The rise of the popularity of New Jersey’s natural springs began in the 1800s as local resorts and spas lost their notoriety. The demand for bottled water from the springs became greater, launching an industry that hit its stride in the early 20th century. Many locals believed that they became exposed to contamination in their current water supply, but springs offered clean and safe water. When springs in Morris County proved to have a great enough supply in 1908, New Jersey’s first disinfected water finally reached local homes.
Along with bottling it, these springs offer an incredible environment for fishing. With this cold water, the constant flow of the springs in the area offers millions of gallons to support local wildlife. The consistent temperatures are the perfect environment for trout, which is why so many springs evolved into trout hatcheries through the years.
The New Jersey Geological Survey shows over 500 springs in the Garden State. Let’s take a look at a few of the most popular springs in New Jersey.
Types of Natural Springs in New Jersey
The main reason that New Jersey places such importance on the natural springs in their state is because of their use as drinking water. While they source this water from form both mineral and non-mineral springs, you see four main types along the beautiful landscape of New Jersey.
- Bedrock springs
- Contact springs
- Coastal plain/unconsolidated
Each of these springs is important to the local environment, offering fresh water for wildlife and plants.
Top 10 Springs in New Jersey
Kepwel Spring – Monmouth County
According to local history, Kepwel Spring used to be the main source of healing powers for the Lenape tribes in the area. One legend states that the tribe carried Lenape King Ockanickon to revive him with the waters. Now, the Kepwel Natural Spring Water Company sources its fresh water from it. The company goes back 5 generations to support this water harvest.
To reach Kepwel Spring, take a drive to southern New Jersey. This spring is at the end of a side road off of Cold Indian Springs Road.
Federal Springs – Warren County
Featuring an elevation of 554 feet above sea level, Federal Springs is in the heart of Warren County. It is one of only 9 springs that water management authorities continue to measure its discharge, along with Shoemaker Spring and Brau Kettle. It is a limnocrene spring, which means that the groundwater pools from either a confined or unconfined aquifer. With a 600 gallons per minute flow, it is currently under Weir’s management. According to historical records, President Franklin D. Roosevelt frequented the local area near the spring where the Rutherford Mansion is located.
Federal Springs sits in the heart of Johnsonburg, northern New Jersey. The easiest way to reach Federal Springs is by taking I-80 west and turning at Kerrs Corner Road in Frelinghuysen.
Schooley’s Mountain Spring – Gloucester County
If you take a drive down US-46 East, you get a chance to peek at Schooley’s Mountain, the home of this spring. Both European settlers and the Lenape praised the springs for the healing abilities they seemed to have. While there are many stories about its restorative powers, the first person recorded using this spring to their advantage was Joseph Health, setting up commercial lodging and accommodations at the start of the 19th century.
While you have a couple of turns ahead of you from Reservoir Road to Spring Lane, the end of your route comes after you turn left on Kim Lane.
Spa Spring – Middlesex County
Spa Spring makes this list as one of the many springs in New Jersey that supply spring water. It set the stage for other local springs to do the same. Local authorities didn’t record this chalybeate spring until 1772, but the New York Journal mentioned it soon after by stating that this bath had many health benefits. Even though it attracted several locals, it didn’t get much outside attention until the American Spa Spring Company was established. Once the company started sourcing the water, they sold it in New York City and New Jersey.
Spa Spring flows into a tidal strait called the Arthur Kill between New Jersey and New York. To reach Spa Spring, take Route 35 north on Convery Blvd. It is only a minute away from the road.
Stanley Spring – Warren County
Stanley Spring has a long-documented history in New Jersey, flowing longer than any other spring since 1968. With consistent temperatures at 51°F, it is the prime spot for trout. Since 1958, it has been the home of the oldest fish hatchery in New Jersey – Musky Trout Hatchery. While the flow of this river changed over time, it has a rate of 1,200 gallons per minute, increasing from 1,000 gallons per minute since the 1860s.
The best way to get to Stanley Spring is by going to the site of the Musky Trout Hatchery off of Asbury Bloomsburg Road.
Paint Spring – Monmouth County
Paint Spring looks just like a small volcano with its crater-shaped outline. This large chalybeate spring is in Monmouth County, though Native Americans previously used it for its colors. When scientists assessed it years later, they started using water to treat patients. Found in Millstone Township, this spring used to be linked to a local resort.
To get to Paint Spring, start by heading northwest on I-195 W, taking exit 11 for a 6-mile drive ahead of you.
Honeyman Spring – Mercer County
Located within Washington Crossing State Park, Honeyman Spring flows gently at 5 gallons per minute, according to a 2001 reading. This spring had no name recorded on local maps until the middle of the 20th century. The name honors one of President George Washington’s spies in the Revolutionary War. The spy returned the wrong information to the British, helping with his victory in Trenton in 1776. While it isn’t used for recreational activity, it offers a beautiful backdrop for any history buff.
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Honeyman Spring is a 15-minute drive away from the Trenton-Mercer Airport.
Bonnie Brook Spring – Sussex County
Bonnie Brook Spring provides an outlet to one of the largest karst drainage systems in the entire state. It is the largest flowing spring in New Jersey, and no other spring in history surpasses it. To create a manmade pool, local authorities installed two dams, but the flow is still 5,000 gallons per minute. It currently is part of the Bonnie Brook Farm, which covers 16 acres of land.
Take Maple Avenue north from the NJ-94 near Blairstown to reach the spring.
Marble Mountain Spring – Warren County
Marble Mountain Spring is now private but was once called Heitzman Spring in the 19th century. When cartographers first mapped out the region, the body of water only supplied water for a fish hatchery. As bottled spring water increased in popularity, companies briefly used it for their supply. If you want to hike nearby, Marble Mountain has miles of trails, giving you a beautiful view of the Delaware River.
To find the Marble Mountain Spring, take a journey about 220 yards north of Lizzy Clay Quarry, nestled between River Road and the Delaware River.
Kanouse Spring – Bergen County
Kanouse Spring, which once went by Vernum Spring and Indian Spring, was a major source of bottled spring water at the start of the 20th century for the Kanouse Mountain Water Company. With a flow of 17 gallons per minute, the company sourced enough water to fill 800 cases daily. Once the company couldn’t use it for bottled water anymore, locals used it to grow watercress, which is still sold in stores today.
It used to provide one of the main water supply sources in Oakland, though there are manmade pools still nearby to use for swimming. With two trout ponds nearby, it is a small getaway to go fishing.
To reach Kanouse Spring, you must drive along the side of Kanouse Mountain.
Natural Springs in New Jersey and Where to Find Them
|Schooley’s Mountain Spring
|Bonnie Brook Spring
|Marble Mountain Spring
The photo featured at the top of this post is © Andrew Tuttle/Shutterstock.com
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