6 Of The Best Hiking Trails In New Jersey

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Many hikers would argue that the epitome of an outdoor experience involves a memorable hike. Sharing them with friends, family, and loved ones can make all the difference, and even solo hikes can be greatly cherished. My hiking experience in New Jersey involves countless hours of enjoyment, so let’s explore hiking in New Jersey!

Hiking in New Jersey offers trails for beginners advanced and seasoned hikers. Top trails include Sandy Hook Multi-Use Trail, Stairway To Heaven Trail, and Stonetown Circular Trail. There are meadows, dense forests, and boardwalks to explore, as well as deers, fowler toads, and spiders to see.

There’s a whole natural world to explore when hiking in New Jersey. It becomes fascinating after rain and snow occur, and this is why it is one of the most exciting places to go hiking! Grab your family and friends, and let’s do a little adventuring of our own.

Hiking In New Jersey

New Jersey hiking trails excel in their “what you see is what you get” approach, in that they are either easy or difficult, but not both. It forms a big part of why every level of hiker can find something that they will deem satisfying and enjoyable, regardless of age.

Inexperienced hikers and families will thoroughly enjoy Sandy Hook Multi-Use Trail in Gateway Recreational Area. Although it’s a lengthy trail, it’s primarily flat with paved footpaths and beach areas. Consequently, it’s not strenuous and offers resting places and even some exciting restaurants for when you work up an appetite!

For intermediate hikers, Stairway To Heaven Trail offers the perfect level of challenge and enjoyment. Several interconnecting trails provide breathtaking waterfall views, steep inclines, and great heights that can make it especially difficult if you struggle with acrophobia.

The most daring and courageous hikers will undoubtedly meet their match at Stonetown Circular Trail. It is packed with steep inclines and descents, thick snow during winter times, slippery rocks and hills, altitudes reaching as high as 10,000 feet, and spiders that will greet you with a smile (although they are harmless)!

New Jersey Hiking Trails For The Whole Family

Hiking is one of the best fun-filled activities for introducing kids to nature. New Jersey has a plethora of beginner and family-friendly hiking trails that turn a good day into a great one! If you want to get kids away from the Playstation or Xbox, the allure of the outdoors is an exceptional way to do that. 

Sandy Hook Multi-Use Trail, Gateway Recreational Area

Sandy Hook Multi-Use Path is a 9.3-mile out-and-back trail near Highlands, New Jersey, featuring lovely wildflowers and suitable for all ability levels. The path provides a variety of activities and is open all year. Dogs are welcome to join as long as they are on a leash. It takes on average 3 hours and 50 minutes to finish the path.

It’s worth mentioning, though, that the region is vulnerable to closure owing to habitat preservation concerns. Dogs are not allowed on the oceanside beaches at Sandy Hook Unit for wildlife preservation from March 15 to September 15.

This trail is a well-kept, paved bicycle and walking trail that runs along the coast and leads to the beach. Points of interest include Fort Hancock, the Sandy Hook Lighthouse, and artillery batteries. The paved parking area off of Hartshorne Drive at the trail’s south terminus has 14 accessible spaces with van-accessible and have striped access aisles.

The route is paved asphalt, smooth, and generally at least 8 feet wide, with a painted dividing line running the length of the trail to narrow it. Most trail users, including those who need wheelchairs, mobility equipment, or strollers, will likely be able to navigate this trail. This multi-use route is also ADA-compliant, according to the park’s website.

At Guardian Park, there is a wheelchair-accessible restroom, and wheelchair-accessible facilities are available at all six beach locations. Beach wheelchairs are also available for loan to individuals who require them.

The walk also features incredible beach vistas, easy terrain, ample parking, and access to Fort Hancock, the nation’s oldest lighthouse, near the trail’s terminus. You may expect to observe along the route, and If your climb makes you hungry, you’ll be happy to know there are dozens of excellent eateries just outside of Sandy Hook.

West Lane And Oak Way Loop, Duke Farms

The West Lane and Oak Way Loop is a 3.4-mile frequently-traveled loop path with a lake suitable for all skill levels. It is in Manville, New Jersey, and the route is best utilized from April to September and is excellent for walking, jogging, nature visits, and bird viewing.

This route has an easy walking path suitable for individuals of all ages. It also boasts beautiful gardens and exciting wildlife areas that purposely stain clean to provide fantastic photography opportunities. This hike should take about 1 hour and 28 minutes to complete.

The Duke Farms Foundation (DFF), created in 1998 to administer the estate, owns about 1000 acres of land at Duke Farms. The Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, in turn, is a component of the Foundation.

The route is usually 6 to 8 feet wide and paved with partial edge obstacles. The trail is mostly flat with slight inclines, allowing you plenty of opportunities to appreciate the natural beauty surrounding you. A painted dividing line runs along the route, reducing its width.

It is also accessible to most wheelchair users and those who use mobility equipment or strollers. Resting areas include benches, picnic tables, and wheelchair-accessible picnic tables; the welcome center is also wheelchair-accessible. This track is also ideal for non-expert cyclists, as it consists of many paved roads, trails, and felled trees to navigate.

New Jersey Hiking Trails For The Intermediate Hiker

An interesting challenge can go a long way to helping hikers feel alive and plays into the physical and mental game! New Jersey has many exhilarating trails that will have you working up a sweat, with steep descents, muddy patches, overgrown and rocky climbs – you’ll always find what you’re looking for there.

