NJ Farms-Fall Harvest
NJ Fall: Apples, Pumpkins, Ghosts

As the temperature cools and the leaves start to change, there’s no better way to embrace the season than to get outside and explore the nature around you. New Jersey is home to miles upon miles of beautiful hiking trails, many of which offer the stunning New York City skyline views unique to our state.

Below are a few of the best trails, where you can immerse yourself in all of the reds, oranges, and golds that you can handle. Grab your water bottle, hiking boots — and maybe even your furry best friend — and get going!

Pyramid Mountain Natural Historic Area

TripodRockStandout Trail: Pyramid Mountain staff members recommend a 3.5-mile, moderately challenging trail that begins in the parking area, passes through a scenic overlook, and culminates at Tripod Rock. Plus, the return loop has a stretch along the Taylortown Reservoir.

Location: Montville Township
Estimated Duration: 2.5 hours
Hours: Sunrise to Sunset
Why It’s Great: The trail boasts stunning views of the New York City skyline, waterfalls, wetlands — and an up-close look at Tripod Rock. It’s a glacial erratic — aka, a rock not native to the area — and, as a 160-ton boulder balanced on three smaller stones, it’s a striking feat of nature.
More info: Visit http://www.morrisparks.net/aspparks/pyrmtnmain.asp.


Worthington State Forest

Photo credit: David LipscombStandout Trail: A 7.8-mile trek follows the park’s Dunnfield Creek trail from the parking area for the first 3.5 miles, reaches Sunfish Pond, and returns on the Appalachian Trail.

Location: Hardwick Township, Warren County
Estimated Duration: 5.5 hours
Hours: Sunrise to Sunset
Why It’s Great: You can enjoy breathtaking views of Delaware Water Gap and Sunfish Pond, a stunning glacial lake. Warning: This terrain is rocky, so hiking boots are a must!
More info: Visit http://www.state.nj.us/dep/parksandforests/parks/worthington.html.


Ramapo Mountain State Forest

Van Slyke CastleStandout Trail: The trails are adaptable, but we like the five-mile route that takes hikers along Ramapo Lake and passes through the ruins of Van Slyke Castle. Take the MacEvoy Trail for about 1.5 miles, turn off onto Castle Point Trail, and use the Todd Trail to loop back around to the MacEvoy Trail.

Location: Bergen and Passaic counties
Estimated Duration: 3.5 hours
Hours: 8:00 am – 8:00 pm until November 1, when the trails will close at 6:00 pm
Why It’s Great: The trails are flexible, so hikers can mix-and-match routes based on their interests and ability. And Ramapo boasts New York City skyline views — as well as the ruins of Van Slyke Castle.
More info: Visit http://www.nynjtc.org/park/ramapo-mountain-state-forest.


Delaware Water Gap National Recreational Area

Buttermilk FallsStandout Trail: A scenic 7.5-mile hike covers Buttermilk Falls, Crater Lake, and Hemlock Pond. Begin at Buttermilk Falls, head onto the Appalachian Trail until you reach the Crater Lake Trail, you’ll then use the Blue Mountain Lakes Trail to link back up with the Buttermilk Falls Trails and return using that route.

Location: Layton, Sussex County
Estimated Duration: 6 hours
Hours: Sunrise to Sunset
Why It’s Great: Buttermilk Falls is NJ’s highest waterfall and a favorite destination of visitors to the park. Be sure to plan your hike after a period of rain to get the best views of the waterfall.
More info: Visit http://www.nps.gov/dewa/planyourvisit/trails.htm.


Hacklebarney State Park

Black RiverStandout Trail: Take the Main Trail to the Upper Trail, and then use the Lower Trail to hike along the Black River before looping back.

Location: Morris County
Estimated Duration: 2 hours
Hours: Sunrise to Sunset
Why It’s Great: This trail takes hikers along many streams as well as the Black River, which is a plus as proximity to water causes leaves to change color earlier in the season.
More info: Visit http://www.state.nj.us/dep/parksandforests/parks/hackle.html.


Palisades Interstate Park

Palisades Interstate ParkStandout Trail: Take the Long Path, which starts at the stunning State Line Lookout, and moves through the park, hitting many other places of interest along the way.

Location: Bergen County
Estimated Duration: 4 hours
Hours: Sunrise to Sunset
Why It’s Great: State Line Lookout features a breathtaking panoramic view of the Hudson River. The park also boasts Greenbrook Sanctuary (a secluded woodland preserve), three historic sites (including the Kearney House, a nineteenth century tavern), four picnic areas, and three boat basins.
More info: Visit http://www.njpalisades.org/index.html.


Cheesequake State Park

CheesequakeStandout Trail: A 4.5-mile hike explores Hooks Creeks Lake, Perrine Pond, and terrain ranging from forests to salt marshes. For this hike, take the Yellow Trail to the Blue Trail until you reach the Green Trail, which will complete the loop.

Location: Middlesex County
Estimated Duration: 3 hours
Hours: 8:00 am to 8:00 pm
Why It’s Great: This park boasts a rare combination of vegetation, from salt marshes to wetlands to forests, all of which are easily accessible to hikers through various trails.
More info: Visit http://www.state.nj.us/dep/parksandforests/parks/cheesequake.html.


Norvin Green State Forest

WyanokieStandout Trail: This four-mile trail will take you to one of the best views in New Jersey, Wyanokie High Point. Begin on the Otter Hole Trail, until you come to the Hewitt-Butler Trail, and follow this trail to the Wyanokie Circular Trail. Continue on the Wyanokie Circular Trail until it splits from the Mine Trail, at which point you should follow the Mine Trail to the Roomy Mine Trail. Stick to this trail until you once again reach the Mine Trail. From here, follow the Hewitt-Butler Trail to the Otter Hole Trail until you come back to your starting point.

Location: Passaic County
Estimated Duration: 3 hours
Hours: Sunrise to Sunset
Why It’s Great: Wyanokie High Point features breathtaking skyline views, and also overlooks the Wanaque Reservoir. You’ll also see an old copper mine, as well as many streams and unique rock formations.
More info: Visit http://www.nynjtc.org/hike/wyanokie-high-point-loop-weis-ecology-center.


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