The latest update for this article is written by Lindsay Podolak.

The Garden State is home to some of the most beautiful landscapes in the country. From famous shores to hiking-friendly mountainous areas, NJ’s diverse regions can be enjoyed by both residents and visitors. These locales can serve as relaxing mini-vacations, enjoyable day trips, or something in between. For the adventurous sort, Somerset County’s Sourland Mountain Preserve is a must-stop destination. In fact, here are the best reasons to do just that!

No matter the season, locals love to trek the unbridled terrain of the state’s most stunning parks and regions. In Somerset County, the Sourland Mountain Preserve offers miles of diverse trails for hikers of every skill level.

The county-owned Sourland Mountain Preserve is 4,000 acres of unadulterated north eastern nature. The land is very rich in natural resources and encompasses “a variety of stream corridors, geological outcrops, and an ecological preserve that provides a core habitat for a diversity of plant and animal species,” according to the Somerset County Park Commission.

Sourland Mountain Preserve in Somerset County

Facts about Sourland Mountain Preserve

Carved through the mountain are several hiker-friendly trails for all levels of adventurers; there is a 5-mile Ridge Trail, a 2.1-mile Roaring Brook Trail, a 1.4-mile Maple Flats Trail, and a half-mile Pondside Trail. Though some trails can get bumpy, most are great for jogging, mountain biking, horseback riding, bouldering, and animal watching. Of course, all these trails are suitable for traditional hiking.

The Commission does advise that visitors keep their eyes peeled for the active wildlife roaming around the area. The Sourland Mountain Preserve is home to foxes, deer, reptiles, amphibians, migrating and nesting birds and other wild creatures. But don’t worry—if you don’t bother them, they won’t bother you.

According to the Somerset County Park Commission, the preserve’s name is believed to have derived from the term “sorrel-land,” which describes the reddish-brown (or “sorrel”) colored soil encountered by the pioneering German farmers. The entire region, which stretches southwest across Somerset County and through the southern Hunterdon and northern Mercer Counties, soon adopted the eccentric Sourland name.

Sourland Mountain Preserve in Somerset County

Don’t Miss This Somerset County Spectacle

Today, thousands upon thousands of visitors travel to the mountain each year to enjoy days filled with nature and exercise. Those interested in doing as such are encouraged to grab some friends and visit the Sourland Mountain Preserve while the weather is warm. Just remember to be courteous, responsible and alert!

Sourland Mountain Preserve is open everyday from dawn until dusk, and parking is available by the main entrance off East Mountain Road near the border of Hillsborough and Montgomery Townships.

Below, you’ll find a gallery showcasing 42 photos of the Sourland Mountain Preserve. You can click on any single image to see the whole gallery in slideshow format. Let us know which one is your favorite on Facebook!


Hero (Top) Feature Image (& Additional Images): © Patrick Lombardi / Best of NJ

* * * * *

All editorial content on Best of NJ is governed by our Terms of Service. For details about sponsored content and other promotions, please see our Disclaimer.