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Round Valley Reservoir spans 2,350 acres in Hunterdon County, New Jersey. The reservoir fills the valley formed by the ring-shaped Cushetunk Mountain, which was once an active volcano. Named for the circular shape of the valley in which it sits, the reservoir is known for the exceptional clarity of its waters and its thriving fish population. With a maximum depth of 180 feet, it also New Jersey's deepest lake.
Round Valley Reservoir was created in the 1960s by the New Jersey Water Authority. Because of the valley's natural concave shape, just two dams and a dike were needed to enclose it completely, and the reservoir was flooded with 55 billion gallons of water. Today, Round Valley is a crucial part of the water supply system for central New Jersey, as well as a favorite recreation area.
Round Valley Reservoir offers some of the best fishing in the state. Nineteen species of fish inhabit Round Valley Reservoir, and on a warm summer day you will find anglers hoping to make a record catch. The reservoir is stocked yearly with rainbow trout and brown trout, and state records have been set at Round Valley for lake trout and brown trout, as well as freshwater eel and smallmouth bass. Also found in the lake are largemouth bass, pickerel, catfish, and yellow perch. Anglers can fly-fish for trout from the shore, or fish by boat. To preserve the purity of the reservoir's waters, motorboats are restricted to engines of no more than 10 horsepower. Also welcome at the lake are canoes, kayaks, and sailboats.
Round Valley Reservoir's clear blue water makes it ideal for scuba diving, skin diving, and snorkeling. The lake's exceptional visiblity makes it easy for divers to study a wide variety of fish and plant life. With a maximum depth of 180 feet, there is plenty of room to explore. Round Valley also has a designated swimming area separate from the main reservoir. The public swimming beach is open from Memorial Day to Labor Day and has all the amenities necessary for some fun in the sun: restrooms, showers, concession stands, and even playgrounds and volleyball nets.
Nature lovers won't be disappointed with a visit to Round Valley. The lake is surrounded by over 5,000 acres of woodlands, and birdwatchers can spot hawks, ospreys, loons, and herons hunting the lake's waters. There have also been sightings of bald eagles nesting on nearby Cushetunk Mountain. Round Valley Recreation Area offers hiking opportunities for all skill levels, from the rugged nine mile Cushetunk Trail for skilled hikers, mountain bikers, and horseback riders, to the one mile Pine Tree Trail, best suited to birdwatchers and families. Nearby Cushetunk Mountain Nature Preserve offers more opportunities for hiking and mountain biking and some difficult mountain trail. In the winter months, visitors trade their hiking boots for ski boots, as Round Valley is transformed into a winter wonderland for skiing and sledding.
If camping is your passion, then Round Valley is the place for you. It is one of the few parks in the state to offer wilderness camping, with 85 tent sites that are accessible only by a three mile hike or by boat. These sites are equipped with fire pits, and water pumps and outhouses are available along the hiking trail. If these accommodations sound a little too basic, don't worry: there are hotels and even a few bed and breakfasts just a short drive away.
Fishing, diving, camping, hiking--with such a wide variety of activities for all ages, the reason for Round Valley's popularity is as clear as its waters. No matter what the season, Round Valley Reservoir is the perfect place to get away from it all.
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