Being named the Garden State was no accident for New Jersey. With abundant nature reserves, state parks and the Appalachian Trail, Jersey holds some of the most coveted hiking trails and overlooks in the region.
And guess what? The best time of year to explore these natural gems is now, when the foliage is changing from summer’s green to autumn’s red and yellow. So grab your besties, pack a lunch and set out for a new adventure to one of these great hiking trails!
Worthington State Forest
This rugged trail is an extension of the Appalachian Trail, located in Columbia, N.J., and runs approximately eight miles from Dunnfield Creek Trail, making this hike close to a five-hour adventure. This rocky run snakes you along the creek and ends at Sunfish Pond, a glacier lake that is one of 14 rock basin lakes in the area.
Ramapo Mountain State Forest
This state park, located in Oakland, N.J., is best known for its view of the New York City skyline, visible through the vibrant fall foliage. You’ll start the hike along Ramapo Lake, where you’ll enjoy the reflection of the fall colors on the lake’s surface. Deep in the woods of Ramapo Hills you can hike through the ruins of the Van Slyke Castle, an estate built in the early 1900s. While the average trail length is a little over three hours, you can easily mix and match trails to adjust the length of your hike.
Located in the Delaware Water Gap National Recreational Area in Sussex County, New Jersey, this hike is one of Jersey’s most sought-after outdoor experiences. The more than seven mile hike overlooks Buttermilk Falls, Jersey’s highest waterfall, Crater Lake and Hemlock Pond. Experiencing the waterfalls right after a rain is second to none!
Pyramid Mountain Natural Historical Area
Tucked between Kinnelon, Boonton and Montville, this trail is encompassed by the mighty ranges of the Pyramid and Turkey Mountains. A nearly three-hour hike will lead you through waterfalls, wetlands, and past the famous Tripod Rock, a 160-ton boulder that sits atop three smaller rocks. All along the trail you will be able to soak up the myriad of colors that come with fall and end your hike with a breathtaking Manhattan skyline.
Palisades Interstate Park
The beautiful shores of the Hudson River lend a 12-mile hike through this international park. Lush with fall foliage and more than just hiking trails, you’ll want to pack a lunch – and maybe dinner – for this one because of its length. While this is a nature sanctuary, ski trails and boat basins are just a few more of the perks you’ll experience during this breathtaking hike.
Wyanoke High Point Trail
Located in Passaic County, New Jersey, this nearly four-mile hike leads you through a trail full of inviting footbridges, babbling brooks, a waterfall and an abandoned mine that dates back to 1765. Halfway through the scenic loop, you’ll find yourself standing atop a breathtaking summit that offers a 360-degree view that includes the New York City skyline.
With all these great outdoor adventures in our backyard, it’s time to get out and enjoy them!