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Top 20 Hiking Trails in New Jersey: Explore the Garden State's Best Paths

New Jersey, often celebrated for its bustling cities and scenic shorelines, also boasts some of the most diverse and beautiful hiking trails on the East Coast. From challenging mountain hikes to serene forest paths, New Jersey's trails offer something for every outdoor enthusiast. Here are the top 20 hiking trails you must explore in the Garden State.


Panoramic view from the Stairway to Heaven hike in New Jersey, showcasing the lush Vernon Valley and Pochuck Mountain under a clear blue sky.

1. Stairway to Heaven (Appalachian Trail Section) - Vernon

The Stairway to Heaven trail is a must-visit for hikers seeking stunning panoramic views. This 2.6-mile trail offers a challenging ascent with rewarding vistas of the Vernon Valley and Pochuck Mountain.

Difficulty: Moderate

Length: 2.6 Miles

Elevation Gain: 889 Ft

Route Type: Out & Back


2. Buttermilk Falls Trail - Walpack Township

Buttermilk Falls is home to New Jersey’s highest waterfall. The 2.8-mile trail features a steep climb to the top of the falls and offers connections to longer trails in the Delaware Water Gap.

Difficulty: Hard

Length: 2.8 Miles

Elevation Gain: 1,118 Ft

Route Type: Out & Back



3. Mt. Tammany Red Dot Trail - Delaware Water Gap

The Mt. Tammany Red Dot Trail is a 3.5-mile loop known for its strenuous climb and breathtaking views of the Delaware Water Gap. Ideal for experienced hikers, this trail is a true test of endurance.

Difficulty: Hard

Length: 3.6 Miles

Elevation Gain: 1,213 Ft

Route Type: Out & Back


4. Five Ponds Loop - Ringwood State Park

Located in the scenic Ringwood State Park, the Five Ponds Loop Trail is a 5.7-mile loop through dense woodlands. It’s perfect for a peaceful and moderate hike.

Difficulty: Moderate

Length: 5.7 Miles

Elevation Gain: 761 Ft

Route Type: Loop


5. Batona Trail - Pine Barrens

Stretching 52 miles through the Pine Barrens, the Batona Trail is a favorite for long-distance hikers. It offers a unique experience through one of the most extensive forested areas on the East Coast.

Difficulty: Hard

Length: 52.2 Miles

Elevation Gain: 974 Ft

Route Type: Point to Point



6. Sourland Mountain Preserve Ridge Trail - Hillsborough

The 5-mile Ridge Trail in Sourland Mountain Preserve features rocky terrain and scenic overlooks, making it a popular spot for both hiking and mountain biking.

Difficulty: Moderate

Length: 5.6 Miles

Elevation Gain: 597 Ft

Route Type: Loop


7. Ramapo Valley County Reservation Vista Loop - Mahwah

This 3.5-mile loop trail offers stunning views of the Ramapo River and reservoir. It’s a great spot for a moderate hike with a mix of forest and water scenery.

Difficulty: Moderate

Length: 3.5 Miles

Elevation Gain: 649 Ft

Route Type: Loop


8. South Mountain Fairy Trail - Millburn

A magical hike for families, the 1-mile Fairy Trail in South Mountain Reservation is dotted with whimsical fairy houses and offers a gentle walk through a picturesque forest.

Difficulty: Easy

Length: 1 - 4.5 Miles

Elevation Gain: 298 Ft

Route Type: Out & Back



9. Jenny Jump Trail - Jenny Jump State Forest

The 8.1-mile Jenny Jump Trail offers rolling hills and scenic overlooks of the Great Meadows and Delaware Water Gap, perfect for a moderate day hike.

Difficulty: Moderate

Length: 8.1

Elevation Gain: 1,197 Ft

Route Type: Point to Point


10. High Point Monument Trail - High Point State Park

At the summit of this 3.6-mile trail, hikers are rewarded with panoramic views of New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania from the High Point Monument.

Difficulty: Moderate

Length: 3.6 Miles

Elevation Gain: 551 Ft

Route Type: Loop


11. Tillman Ravine Trail - Stokes State Forest

This 1.6-mile trail features cascading waterfalls and lush ravines, making it a serene and scenic hike in the heart of Stokes State Forest.

Difficulty: Easy

Length: 1.6 Miles

Elevation Gain: 278 Ft

Route Type: Out & Back



12. Cushetunk Mountain Preserve Trail - Readington

The 5.8-mile loop trail in Cushetunk Mountain Preserve offers steep climbs and beautiful views of Round Valley Reservoir, ideal for a challenging hike.

Difficulty: Moderate

Length: 5.8 Miles

Elevation Gain: 1,1105 Ft

Route Type: Loop


13. Watchung Reservation Sierra Trail - Mountainside

The 9.3-mile Sierra Trail loop is perfect for a full-day adventure, offering diverse scenery including forests, streams, and historical sites.

Difficulty: Moderate

Length: 9.3 Miles

Elevation Gain: 807 Ft

Route Type: Loop


14. Pyramid Mountain Loop - Boonton

Known for its unique rock formations like Tripod Rock, the 4.1-mile Pyramid Mountain Loop provides a moderate hike with interesting geological features.

Difficulty: Moderate

Length: 4.1 Miles

Elevation Gain: 541 Ft

Route Type: Loop



15. Wyanokie High Point Trail - Norvin Green State Forest

This 5.6-mile trail offers challenging terrain and rewarding views of the Wyanokie Highlands, making it a favorite among experienced hikers.

Difficulty: Moderate

Length: 5.6 Miles

Elevation Gain: 1,197 Ft

Route Type: Loop


16. Cattus Island Park Butterfly Bogs Trail - Toms River

The 2.4-mile Trail in Cattus Island Park offers a leisurely hike through coastal habitats with opportunities for birdwatching and nature photography.

Difficulty: Easy

Length: 2.4 Miles

Elevation Gain: 13 Ft

Route Type: Loop


17. Hacklebarney State Park Black River Trail - Long Valley

A 2.5-mile loop trail following the Black River, this hike features picturesque river views, waterfalls, and a lush forest setting.

Difficulty: Easy

Length: 2.7 Miles

Elevation Gain: 374 Ft

Route Type: Loop



18. Franklin Parker Preserve Red Trail - Chatsworth

The 5-mile Red Trail offers a tranquil hike through pine forests and cranberry bogs, showcasing the unique ecosystem of the Pine Barrens.

Trail Map & Info

Difficulty: Easy

Length: 5.2 Miles

Elevation Gain: 72 Ft

Route Type: Loop


19. Kittatinny Valley State Park White Trail - Andover

This 6.3-mile loop trail features scenic lake views, rolling hills, and historical remnants, offering a diverse hiking experience in Kittatinny Valley State Park.

Difficulty: Moderate

Length: 6.3 Miles

Elevation Gain: 1,003 Ft

Route Type: Loop


20. Hartshorne Woods Laurel Ridge Trail - Middletown

The 2.5-mile Laurel Ridge Trail offers challenging terrain with steep ascents and beautiful views of the Navesink River and Atlantic Ocean.

Difficulty: Moderate

Length: 2.5 Miles

Elevation Gain: 308 Ft

Route Type: Loop


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