Welcome back to National Parks and other public lands with T!
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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