Month: July 2019

Kayaking Splitrock Reservoir in July

Kayaking Splitrock Reservoir on a beautiful warm and sunny July day and trying out the new floating launch docks.
The last time we kayaked Splitrock Reservoir was in 2016 and it was pretty much the same this time, except for launch changing from difficult to easy. Niiiiiiiiiice.

I’ll get to the super-awesome-extra-special launch in a second… first, a little kayaking eye candy…

We started early to beat the heat (because it’s been a million and a half degrees all summer) and with no wind the water was like glass.

The rocky shoreline always reminds us of being further northeast somewhere… like Maine.

Most of the lily pads were white but here and there were some bright pink ones:

We pulled up on an island for a picnic lunch as usual – who says you can’t eat a sandwich at 10:30 am – and were already sipping on iced vanilla lattes on the way home before it got too hot.

The new kayak launch.
This is what it the launch looked like originally:

The small launch area was all rocks at the s..


Kayaking Splitrock Reservoir on a beautiful warm and sunny July day and trying out the new floating launch docks.

The last time we kayaked Splitrock Reservoir was in 2016 and it was pretty much the same this time, except for launch changing from difficult to easy. Niiiiiiiiiice.

I’ll get to the super-awesome-extra-special launch in a second… first, a little kayaking eye candy…Kayaking Splitrock Reservoir
Flat water on Splitrock
We started early to beat the heat (because it’s been a million and a half degrees all summer) and with no wind the water was like glass.

The rocky shoreline always reminds us of being further northeast somewhere… like Maine.
Rocky shoreline
Most of the lily pads were white but here and there were some bright pink ones:



We pulled up on an island for a picnic lunch as usual – who says you can’t eat a sandwich at 10:30 am – and were already sipping on iced vanilla lattes on the way home before it got too hot.

The new kayak launch.

This is what it the launch looked like originally:
Prior Splitrock Reservoir launch
The small launch area was all rocks at the shoreline. The photo doesn’t quite show it, but from the rocks it dropped straight into about 12″ or so of water.
Prior Splitrock Reservoir put-in
When the water level is lower, there might be more ground to launch from but this was basically a tricky put-in. The end of the video shows what it looked like from the water.

When we last hiked around Splitrock Reservoir in April of 2018 we noticed construction at the launch area. What was once a downhill and rocky carry was being worked on in 2018:
Splitrock kayak launch under construction
Now in 2019 that area is stepped down to a floating kayak launch.
Path to Splitrock kayak launch
Kayak in a floating dock launch
Snazzy. Plop your kayak into one of the two bays and step in. Then use the sides to pull yourself so that the kayak scoots into the water. Reverse to get out. Easy peasy.

The launch has gone from my least favorite to my favorite just like that. We didn’t even get our feet wet.

In addition, in 2018 there was a new gravel path created that already lead to a new floating dock:
Path to Splitock kayak launchSplitrock floating kayak launch
The dock seen from the water:
Splitrock kayak dock seen from the water
Kayak set in floating launch
We put in on the closer dock and came out on the dock down the path… both were fine and a toss up to what is better. Closer is steeper and likely meant for hand-carry, further is gradual and likely meant for those with a wheelie cart. Either way it is a huge improvement.

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Splitrock Reservoir Kayak

Incredibly scenic reservoir ringed by hills and rock cliffs, with several islands.
Explore rocky shorelines reminiscent of areas further northeast. We landed on one of the many islands and had a lovely picnic lunch. The island was big enough that there was a path around it.

We spotted lots of herons and even a trio of beavers swimming by – a first for us.

Our two cents:
Gorgeous destination, very enjoyable paddle, and some of the best kayaking in New Jersey but with a launch area that makes you work for it. Limited parking. (See notes below).

Fun Fact: Though often spelled “Split Rock Reservoir”, it is actually one word – “Splitrock“. The road it is on is “Split Rock”.

Bonus: Nice hiking too: see Splitrock Reservoir Loop and Four Birds Trail.

