You might not expect anything too special from a place named Goat Hill. But Goat Hill Overlook in Hunterdon County actually comprises more than 200 acres of land. In addition, the overlook itself gives visitors a spectacular view of New Hope, Pennsylvania, and the Delaware River. The lovely views and rich history earn Goat Hill a place among The Best NJ Hiking Trails.
First, a brief history; the area around Goat Hill has roots dating back to the American Revolutionary War. In fact, George Washington himself stood at the precipice to view the river, serving as a strategic asset during combat. Moreover, he oversaw the arrangements for the attack on Trenton from the spot. Of course, British General Charles Cornwallis also used this overlook to view the colonies’ activity up and down the river.
A Great Day Trip
Today, Goat Hill Overlook serves as a prime hiking destination in central New Jersey. We have the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection’s Green Acres program to thank for maintaining the trails. Goat Hill Overlook is part of the Sourlands and the hills and mountain ranges extend to Hillsborough Township, Somerset County.
In truth, this hike is one of the more relaxing ones in our series; it’s hard to believe how little effort it takes to reach such breathtaking views. In other words, this is the best spot for a day trip with family, friends, and/or your dog.
You’ll find parking for Goat Hill Overlook off George Washington Road in Lambertville, not far from the trailhead. Route 29/River Road runs right past the overlook itself; then taking Valley Road (by Golden Nugget Antique Flea Market) to Goat Hill Road leads right to George Washington Road. Finally, this road leads you right up to a sign for Goat Hill Overlook, and parking is just past that. There’s a decent amount of space in the parking lot, but crowds do come by on weekends with nice weather. Meanwhile, the trail is near a residential area, so please be mindful of the park’s neighbors.
Hitting the Goat Hill Overlook Trail
After parking, heading up the road leads you to a narrower gravel road. This trail soon splits in three directions. If you follow the red trail to the middle-left, you’ll head right to the overlook itself. This direct route to the main overlook is just about a mile.
However, if you take the white trail to the far left, you’ll find a couple more forks. If you follow the white trail markers along your right side, you will eventually see a random red trail marker. This leads you to another quaint overlook; but for the best view from here, you’ll have to balance yourself on a large, heavily graffitied rock.
If you follow the trail a little farther down, there is another overlook set slightly farther back from the others. The view here is encircled by vegetation and allows you to peek farther down the river. Most of the time, this spot is quiet and more secluded than the others.
Goat Hill Overlook itself gives visitors the most comprehensive view. The panorama is stunning, and it’s also safe for your little hikers in training; there’s a big grassy area and even a picnic table. Though Goat Hill Overlook is known for its view, it’s also an ideal spot to hang out and relax. You’ll know when you get there by the big sign (and the amount of people taking a break).
This series of trials splits off a number of times, but many of them lead directly to Goat Hill Overlook. The trails are clearly defined, making it easy to stay on course without getting turned around. This makes the trip a fun one for experienced hikers, as well as a great hike for any skill level.
Then, while you’re in the area, be sure to visit some of the distinguished restaurants and eclectic boutiques. Lambertville and New Hope have a number of family-friendly eateries and activities, so there’s always a lot to do. This means that after hiking Goat Hill Overlook, you can take a stroll through one of New Jersey’s many great little cities.
If you’re new to hiking, be sure to check out The Best Safety Tips for Hiking in NJ.
All Photos: © Patrick Lombardi / Best of NJ