ALLAIRE STATE PARK
4263 Atlantic Ave, Farmingdale
Easy 2.7 mile loop hike begins at Allaire Village, a restored 19th-century iron-making village located in the state park. Hike through wetlands and a portion of the pine barrens. Walking surface of level dirt, sand and pine needles. Follow the green blazes of the Canal Trail. Add a short hike on the red blazed Nature Center Trail. Visit the historic buildings of the village after your hike. TRAIL MAP
PEBBLE LOOP TRAIL
ALLAMUCHY MOUNTAIN STATE PARK
Waterloo Rd, Stanhope
Easy to moderate uphill hike. Start on the Sussex Branch Trail and make your first left at the trail sign. Cross over the wooden bridge and follow the white blazes until connecting with yellow blazed Pebble Loop Trail. Rocky and dirt trail surfaces. Be sure to take a selfie when you arrive at the giant pebble rock! Loop back to the main Sussex Branch Trail and for an easy bonus hike follow the Sussex Branch Trail past a beautiful waterfall to Cranberry lake. Be alert, you are in bear country. After your hike, visit nearby historic Waterloo Village. TRAIL MAP
EAST CREEK TRAIL
BELLEPLAIN STATE FOREST
30 Gordon Rd, Matawan
Hike a loop from Lake Nummy using the East Creek trail and sand roads in Jersey’s pine barrens. Every New Jerseyan needs to hike through our picturesque Pinelands at least once. Belleplain State Forest (in Cape May and Cumberland Counties) is the perfect place to do so. There are two dozen trails to enjoy, of varying difficulties, which will lead you through a variety of natural landscapes including ponds, lakes, bogs, wetlands and forests.
CHEESEQUAKE STATE PARK
30 Gordon Rd, Matawan
Easy 3 mile Green trail featuring rolling hills, marsh lands and a white cedar swamp. hardwood forest. Hike over boardwalks, bridges and steps. The beginner yellow trail is a shaded loop with boardwalks, stairs, and views of Hooks Creek Lake. After your hike visit the Interpretive Center with live displays of animals. Cheesequake State Park also offers, boating, camping, and playgrounds. There is a $10 per vehicle entrance fee from Memorial Day to Labor Day on weekends and $5 weekdays.
DELAWARE WATER GAP
Rte 80, Hardwick
Camden’s Children’s Garden provides fun horticultural experiences for kids of all ages. Visit a fun Dinosaur Garden, the Storybook Garden, a Picnic Garden with oversized cups and bowls and the Four Seasons Butterfly House. Look out over the Tree House and crawl through an underground maze. Ride the Arrow River Train and the Garden Carousel. Open March through December. Hours are Wed-Fri 10am-3pm; Sat-Sun 10am-4pm. General admission is $9, guests under 1 free.
HACKLEBARNEY STATE PARK
119 Hacklebarney Rd, Chester
Popular 2.5 mile scenic loop of trails, picnic and grilling areas. follow the Black River.
Use the main parking lot then follow the red-blazed Riverside Trail down the stone steps on the left and along Trout Brook. Just after a bridge on your right marked with blue blazes, the brook tumbles into a ravine—the first of a series of small waterfalls. Follow the red trail up the hill; it eventually reaches the Black River and follows the water’s edge for roughly one mile. This portion of the trail is rocky and requires sure footing. The red trail merges with the white-blazed Main Trail, which loops back to the parking lot.
SOLDIER'S HUT TRAIL
MORRISTOWN NATIONAL HISTORICAL PARK
61 Jockey Hollow Rd, Morristown
Moderate 2.5 hike following Yellow Blazed trail. Features include the recreated Soldier's Huts built to house Washington's troop and cemetery. Located in the Morristown National Historical Park, Jockey Hollow served as the headquarters for the Continental Army during the harsh winters of 1777 and 1779-80. The Blue Trail is a 3-mile moderate course that gives hikers a look at the vantage point the Continental soldiers had and why this spot was chosen. Stop in the visitor's center and Tempe Wick House.
KITTATINNY VALLEY STATE PARK
137 Engle St, Tenafly
Kittatinny Valley State Park is home to trails that will appease the most adventurous hiker. Not to worry, though, there are other, more serene trail options if your four-legged friend can’t navigate the rocky terrain. If you enjoy your visit in the spring, make it a point to visit again in the winter, when dogsled teams are known to frequent the trails.
472 A Boonton Ave, Montville Township
Easy. 5.1mile wide trail loop. Pass by reservoir, man-made wetlands, wooded forests and wildflower meadows. Picnic and playground area. Features visitor center, wildlife viewing areas and an environmental center. For s shorter hike try the 1.1 Cove Trail. After your hike rent a kayak, row boat or take a boat tour.
