If you’re looking for a great outdoor adventure in the Northeastern United States, then New Jersey is the place to be! While the state is often overshadowed by its neighboring states, New Jersey boasts some of the most beautiful hiking trails in the region. From rugged mountain paths to peaceful river walks, New Jersey’s hiking trails offer a variety of experiences for both novice and experienced hikers alike. In this blog, we’ll explore the top 10 hiking trails in New Jersey, providing information on trail length, difficulty level, elevation gain, and trailheads. Whether you’re a local looking to explore more of what the state has to offer, or a visitor seeking to discover the natural beauty of the Garden State, these hiking trails are not to be missed!
Appalachian Trail at Sunfish Pond
Trail Length: 7.2 Miles | Difficulty Level: Moderate | Elevation Gain: 960 Feet | Trailhead: Dunnfield Creek Parking Area
The Appalachian Trail at Sunfish Pond is a popular hiking trail located in Worthington State Forest, New Jersey. This moderate 7.2-mile trail offers breathtaking views of the Delaware Water Gap and culminates at the picturesque Sunfish Pond. With its rocky terrain and moderate elevation gain, this trail is perfect for hikers seeking a moderate challenge and scenic beauty.
Reasons to Hike Appalachian Trail at Sunfish Pond:
- Breathtaking Views: The trail offers stunning panoramic views of the Delaware Water Gap and surrounding forests, making it a photographer’s paradise.
- Picturesque Sunfish Pond: The trail culminates at the beautiful and serene Sunfish Pond, offering a perfect spot for a relaxing picnic or swim.
- Moderate Challenge: With its rocky terrain and moderate elevation gain, the trail offers a moderate challenge, making it perfect for hikers of all skill levels looking for a bit of adventure.
- Wildlife Viewing: The trail is home to a variety of wildlife, including black bears, deer, and a diverse range of bird species, making it a great spot for nature lovers.
- Historical Significance: The trail is part of the iconic Appalachian Trail, which stretches over 2,000 miles across the Eastern United States, and is a must-visit for history buffs and outdoor enthusiasts alike.
Recommended Gear: Hiking Boots, Backpack, Water Bottle, Trekking Poles, Headlamp, First Aid Kit, Map, Compass
Trail Length: 2.8 Miles | Difficulty Level: Easy | Elevation Gain: 200 Feet | Trailhead: Buttermilk Falls Parking Lot
Buttermilk Falls is a beautiful and easily accessible hiking trail located in the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area in New Jersey. This easy 2.8-mile trail offers scenic views of the 90-foot waterfall and its surrounding lush greenery. With its well-maintained paths and gentle terrain, this trail is perfect for families, nature enthusiasts, and anyone looking for a peaceful and rejuvenating hike.
Reasons to Hike Buttermilk Falls:
- Scenic Waterfall: The trail leads to the stunning 90-foot Buttermilk Falls, offering a picturesque and refreshing spot to relax and take in the beauty of nature.
- Easy Accessibility: The trail is easily accessible and has a well-maintained path, making it perfect for families and anyone looking for a quick and easy hike.
- Wildlife Viewing: The trail is home to a variety of wildlife, including birds, squirrels, and chipmunks, making it a great spot for nature lovers.
- Educational Significance: The trail has educational signs along the way, providing visitors with information about the local flora and fauna, as well as the geology and history of the area.
- Peaceful Atmosphere: With its gentle terrain and serene surroundings, the trail offers a peaceful and rejuvenating escape from the hustle and bustle of everyday life.
Recommended Gear: Comfortable Shoes, Water Bottle, Sunscreen, Bug Spray, Camera, Snacks, and Binoculars
Stairway to Heaven
Trail Length: 2.6 Miles | Difficulty Level: Moderate | Elevation Gain: 1,180 Feet | Trailhead: Route 517 Parking Lot
Stairway to Heaven is a challenging but rewarding hiking trail located in Vernon, New Jersey. The trail’s name comes from its steep incline, which leads hikers up a rocky path to breathtaking views of the surrounding area. With a total length of 2.6 miles and an elevation gain of over 1,000 feet, this trail is a great choice for experienced hikers looking for a challenging and memorable adventure.
Reasons to Hike Stairway to Heaven:
- Spectacular Views: The trail offers stunning views of the surrounding mountains and valleys, including the Delaware Water Gap and New York City skyline on clear days.
- Challenging Terrain: With steep inclines, rocky terrain, and a total elevation gain of over 1,000 feet, the trail provides a challenging and rewarding workout for experienced hikers.
- Unique Rock Formations: Along the way, hikers will encounter unique rock formations, including a natural staircase made of stone slabs and a massive rock outcropping known as the “Pinwheel Vista.”
- Varied Scenery: The trail passes through a variety of landscapes, including forests, fields, and rocky outcroppings, providing a diverse and exciting hiking experience.