Update 7/2019: Launch area changes are done, photos added. Update 4/2018: The launch area was under construction the last time we hiked Splitrock.

Paddle Boards: We spotted a sign stating these are NOT allowed (as of 7/2019).

Rocky shorelin..

Splitrock Reservoir
Incredibly scenic reservoir ringed by hills and rock cliffs, with several islands.

Explore rocky shorelines reminiscent of areas further northeast. We landed on one of the many islands and had a lovely picnic lunch. The island was big enough that there was a path around it.

We spotted lots of herons and even a trio of beavers swimming by – a first for us.

Our two cents:

Gorgeous destination, very enjoyable paddle, and some of the best kayaking in New Jersey but with a launch area that makes you work for it. Limited parking. (See notes below).

Fun Fact: Though often spelled “Split Rock Reservoir”, it is actually one word – “Splitrock“. The road it is on is “Split Rock”.

Bonus: Nice hiking too: see Splitrock Reservoir Loop and Four Birds Trail.

Update 7/2019: Launch area changes are done, photos added. Update 4/2018: The launch area was under construction the last time we hiked Splitrock.

Paddle Boards: We spotted a sign stating these are NOT allowed (as of 7/2019).

Rocky shorelines.
Splitrock ReservoirSplitrock Reservoir
Surrounded by hills.
Splitrock Reservoir
Splitrock Reservoir
View from one of the islands.
View from an island on Splitrock Reservoir
View from an island on Splitrock Reservoir
Stopping on an island on Splitrock Reservoir
Lots of lily pads… mostly white but a few pink ones in the mix:


Low water level. 2015.
Low water levels on Splitrock Reservoir

Launch

There are two launch areas, each with floating docks. The one closer to the parking lot is on a incline that is stepped down to the dock:
Path to Splitrock kayak launch
Kayak in a floating dock launch
There is a bay on either side of the dock to set a boat in. Sit in and use the sides to pull yourself (and the boat) into the water.

We didn’t even get our feet wet. Reverse the process to get out.

The second dock is at the end of a longer but more gradual gravel path.
Kayak set in floating launch
This dock seen from the water:
Splitrock kayak dock seen from the water
We tried both to see if we had a preference and either was fine for us. The closer one is likely intended for hand carry, and the longer path for those with wheels.

If you are interested in what the launch area used to look like, see “Kayaking Splitrock Reservoir in July“.

Details

Miles:

We’ve done 7.1 which is pretty much the whole perimeter.

Parking: 40.96252, -74.45800

Split Rock Road, Rockaway , NJ 07866. No street number, a dirt lot off of Split Rock Rd.

This often fills up and if it is, you are out of luck…. only park in the lot, you will get ticketed if you park along the road.

From the south: 287N to exit 43, at the end of the ramp turn left, then right onto Fanny Rd to Powerville, left on Valley, right on Rockaway Valley, stay left onto Split Rock and follow to parking lot.

From the south, alternate: 287N to Rt 80 W to exit 37 for Rt 513/Green Pond Rd. Right on Meridian. Left on Lyonsville. Left onto Split Rock Rd to parking lot.

If you are traveling from elsewhere the exit may be different, so you’ll want to check directions from where you are. Split Rock road seemed to be in good shape 7/2019 was full of decent sized potholes 4/2018.

Size:

625 acres.

Restroom:

Porta-john in the parking lot, as of 7/2019. The Fanny Road route doesn’t offer much in the way of restroom possibilities.

If you don’t want to chance the porta not being there… use the alternate Rt 80 route for gas stations and a Dunkin once getting on 513.

Book:

Quiet Water New Jersey, Trip #6

For general info, check out our Kayaking in NJ page.

Kayaked 7/27/19. 6.6 miles. Trail Blog: “Kayaking Splitrock Reservoir in July”
Kayaked 8/20/16. 7.1 miles.
Kayaked 9/6/15. 6.7 miles.

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