BLUE TRAILonton Ave, Montville Township
3.5-mile, moderately challenging trail that begins in the parking area, passes through a scenic overlook, and culminates at Tripod Rock. Plus, the return loop has a stretch along the Taylortown Reservoir. Why It’s Great: The trail boasts stunning views of the New York City skyline, waterfalls, wetlands — and an up-close look at Tripod Rock. It’s a glacial erratic — aka, a rock not native to the area — and, as a 160-ton boulder balanced on three smaller stones, it’s a striking feat of nature. There are many family friendly paths to explore at Pyramid Mountain. We found the trails well-marked. The kids took photos of unique glacial rocks. We took a family photo at Tripod Rock, a 180-ton boulder balanced on three smaller boulders. Great scenic overlook from where we could see the skyline of Manhattan. Use 472 Boonton Avenue in Montville for the address. Learn more about this family-friendly hike. TIP: Visit the Pyramid Mountain Visitor Center. Not only can you pick up a great map of the trails, but there are kid friendly activities to do.
Moderate. 1.5 miles one way. The well-marked blue trail starts gradually from the parking lot on Boonton Avenue, then reaches a slightly difficult rocky ascent. Once you’ve cleared that short section, it’s an easy stroll on a narrow, smooth trail to the main attraction: Tripod Rock, a tank-size boulder perched atop three smaller boulders. The Stonehenge-like formation appears to defy gravity while attracting selfies. On the walk down, use the alternative white trail for a different angle on the rocky descent to the parking lot.More info: Visit http://www.morrisparks.net/aspparks/pyrmtnmain.asp.
CASTLE POINT TRAIL
RAMAPO COUNTY VALLEY RESERVATION
608 Ramapo Valley Rd, Mahwah
Take a short hike to see the fall color reflected in Ramapo Lake, or continue hiking up to the ruins of Van Slyke Castle for views over the surrounding area and NYC.
Hawk Rock Viewpoint. Starting at the wooden kiosk near the parking area, take the main path past Scarlet Oak Pond and then follow the green trail toward Hawk Rock. The trek offers lovely pond views and an incredibly scenic outlook, pictured. The hike to the viewpoint is just 1 mile long, though you'll need to take the same trails back for a total of 2 miles.
THE RIDGE TRAIL
SOURLAND MOUNTAIN PRESERVE
233 Rileyville Rd, Ringoes
5 mile easy to moderate white blazed trail. Features dense woods and several clusters of distinctive, giant boulders formed almost 200 million years ago. Start on the Service Road Trail from the parking area, steady uphill climb to the boulder field. Pass several overhanging boulders and rock perches. Walk through a narrow passage between two Roaring Brook Boulders and take a selfie by the large tree that has grown out of a crack in a boulder. The trail continues through a forest that features many tulip trees. Fun fact: The Charles Lindbergh estate is nearby, and the infamous kidnapper is believed to have hidden in these woods.
SOUTH MOUNTAIN RESERVATION
West S Orange Ave, Short Hills
An oasis in the middle of densely populated Essex County, South Mountain is loaded with hiking trails, including a "fairy trail" and waterfall hike. But it also includes a zoo, paddle boats, mini golf, and playground. Enter at the Cherry Lane lot to be near the playground and picnic pavilion, restrooms, and the paved walking loop around the Orange Reservoir.
1160 Summit Ln, Mountainside
Watchung Reservation offers hikers 13 miles of trails along the scenic Watchung Mountains. Home to Lake Surprise and the Blue Brook, the Reservation features several easy-to-navigate trails that are wonderful for a cold-weather outing with the family. Enjoy one of the four nature hikes near Trailside Nature & Science Center, then pop in for more family fun. Trailside is home to interactive exhibits, a children’s discovery room and various seasonal activities. Moderate. Watchung Reservation is full of surprises, including an 18th-century cemetery, a deserted village (Feltville), and a lake, appropriately named Surprise. The 2,000-acre reservation has brooks, swamps, evergreen forests and loop trails ranging from 0.5 to 10.8 miles. Parking and restrooms are available at the Trailside Nature & Science Center (452 New Providence Road, Mountainside) as well as the Cataract Hollow Road entrance in Berkeley Heights. The Sierra Trail, the longest loop, passes the cemetery, Lake Surprise, the nature center, a scenic gorge and Little Seeley’s Pond. Accessible from either entrance, it has some steep inclines. Be sure to pick up a map first at the nature center; trails here are poorly marked and can be confusing. More info: http://ucnj.org/parks/watchung-reservation
STAIRWAY TO HEAVEN
WAWAYANDA STATE PARK
Rte 94, Vernon
Stairway to Heaven. There's a beautiful field of wildflowers, train tracks, boardwalks and a suspension bridge which kids love. This is such a family-friendly trail. Cross "Lover's Bridge" with your spouse and gross the kids out. Climb as a family up the "Stairway to Heaven" rock steps. The boardwalk section is a shorter hike for your New Jersey family at 2 miles. Great views especially in the fall. Learn more about this family-friendly trail with NJ Hiking. TIP: Bring your camera for a beautiful family fall foliage picture to use on your Christmas card. : Pochuck Valley to Pinwheel Vista, Wawayanda State Park. Trek over boardwalks, a suspension bridge and through fields of wildflowers before ascending the “Stairway to Heaven” for fantastic views.