- Wildlife Viewing: The trail is home to a variety of wildlife, including deer, bears, and birds of prey, making it a great spot for nature lovers and wildlife enthusiasts.
Recommended Gear: Hiking Boots, Trekking Poles, Water Bottle, Snacks, Sunscreen, Insect Repellent, Camera
Trail Length: 4.3 Miles | Difficulty Level: Moderate | Elevation Gain: 530 Feet | Trailhead: Pyramid Mountain Natural Historic Area
Pyramid Mountain is a nature reserve located in Montville, New Jersey, that offers a variety of hiking trails for all levels of experience. The reserve features unique geological formations, including ancient volcanic rock and glacial erratics, as well as diverse plant and animal life. With trails ranging from easy strolls to more challenging hikes, Pyramid Mountain is a great destination for a day trip or a weekend adventure.
Reasons to Hike Pyramid Mountain:
- Geological Wonders: The reserve features unique geological formations, including the Pyramid Mountain itself, an ancient volcanic rock formation that rises over 900 feet above sea level.
- Diverse Plant Life: The trails wind through a variety of habitats, including hardwood forests, swamps, and fields, providing opportunities to see a diverse array of plant species.
- Abundant Wildlife: The reserve is home to a variety of wildlife, including black bears, bobcats, and over 300 species of birds, making it a great spot for wildlife enthusiasts.
- Challenging Hikes: For experienced hikers, the reserve offers challenging trails with steep inclines and rocky terrain, providing a great workout and stunning views of the surrounding landscape.
- Family-Friendly Trails: The reserve also offers easy and flat trails that are perfect for families with children or those looking for a more relaxed hiking experience.
Recommended Gear: Hiking Boots, Water Bottle, Snacks, Insect Repellent, Sunscreen, Map, First Aid Kit
Palisades Interstate Park
Trail Length: 12.5 Miles | Difficulty Level: Easy to Moderate | Elevation Gain: 550 Feet | Trailhead: Alpine Picnic Area and Boat Basin
Palisades Interstate Park is a scenic park located along the Hudson River in northeastern New Jersey. It is a popular destination for outdoor enthusiasts, offering miles of hiking trails that wind through lush forests, along the river, and up the Palisades cliffs, providing stunning views of the surrounding landscape. The park also features a variety of recreational activities, including picnicking, fishing, and birdwatching.
Reasons to Hike Palisades Interstate Park:
- Scenic Views: The park offers some of the most stunning views in New Jersey, including panoramic vistas of the Hudson River and the New York City skyline.
- Varied Terrain: With over 30 miles of hiking trails, the park has something to offer for hikers of all skill levels, from gentle strolls along the river to challenging hikes up the Palisades cliffs.
- Abundant Wildlife: The park is home to a variety of wildlife, including deer, foxes, and a wide variety of bird species, providing ample opportunities for wildlife viewing.
- Historic Sites: The park also features several historic sites, including the Kearney House, a restored 18th-century farmhouse, and the Women’s Federation Monument, which commemorates the efforts of women’s clubs in preserving the Palisades.
- Recreational Activities: In addition to hiking, the park offers a range of recreational activities, including picnicking, fishing, and rock climbing, making it a great destination for a day trip or weekend getaway.
Recommended Gear: Hiking Boots, Water Bottle, Sunscreen, Insect Repellent, Trail Map, Snacks, First Aid Kit
Trail Length: 1.5 Miles | Difficulty Level: Easy | Elevation Gain: 200 Feet | Trailhead: Hemlock Falls Parking Lot
Hemlock Falls is a serene and picturesque waterfall located in South Mountain Reservation, Essex County, New Jersey. The trail leading to the falls is a moderate 1.5-mile hike, perfect for a day trip with family or friends. With a beautiful waterfall as the payoff, Hemlock Falls is a must-visit for any hiking enthusiast.
Reasons to Hike Hemlock Falls:
- Beautiful Waterfall: Hemlock Falls is a stunning waterfall and the highlight of this trail.
- Scenic Hiking Trail: The trail leading to Hemlock Falls is scenic and passes through a lovely wooded area.
- Suitable for All Skill Levels: The trail is only 1.6 miles long and is considered moderate in difficulty, making it accessible to hikers of all skill levels.
- Easy to Access: Hemlock Falls is located in South Mountain Reservation, which is easily accessible by car or public transportation.
- Family-Friendly: Hemlock Falls is a great hiking destination for families, with plenty of opportunities to explore and enjoy the outdoors together.
Recommended Gear: Hiking Boots, Water Bottle,
Trail Length: 3.6 Miles | Difficulty Level: Difficult | Elevation Gain: 1,200 Feet | Trailhead: Mount Tammany Parking Lot
Mount Tammany is a popular hiking destination located in the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area. This strenuous trail offers stunning views of the Delaware River and the surrounding forests. The hike is a challenging one, but the breathtaking scenery at the summit makes it all worth it.
