Jenny Jump NJ State Forest

Jenny Jump Swans
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Jenny Jump’s Eerie History

Jenny Jump State Forest in New Jersey is surrounded by spooky names. The entrance is on Shades of Death Road. Within the park are Ghost Lake and Faery Cave.  Then there is the park’s own name…Jenny Jump. Where did these weird names come from?

Jenny Jump Ghost Lake

The names all have their roots in local legends. The State Park itself takes its name from a tragic colonial-era tale. Back in settler days, a man and his daughter, Jenny, were up on the ridge picking berries. Lenape Indians suddenly attacked them. In desperation, the father then yelled to Jenny to escape by jumping. She then jumped off the cliff to her death.

Jenny Jump Lily

How did Shades of Death Road get its name? There are a few theories.  One claims that settlers threw the bodies of murdered Indians into the lake along the road. The mist rising from the lake is thought to be the spirits of the dead. This story explains both Ghost Lake and Shades of Death Road.

Jenny Jump Ghost Lake

Thieves repeatedly stole the street sign because people just had to have a ‘Shades of Death’ sign for their own ghoulish souvenir. After repeated attempts to thwart thieves, including greasing the sign post, the standard sign was replaced with a stone pillar.

Jenny Jump Lilies

Explore Jenny Jump’s Hiking Trails

I met up at Jenny Jump with a hiking group for our first hike after the Covid-19 shutdown ended. First we took the short trail to see Faery Cave. Tagged with graffiti and strewn with empty beer cans, the cave wasn’t worth the trek on the overgrown trail.

Jenny Jump Cave

Next we followed Ghost Lake Trail. This trail took us past a lovely lake, covered with lily pad blooms. A swan family swam by, posing for photos.

Jenny Jump Swans

Ghost Lake Trail connected to Summit Trail. We climbed to a vista point where we could see the Delaware Water Gap. At the top we rested and then began our descent.  After three sedentary quarantine months, this 5-mile hike with its 1000 foot elevation gain was difficult for us. 

Location: 174 Shades of Death Rd, Green Meadows, NJ

Designation: State Forest

Date designated/established: 1931

Date of my visit: June 14, 2020

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8 thoughts on “Jenny Jump NJ State Forest

  1. I’ve driven by so many times on I80 starting in the 1970’s back and forth to the University of Arizona, then in the 80’s, 90’s, 00’s and the “teens.” Have stopped at the rest area off I80. Need to take the time for this climb. Thanks!!

    1. I can’t imagine most people know the history behind those names unless they have a hike leader who’s done some research like we did. There are some weird signs on the trail with pictures of the planets, but nothing about the legends

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