A Hiker’s Guide to Northern New Jersey
A solo hiker explores the woods | © Patrick Schneider / Unsplash
New Jersey may have cities and towns scattered throughout the state; however, there are lots of natural spaces to explore, camp and hike. And as common as beaches are along the coast of Jersey, the north brings visitors more parks and trails that are great for trekking. Learn more about hiking in northern New Jersey and where to find the best spots!
Hiking Trail, Natural Feature
Buttermilk Falls are found in New York, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey. And if you’re in the Garden State, there are a number of hikes that start at the highest waterfalls in the state. Those who are new to hiking can enjoy the walk up to the falls and even find the Tillman Ravine on the way there. For more of a moderate hike, there is a trail through unmarked woods that leads to Hemlock Pond and back, which is five miles (eight kilometers) roundtrip. If you have more time and want a little challenge, there’s a 6.4-mile (10.2-kilometer) hike to Rattlesnake Mountain from the falls too.
Although the trail might be a short 1.5 miles (2.4 kilometers), getting to the Pyramid Mountain in Montville, NJ, is not for the faint of heart. Starting at the parking lot on Boonton Avenue, you’ll begin to feel a pretty steady incline. Keep following the blue-marked path, and you will eventually make it to some flatter ground that leads you to Tripod Rock. It’s definitely an Instagram-worthy sight to see. And as you make your way back down, take the white-marked path as it shows a different view of the rock formations and the woods.
Allamuchy Mountain State Park
Allamuchy Mountain State Park
offers various hiking trails, including one that brings you to part of the Highlands Trail. With 9,092 acres, there is a lot to explore, such as Waterloo Village, which is a restored 19th-century canal town. Are you looking for a simple hike? If you park at the Sussex Branch trailhead, the three-mile (4.8-kilometer) walk takes you along Cranberry Lake to Andover. The park is also near Stephens State Park where you can go camping or have a picnic.
High Point State Park
Located in the Skylands Region, High Point State Park is known best for having the highest point in New Jersey. Visitors can take the park’s Mountain Trail that leads them to a 220-foot (67-meter) structure. If you’re up for it, you can climb up the piece and get a bird’s-eye view of the area. Aside from the Mountain Trail, there are more than 50 other trails where you can hike and mountain bike in the warmer months as well as ski, snowshoe or ride dogsleds or snowmobiles in the winter. The Appalachian Trail also runs next to this park.
While the Watchung Reservation may look like another park, it is actually full of attractions. After parking at the Trailside Nature & Science Center, feel free to explore the 8th-century cemetery, Lake Surprise or a deserted village named Feltville along the Sierra Trail. There’s also Little Seely’s Pond and Watchung Stables. Just remember to grab a map from the nature center because the trails’ markings aren’t the best, and it can get a little confusing.
Eagle Rock Reservation
With borders by West Orange, Verona, and Montclair in New Jersey, Eagle Rock Reservation is the best way to escape from city life and enjoy nature for what it is. The 408-acre area, designed in the late 1800s, offers numerous trails for hikers with different types of experience. But for the most part, hiking in Eagle Rock is pretty relaxed. If you do make it up to the High Lawn, be sure to stop by the September 11th Memorial where you can look out onto Essex County as well as see parts of New York City in the distance.
Morristown National Historical Park
Morristown National Historical Park is not just a beautiful place; it also carries a lot of America’s history. The park pays tribute to General Washington and the site of the Continental Army’s winter encampment from December 1779 to June 1780. While visitors can explore the Ford Mansion and Fort Nonsense, Jockey Hollow and the NJ Brigade offer up a number of hiking trails that range from short easy walks to more moderate paths.