Reasons to Hike Mount Tammany:
- Spectacular Views: Mount Tammany offers panoramic views of the Delaware River and the surrounding landscape that are sure to take your breath away.
- Challenging Hike: This trail is a steep and strenuous climb, making it a perfect challenge for experienced hikers.
- Abundant Wildlife: Keep an eye out for a variety of wildlife, including birds of prey, deer, and black bears.
- Historical Significance: Mount Tammany played a significant role in the American Revolution, with both American and British forces occupying it at different times during the war.
- Well-Maintained Trail: The trail is well-maintained and easy to follow, with several scenic overlooks and rest areas along the way.
Recommended Gear: Hiking Boots, Trekking Poles, Hydration System, Sunscreen, Insect Repellent, First Aid Kit, Trail Map
Cheesequake State Park
Trail Length: 5.5 Miles | Difficulty Level: Easy | Elevation Gain: 150 Feet | Trailhead: Cheesequake State Park Trailhead Parking Lot
Cheesequake State Park offers a unique experience for hikers with its diverse landscape ranging from salt marshes to upland forests. This 1274-acre park has several trails ranging from easy to moderate, suitable for hikers of all levels. The trails pass through swamps, bogs, and around Cheesequake Lake, providing picturesque views of the park’s diverse flora and fauna.
Reasons to Hike Cheesequake State Park:
- Unique Natural Features: The park boasts a rare combination of saltwater and freshwater marshes, making it a great place for nature lovers.
- Diverse Trails: With over 5 miles of hiking trails, the park has something to offer for hikers of all skill levels.
- Wildlife Viewing: Visitors can spot a variety of wildlife including ospreys, foxes, and turtles.
- Historic Significance: The park has a rich history and was once home to a Lenape Indian Village.
- Camping Options: Cheesequake State Park offers camping facilities, so you can extend your adventure and spend more time in nature.
Recommended Gear: Hiking Shoes, Water Bottle, Snacks, Sunscreen, Insect Repellent, Navigation Tool, First Aid Kit
Allamuchy Mountain State Park
Trail Length: 14.3 Miles | Difficulty Level: Moderate | Elevation Gain: 900 Feet | Trailhead: Allamuchy Mountain State Park Trailhead
Allamuchy Mountain State Park is a beautiful park in northern New Jersey, offering a variety of hiking trails that wind through lush forests and scenic landscapes. With more than 14 miles of trails to explore, visitors can enjoy breathtaking views of the surrounding countryside and immerse themselves in nature. Whether you’re a seasoned hiker or just looking for a casual walk in the woods, Allamuchy Mountain State Park has something to offer everyone.
Reasons to Hike Allamuchy Mountain State Park:
- Diverse Terrain: Allamuchy Mountain State Park offers a range of trails, from easy to challenging, through woodlands, meadows, and rocky ridges.
- Wildlife Watching: The park is home to a variety of animals, such as black bears, bobcats, foxes, and birds of prey, providing opportunities for spotting wildlife.
- Views: The park features scenic vistas of the surrounding mountains, valleys, and lakes, especially from the higher elevations of the trails.
- Fishing and Boating: The park encompasses several bodies of water, including Lake Hopatcong and Allamuchy Pond, which offer fishing and boating opportunities.
- History and Culture: The park has a rich history of iron mining, logging, and farming, and includes historic structures and artifacts, such as the Waterloo Village and the Morris Canal.
Recommended Gear: Hiking Boots, Backpack, Water Bottle, Sunscreen, Bug Spray, Map, Flashlight
Trail Length: 3.5 Miles | Difficulty Level: Easy | Elevation Gain: 250 Feet | Trailhead: Sourland Mountain Preserve Trailhead
Sourland Mountain is a popular destination for hikers and nature lovers in central New Jersey. This area of rolling hills, forested valleys, and rocky outcroppings provides a picturesque backdrop for outdoor adventures. With miles of trails that wind through hardwood forests, along streams, and up to scenic vistas, Sourland Mountain is an excellent choice for a day hike or an overnight camping trip.
Reasons to Hike Sourland Mountain:
- Scenic Views: The mountain offers breathtaking views of the surrounding area, including farmland and forests.
- Wildlife Sightings: Hikers can spot a variety of wildlife, including deer, foxes, and birds.
- Challenging Trails: The terrain is varied and can be challenging, making it a great option for experienced hikers looking for a workout.
- Rock Formations: The mountain is known for its unique rock formations, which add to the scenic beauty of the trails.
- Peaceful Atmosphere: With its remote location and quiet surroundings, Sourland Mountain provides a peaceful escape from the hustle and bustle of everyday life.
Recommended Gear: Trekking Poles, Hiking Boots, Backpack, Water Filter, Headlamp, Sunscreen, Insect Repellent