Fall means the leaves are starting to change colors, you’re ordering pumpkin spice lattes, and the weather begins to cool down. One of our fave fall activities is hiking with our littles and checking out the changing fall foliage while getting some exercise and fresh air outside together. If you weren’t already aware, our great Garden State has many accessible hiking trails for everyone from veterans to beginners. We’ve rounded up several below to help you find a local trail and hopefully a new one.
Grab your canteen, we’re going hiking ?
Estell Manor Park
Estell Manor Park is home to 20 miles of trails in Atlantic County. Not only is this a great place to bring the family for some hiking and biking, this park also has so much history to learn. A 1.8 mile boardwalk begins at the Nature Center and is fully accessible for park visitors.
Small and quaint, Celery Farm in Bergen County is a great place to take the family for a day of hiking. A 107 acre freshwater wetland, there are streams and meadows with all kinds of birds, animals, and insects can be found. Perfect for a game of I-Spy.
Palisades Interstate Park
Along the Hudson River you can find the New Jersey section of the Palisades Interstate Park – a fantastic place to go hiking with the family. With its beautiful views of Manhatten and the Hudson River, two trails can be traversed as well as cross-country skiing and bicycling.
Brendan T. Byrne State Forest
Located in Burlington County, the State Forest is home to the Batona Trail, Cranberry Trail, and Mount Misery Trail. There are 3,000 miles of bogs, forests, and wetlands for you to explore with the family. The State Forest is 36,000 acres of pure and serene hiking areas.
South Mountain Reservation
There are many reasons that families come to the South Mountain Reservation such as picnic areas, Turtle Back Zoo, year-round skating rinks, five hiking trails, and amazing views. Altogether there are 19 miles of hiking trails and 27 carriage roads for jogging, horseback riding and cross-country skiing. Travel far enough into the woods and you’ll be delighted by a 25-foot waterfall at Hemlock Falls.
This Preserve is home to several miles of blazed trails, each ranging from .6 to one mile, and all open to hiking, horseback riding and mountain biking. One of the most amazing aspects of the Preserve is the narrow dirt road that leads to a ravine, giving families a feeling of solitude and alone time.
Voorhees State Park
Located in the hills of Hunterdon County, Voorhees State Park consists of 10 hiking trails, totaling about 10 miles, of rough and graveled to rocky and steep terrain. There are two overlook areas where families can stop and take in the scenic views of two reservoirs – Instagram anyone?
Cheesequake State Park
Bring your four-legged friends to one of five trails available to hike, bike or go cross-country skiing at Cheesequake State Park. The Yellow Trail may be the best option for families, it points out interesting sites and features along the way.
Allaire State Park
Allaire is a fun and historic place to take the family for a day with walking trails, playgrounds, picnic areas and a historic village. There are 20 marked trails for hiking and mountain biking.
Mansaquan Reservoir County Park
The Manasquan Reservoir is a ‘do not miss’ attraction in Monmouth County. With marked and unmarked trails, canoeing, kayaking and a playground, families can spend an entire day outside. The park itself spans 1,204 acres and surrounds the Manasquan Reservoir, a peaceful spot to end an exciting(but exhausting) day.
Black River County Park
Part of the Morris County Park System, the Park is 510 acres and includes four marked trails perfect for hiking. Black River County Park has cultural sites too, making it a little different than most other trails. Hike in the Black River Gorge and stop by the ruins of Kay’s Cottage.
Hacklebarney State Park
Cutting through the State Park is the freshwater Black River. The Park itself has 9 trails – each differ in skill level. Some are narrow and rocky while others are gravel. Hike and then stick around for some incredible views of Hacklebarney Falls.
Mahlon Dickerson Reservation
The Reservation is home to about 10 blazed trails including the picturesque Pine Swamp Loop Trail which leads to the end of the Pine Swamp. The park spans 3346 acres and gives families the opportunity to hike, bike, and ski year-round.
Pyramid Mountain Natural Historic Area
Nestled in Morris County, the Natural Historic Area runs about 30 miles through Kinnelon, Montville and Boonton. It’s got cool features like unusual glacial erratics, dramatic rock outcrops, views of the Manhattan skyline, wetlands, and waterfalls. Your kids will love Bear Rock, one of the largest in the state, and Tripod Rock – a giant boulder resting atop three smaller boulders. We love rocks!
Cattus Island County Park
Cattus Island County Park is not your typical environment for hiking, you won’t see any bears or bald eagles – but you’ll see ospreys and reptiles who thrive in NJ’s watershed region. The park spans 530 acres with over 7 miles of trails lining the Barnegat Bay. Kids will enjoy the Cooper Environmental Center – which is home to snakes, spiders, hands-on displays, and lots of information about the animals you’ll find at Cattus Island.
Rifle Camp Park
Hike the yellow blazed trail for picturesque views of the New York City skyline. Rifle Camp Park sits on the edge of Garret Mountain, a section of First Watchung Mountain. That means, there’s plenty of space to spend time in nature and hike too.
Ringwood State Park
We ❤️ Ringwood State Park because there’s so much to do and see. Ringwood State Park is comprised of four parts – Ringwood Manor, the NJ State Botanical Garden, Shepherd Lake, and Bear Swamp Lake. If you need a little more than some pretty paths and walking trails, then check out Ringwood Manor and the Botanical Garden. Click here for our full NJ gardens guide.
Lord Stirling Park
Looking for a boardwalk trail? How about three miles worth? Lord Stirling Park offers boardwalk trails,two observation towers, two observation blinds and over eight miles of trails. An extra 500 acres has been set aside as an Equestrian area where no foot traffic is allowed.
High Point State Park
Looking for some incredible views? Look no further than High Point State Park, which promises an incredible view at NJ’s highest point. Climb, explore, and swim in the Atlantic cedar swamp or Lake Marcia. Visit the High Point Monument, a memorial to NJ veterans. Check it out to see why NJ natives say it’s one of the Garden State’s best hiking areas.
Hawk Rise Sanctuary
Once a landfill, NJ has reclaimed this area to be a peaceful landscape for hiking with 1.5 miles of trails. With over 120 species of birds that have been seen at the Sanctuary, kids will love stopping at the observation tower to see what birds they can find. The area feels incredibly remote once you enter the grounds.
Family friendly and historic, the Watchung Reservation is a place where wildlife and nature is preserved. There are four short trails and one trail that is 10.8 miles long, giving everyone the opportunity to hike, from hiking veterans to beginners.
For a complete list of hiking trails in NJ, please visit http://www.nynjtc.org/.