TOM'S POND TRAIL
WHARTON STATE FOREST
31 Batsto Rd, Hammonton
Wharton State Forest – Hammonton
In the heart of the pinelands, about 30 miles from Atlantic City, Wharton is the largest state forest in New Jersey. The Batsto Lake trail will take you through historic Batsto Village with beautiful views of the lake. Three different beginner trails, each under five miles, pass through the wonders of this state forest, which is home to bald eagles, hawks, herons, swans, owls, river otters, fox, deer, and many birds. A nature center on the banks of Batsto Lake offers a variety of programs and exhibits on Pinelands wildlife and botany.
: Through the 18th and 19th centuries, Batsto Village produced iron and glass. Their industries were so successful that the village came about to house workers; this then led to the construction of the sawmill, gristmill, general store and more. Many of the buildings in Batsto are still standing, offering a glimpse of what life was like in the community.
What You’ll See: Tom’s Pond Trail is an easy 1.8-mile hike that allows for a walk through Batsto Village; in fact, you can plan a hike that either starts or ends in the village. In truth, this adds about a mile of walking to your hike, but it’s absolutely worth it.
Why I like it: Tom’s Pond Trail is a “lollipop trail,” meaning it is a circular loop. In other words, it starts where it finishes. Because it’s short and easy, this is a great one for you to bring the kids along.
RATTLESNAKE SWAMP LOOP
Mohican Outdoor Center, 50 Mohican Camp Rd, Blairstown
Orange blazed 4 mile trail loop. Proceed passed rhododendron, a hemlock forest, and Catfish Pond. After 2 miles, turn right on the stone road to the fire tower and the Appalachian Trail. Turn right to head up the ridge. Walk on the rugged trail or on the parallel stone road. A sign points to Catfish Fire Tower, open March - May and Oct - Nov. Continue along the ridge, with stunning views from the rock slabs. Turn right at orange blaze on a rock and head down to Mohican Outdoor Center.
SUNFISH POND LOOP via Garvey Springs & Douglas Trail
Old Mine Rd, Worthington State Forest
5.1 mile loop trail starting at the orange-blazed Garvey Spring Trail. The wide trail up the mountain, is a gradual climb through open forest with a small waterfall in the gorge. Pass a blue-blazed trail and at the intersection, the Rockcores Trail joins the Garvey Spring Trail. Turn right and re-join the orange trail. As you reach the summit, Sunfish Pond appears straight ahead on the ridge. Turn right on the AT and follow a rocky section around the pond. Follow the blue-blazed Douglas Trail for another 2.5 miles to Old Mine Rd. Follow the stone road, taking the right fork where the blue and green trails meet. When the trail splits, continue on the blue trail to the parking lot.
SUNRISE MOUNTAIN OVERLOOK to Culvers Gap Fire Tower
Upper North Shore Rd, Stokes State Forest, Branchville
3.5 miles each way. After a short walk from the parking lot to the AT, you’ll reach the ridge and Sunrise Mountain Pavilion where you can watch soaring eagles, hawks, falcons and vultures. Use caution on the rocky and slick Ridgeline Trail.
In about a mile, the yellow-blazed Tinsley Trail, covered in white pine needles intersects the white-blazed AT. The trail crosses to the right side of the ridge,
climb the six flights of the 47-foot fire tower. Reverse your trek to return to the starting point.
HIGH POINT STATE PARK
1480 Rt. 23, Sussex
2.6 miles each way. Family friendly hike. The parking lot for the AT is down the hill from park headquarters and to the right. From the lot, follow the connector trail (blue) to the Iris Trail (red), turn right on the Iris Trail to reach the AT. Follow the rocky trail up to the monument and observation deck. Take the red-and-green blazed Monument Trail. Enjoy a 360-degree view of the surrounding area. Turn back and retrace your steps to the car, or take the road for a faster walk.
Waterfall Hiking Trails
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