Description - Information provided by New Jersey Division of Parks and Forestry Lake Hopatcong was originally created as part of the Morris Canal, a 90-mile waterway that ran from Newark to Phillipsburg and was the chief means of transporting coal, iron and zinc across New Jersey in the 1860s. The lake was the canal’s major source of water. In 1866, over 880,000 tons of freight was transported on the canal.
However, as the more efficient Morris and Essex Railroad was established, the canal was abandoned. The historical museum is located in the old Morris Canal locktender’s house and offers exhibits on local American Indian history, the Morris Canal and the history of the lake.
- The Morris Canal
Bergen, Essex, Morris, Sussex, Warren Counties - Completed in 1837, the Morris Canal was an engineering landmark that relied on canals, locks and inclined planes to lift and carry canal boats from Phillipsburg on the Delaware River to Jersey City, the Hudson River and New York Harbor. The boats transported coal, iron ore, manufactured goods and agricultural produce. Sections of the canal are administered by Hopatcong State Park.
Lake Musconetcong - During the mid-1800s, the Morris Canal and Banking Company created Lake Musconetcong as an additional water source for the Morris Canal. This lake, which is located four miles west of Lake Hopatcong, was deeded over to the State of New Jersey with the other parts of the Morris Canal System in 1924. Today boating, fishing and ice fishing are popular recreational activities on this lake.
Recreation - Fishing - Both Lake Hopatcong and Lake Musconetcong offer excellent year-round fishing. During the spring the New Jersey Division of Fish and Wildlife stocks both lakes with brown, rainbow and brook trout. Warm water species commonly caught are large mouth bass, sunfish, catfish, perch and pickerel. During the winter months, both lakes provide excellent ice fishing for perch and pickerel. Fishing is subject to New Jersey Division of Fish and Wildlife regulations.
Hunting - This park has been designated a NO HUNTING area.
Picnicking - The park has several picnic areas along the hill overlooking the parking lot. At each picnic area, visitors will find grills and tables. There is a small picnic shelter and playground located on the hill. Alcoholic beverages are prohibited.
Basketball, Playgrounds and Play Field - The park has two playgrounds for children along with six half-basketball courts and sand volleyball. In addition, there is a large playing field ideal for soccer, frisbee or just about any field activity.
Boating/Canoeing - Lake Hopatcong provides an excellent opportunity for any type of boating, ranging from canoes to large motor boats, sailboats, sailboards and jet skis. Boats are available for rent at many private marinas around the lake. Boating is subject to New Jersey Boating Regulations and Marine Law.
There is a boat ramp available at Hopatcong State Park. Boating is open seven days a week depending on parking availability.
There is a boat ramp with parking available at Lake Musconetcong. This site is open from sunrise to sunset seven days a week.
Swimming - Swimming is permitted at Hopatcong State Park from Memorial Day through Labor Day while lifeguards are on duty. There is a bathhouse complex containing restrooms, showers, changing areas, a first aid room and concession where food and beach supplies are available for purchase. Grilling is limited to the picnic areas only. Grills are not permitted on the lawn areas. There are two sand volleyball courts and a playground near the beachfront. For safety reasons, inner tubes, rafts and other flotation devices are not permitted in the bathing area.
Climate - The temperatures in New Jersey vary slightly, with the southern area being the warmest. Winter weather can start by October and is in full force by November, temperatures average 20 to 40 degrees. Spring can begin in mid March and brings temperatures of 50 degrees F, by April temperatures can reach 65 degrees F. Summer weather can extend from late May to mid September, and temperatures often reach 95 degrees during this season with nighttime lows near 65 degrees. Fall weather has temperatures between 65 and 45 degrees F. Precipitation levels in New Jersey are highest from March through August.
Take exit 28 from Route 80 or follow Route 183 in Netcong.