Black River Rock Trail & Waterfall with Kay’s Cottage Ruins

Broken down light brick building in Forrest with waterfall

One of the favorite spots of our founder Virginia (@buewho), is this unique trial loop which is definitely one to check out! Nestled in the back of the woods along a peaceful river you will come across a unique spot of what was once a mill along the Black River in Chester, New Jersey. This is our NJspots guide for finding the rock ruins of an abandoned cottage (Kay’s Cottage) next to the Black River Trail in Chester, NJ.

abandoned cottage, Black River Rock Trail & Waterfall with Kay’s Cottage Ruins

The restored Cooper Gristmill, less than 2 miles up stream, was built in 1826 and was once a location to ground a wide variety of grains. We can surmise this ruin, estimated to be from the 19th century, was a part of a production line that would have produced goods for the locals.

How To Get There

This site is located in the Black River Park just north of the park boundaries accessible via Route 24 in Chester. You can access the parking area for hiking across the street from the Old Mill Tavern. Once you park, you can begin hiking south on the Black River Trail.

There is an option to hike a loop around the park which is about 6.5 miles, or you can simply hike to the rock ruins, waterfall, and expect a 4 mile out and back trek. Be sure to wear proper footwear for hiking, as some rocks and roots poke out along the trail. Also, it is a good idea also to bring some water and a snack in case you want to sit at one of the many waterfall spots for a peaceful break.

abandoned cottage, Black River Rock Trail & Waterfall with Kay’s Cottage Ruins

Once you begin south on the trail, you will see “Patriot’s Path” trail blazes (markers) on the trees. They are blue and white. Continue walking south for about 1.5 miles and you will come across a fork in the trail.

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09/28/2023 11:59 pm GMT

Where Are The Rock Ruins?

You’ll want to continue to the right on the green trail. Shortly after that you will come to a 4-way trail intersection. The orange trail leads down the hill to the right closer to the river or you can continue straight across on the green trail.

Either way can be taken, as they eventually meet near the river. As you begin to hike closer to the ruins, you will notice the trail is a bit narrow, so watch your step. At about the 1.95-mile mark you will come across the sound of gushing water. That’s when you can turn to the right and see the waterfall cascading down from the stone structure.

If you want to go home after seeing the rock ruins, you can turn around and return the way you came. Or you can continue on the path and extend your hike to over 6 miles. It would be wise to know your plan ahead of time to accommodate for daylight, water, and snacks.

Find your favorite NJspots and places to visit, photograph, and explore through our Waterfalls & Lookout Spots Map.

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