Frying Pans Hang From Trees At This Secret Hiking Spot In NJ — And No One Knows Why

In case you ever needed to cook up a steak during your hike.

Family going on a hike Ground Picture / Shutterstock

New Jersey is most popularly known as the “Armpit of America,” but the truth is that it’s far from deserving that title. New Jersey is a beautiful and fun place to live! Most of it is filled with beautiful forests and hills, sights to see, and very culturally rich and historical landmarks.

There are also some incredibly strange, quirky, and even creepy places in New Jersey — so many, in fact, that there’s an entire magazine devoted to the weirdness, called "Weird N.J." One of these places has recently gone viral for just how absurd the idea of it is.


Known as the Frying Pan Forest, a secret New Jersey hiking spot is making waves online.

The Frying Pan Forest — also called the Rock Island Frying Pan Tree — received its name because... well, there are frying pans hanging from the trees. Located just off Route 15 in Sussex County, New Jersey, this strange hiking spot has become a place of tradition among the most seasoned New Jerseyans — and no one knows why.

Its existence has resurfaced in the minds of people across the state thanks to, after they posted a video about the spot on October 24, 2023. However, the mystery surrounding the location stumps people to this day.




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One commenter on a post from March 2022 in the New Jersey subreddit (r/newjersey) tried to dive into this very topic: where did the Frying Pan Forest come from? “What is the story behind this? I grew up in Sparta and haven't heard of it. Looks cool though!!” they asked, seeing as the Frying Pan Forest was right in their backyard of Sparta, NJ.

The poster replied, “I've lived here since 2000 and always knew it was there, but kind of forgot about it… From what I understand there used to be an old Girl Scout camp nearby, Camp Blue Heron, and I believe they were the first to start hanging them up there. It was in a Weird NJ issue at one point, but the previous issues are paywalled so I don't exactly know for sure.”


Well, at least now we know where it comes from, but we don’t quite know why they did it, not that it matters. That hasn’t stopped people from participating in the tradition anyway.

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“Only way up is to pull yourself up using a rope someone tethered to a tree, but not terribly hard to get up there,” the person who made the post on Reddit wrote. “I hung a few back in the trees that had been blown off from storms previously, and made my way back down.”

In another comment, they wrote that they had an old griddle they were planning on throwing up into a tree, helping the tradition live on.


Some say that the Rock Island Frying Pan Tree is a popular ‘geocaching’ spot in New Jersey.

Geocaching is an “any-day, any-time adventure that can take you to amazing and beautiful places or even just to a place in your town that you’ve never been before.” Referred to as the “world’s largest treasure hunt” on its own website, Geocache is an app that allows you to connect with the world via a cache that you find in nature.

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Geocaches are created by people, for the people, and usually consist of small containers hidden in the wilderness with interesting items inside of them. All you have to do is download the app, find a cache, and then write about your experience online.

Some of them contain journals for you to sign your name in and even knicknacks for people to trade. These geocaches also vary in difficulty to find. The Rock Island Frying Pan Tree is actually a popular Geocache spot, according to Jersey’s Best.


Geocaching also comes with its own hidden benefits, so it may be worth looking into for your area! According to the Geocaching blog, partaking in the activities could help decrease stress, boost your mood, sharpen your puzzle-solving skills, keep you present, and make you stronger both mentally and physically!

If you’ve got some old pots and pans you want to get rid of, maybe start thinking about making a trip to Sparta, New Jersey.

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Isaac Serna-Diez is an Assistant Editor for YourTango who focuses on entertainment and news, social justice, and politics.