/Flatbrookville, turn Left at the stop sign, bearing to the right for 0.6 miles. Turn right into visitor center parking lot.