The highest point in the Pine Barrens of central New Jersey is the quaintly named Apple Pie Hill, which is only about 200 feet above sea level. Not super high, but at the top of the hill you can get up an extra 60 feet by climbing the Forestry Department’s old look-out tower. From there the view above the pines is far and wide.
There has been a look-out tower on Apple Pie Hill since about 1912, used by the Forestry Department to spot fires. The original look-out was a little different, with cupola construction instead of the metal box design of the current tower. This one was originally at nearby Big Hill, and it was shipped over to stand guard at the Pine Barrens in 1950. If you can put your vertigo aside and climb up the nine flights of metal stairs, there is a small hatch to get into the seven-foot-by-seven-foot box at the top. From there, on a clear day, you can see for miles and miles.
Why Apple Pie Hill? No one really remembers how the hill got its name. It’s been called Apple Pie Hill since at least the early 19th century. It might refer to a kind of flowering ground cover (epilobium hirsutum) common to sandy, marshy areas like the Pine Barrens. Alternately called great hairy willowherb, codlins-and-cream, cherry pie – and sometimes apple pie, it’s really just a guess. But with no one around who remembers back that far, a guess will just have to do.
Know Before You Go
As of July 2017, it is not possible to visit. Closed off with gates, and don't try to climb them. They have black tar lined on the top, also the second your foot hits the third step, a loud alarm blares.