Stairway To Heaven Trail, Wawayamda State Park

The Stairway to Heaven Route is a 2.6-mile out-and-back trail near Vernon Township, New Jersey, featuring lovely wildflowers. The route is open all year and is famous for hiking, walking, jogging, and bird viewing. This route is also suitable for dogs if they are on a leash. The completion time is typically around 1 hour and 39 minutes.

The Appalachian Boardwalk Entrance has a parking area near the start of the route off of Vernon Warwick Road. On the Appalachian Trail, the path begins with an arduous ascent to the top of Wawayanda Mountain.

There are numerous enormous boulders along with the route up that is perfect for bouldering, but be careful not to lose your footing! You can see the Vernon Valley, Pochuck Mountain, the Kittatinny Mountains, the Catskills, and the Black Dirt area from the peak.

The route next ascends Wawayanda Mountain to another viewpoint point. You’ll begin bushwhacking along the old Appalachian trail route at this point. It’s more of a bushwhack because you can have trouble locating the trail for most of the way down the mountain.

Follow the mountain base back to the Appalachian Trail as you turn right along the unmarked trail. You’ll cross a lovely waterfall and several relaxing cascades on your way down. In this part, be cautious of unstable rocks once more.

As you venture up and down a slew of steep and varying-size granite stairs, the route provides a great overall workout. Bring your favorite hiking boots and a comfortable walking stick, and try to avoid damp weather if at all possible.

The summit’s view is breathtaking, and it’s a great place to take photos. However, if you have acrophobia, you should reconsider pursuing this trek! After that, turn left at the stone pile to reach the vista rocks located between the white and blue trails.

Devil’s Half-Acre Ridge And Tributary Trail Loop

The Devil’s Half-Acre, Ridge, and Tributary Route Loop, which includes a river, is a 6-mile extensively-traveled loop trail in Montgomery Township, New Jersey. The path is open all year and is excellent for hiking and jogging. If your dog is on a leash, they can join you. It will take around 2 hours and 52 minutes to fully complete.

This trek begins with a steady ascent to the summit of Sourland Mountain, which offers stunning views of woods and two big boulder fields. Roaring Brook Trail is reached by following white square blazes. Before rejoining the Ridge Trail and returning to the trailhead at the parking lot, the Roaring Brook Trail is 2.1 miles long.

The Sourland Mountain Preserve is a natural wonderland with several stream corridors, geologic outcrops, and an ecological preserve that serves as a critical home for a wide range of plant and animal species.

Hundreds of bird species make this region their nesting and breeding grounds, so expect to observe a wide variety of bird species. It’s good carrying hiking boots because the flat portions might get muddy, especially after rain.

The hiking track is incredibly well-marked, with plenty of opportunities to mix and match trails to suit your needs. The trek is undoubtedly exhilarating, even though it might be a little bumpy at points.

New Jersey Hiking Trails For The Born Mountaineer

If you’ve spent most of your life traversing mountains, then you’re someone who enjoys a rigorous and demanding hike. New Jersey has no short supply of challenging trails that will surely demand you’re in top shape and prepared to wage a mental war with nature.

Buttermilk Falls And Crater Lake Loop Trail

This 6.8-mile circle trail in Newton, New Jersey, is one of the most challenging hiking paths in the area. Many nature enthusiasts choose it for its camping and hiking opportunities, so expect to see other people as you travel along the path.

It is open all year; however, April to November is the most favorable for visiting. Dogs are welcome to accompany us as long as they are on a leash at all times. This trail takes 3 hours and 43 minutes to complete.

Despite its short distance, the Buttermilk Falls route provides a superb immersion experience; you can expect to see spectacular waterfalls and unique terrain variations.

You may take the Appalachian Trail from the Woods Road intersection, which branches off to the left and is blue-blazed. This trail connects to the Crater Lake Trail, and after a lap around the lake, you’ll circle Hemlock Pond before rejoining Woods Road and returning to the parking lot.

It’s lovely in the winter, but bring some microspikes or a traction device if the steel parts turn frozen.

Stonetown Circular Trail, Ringwood State Park

Stonetown Circular Route is a 10.8-mile heavily used circular trail with a lake and rates very difficult. It exists near Ringwood, New Jersey. The path is best utilized from March to October and is generally great for hiking, nature visits, and bird viewing. Your canine companions are welcome to accompany you, but they must be on a leash.

If you’re hiking in the winter, expect ice on the ascents and descents, which adds another layer of difficulty; bring hiking shoes with a firm grip! It takes on average 6 hours to complete this hiking trail.

This is a fantastic path for ups and downs training. If you’re feeling extra daring, take an out-and-back excursion to the highlands route for a spectacular view of the Monksville reservoir.

When traveling counterclockwise, you’ll come to an intersection where the Stonetown circle and highlands trails diverge after about 6.5 miles. Remember that this will add roughly 2 miles to your overall hike distance.

Because specific markings aren’t always apparent, it’s easy to get off track, especially as you reach Stonetown and enter the second portion of the climb.

There are several hills to climb, and you’ll rise and descend at least four times, with the peak elevations ranging from 1000 to 2500 feet. As a result, think about wearing comfortable shoes and clothing and bringing adequate food and drink.

Expect to walk through some spiny orb-weaver webs along the trail; nonetheless, they are a primarily harmless spider. The region is also home to fowler toads. There are two camping areas along the path, two abandoned vehicles, transmission towers, an American flag, and various other breathtaking sights.


Families will West Lane And Oak Way Loop because of its simplicity and focus on immersion rather than a challenge. For hiking warriors, Buttermilk Falls And Crater Lake Loop Trail, and Stonetown Circular Trail will be more than enough to get the heart pumping and test endurance levels.