Given the popularity of the Jersey Shore and its reality showcase, most people don’t think of New Jersey as having mountainous terrain but tucked in the northeast corner of Sussex County is the township of Vernon, New Jersey.
Located about a one hour drive from New York City, and part of the New York Metropolitan Area, the township is home to roughly 25,000 people, making it the largest township in the county measured by both area and population.
A Winter Wonderland
Vernon thrives as a year-round destination for outdoor enthusiasts of every persuasion. The convergence of skiers and snowboarders during the winter months gives way to hikers, golfers, mountain bikers, kayakers, campers, picnickers in the summer and the fall. Vernon certainly lives up to its billing as New Jersey’s four season recreation community.
Attractions in Vernon include the Hidden Valley Ski Area, the Mountain Creek Ski Resort (formerly Great Gorge and Vernon Valley), the Mountain Creek Waterpark, the Crystal Springs Resort with 7 championship golf courses and health spa, a number of highly-acclaimed bed and breakfast inns and Mother Nature’s gift to the township—the Wawayanda State Park and the Wallkill River National Wildlife Refuge. In fact, the Appalachian Trail, which goes from Maine to Georgia passing through fourteen states, cuts straight through the heart of Vernon Township.
The township was formally incorporated in February 1798, after its establishment in 1793 from portions of Hardyston Township. The 68 square miles that make up the town’s borders over the last 200 years or so have not changed since that time. The population, though, has grown from the 1,548 people that resided there in 1950, as a result of the popularity of the ski industry and recreational activities found in the town. Additional growth has also come as home prices have soared in the near suburbs of New York City and property buyers seek the better values available from real estate developments in the area.