10 Scenic Places To Hike In New Jersey

10 Scenic Places To Hike In New Jersey


Most of us know what it feels like to sit around with friends wondering, "What can we do that doesn't cost money but will be a fun way to spend the day?" Despite the fact that many of us spend our days snacking while binge watching Netflix, one great (and free!) summer activity is exploring the hiking trails around the area. Although the term "hiking" might seem intimidating to some people, there is an abundance hiking trails throughout New Jersey. If you find yourself looking for something to do on a nice summer or fall day, check out one of these remarkable hiking views!

1. Mount Tammany - Knowlton Township, NJ

  • Time: 3 hours
  • Difficulty: Strenuous
  • Distance: 3.5 miles
  • Dogs: Allowed on leash
  • Features: Views, forests

Being that this park is near the Delaware Water Gap, hikers always enjoy a beautiful scene of the water all-year-round. This particular hike hoops around Mount Tammany, which provides people many panoramic views throughout the trail. This trail also allows hikers to walk alongside the scenic and pleasant Dunnfield Creek.

2. Sunfish Pond - Hardwick Township, NJ

  • Time: 3 hours
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Distance: 5 miles
  • Dogs: Allowed on leash
  • Features: Views, glacial pond, Appalachian Trail

This trail is especially scenic in the Fall as the leaves are changing colors and the water looks fresh and blue. There are certain rocky areas throughout the trail that make hiking a tad more difficult, but with a trekking pole or even just a stick, those rugged terrains will be much easier to overcome.

3. Pinwheel Vista - Vernon NJ

  • Time: 4 hours
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Distance: 7.4 miles
  • Dogs: Allowed on leash
  • Features: Views, boardwalk, wildlife, wildflowers

This particular hike can be very easy in some sections, such as the flat terrain on the lengthy boardwalk. However, some sections can be difficult due to the rocky scrambles and steep elevation gain. Hikers enjoy seeing turtles and many types of birds throughout the trail, especially near the pond areas around the boardwalk.

4. Ramapo Valley County Conservation (Lake Loop) - Mahwah, NJ

  • Time: 2 hours
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Distance: 3.8 miles
  • Dogs: Allowed on leash
  • Features: Views

This easy hike is perfect for those who enjoy taking long walks across a semi-flat terrain. The trail loops around Ramapo Lake and provides various perspectives of this beautiful body of water. Due to the fact that this trail lies in the middle of a large conservation, it may be somewhat difficult to differentiate between the many trails that the park offers. Because it can be confusing to navigate, it is advised to bring a map of the park along with you throughout the hike.

5. Beaver Brook Trail - Marcella, NJ

  • Time: 3.5 hours
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Distance: 6.2 miles
  • Dogs: Allowed on leash
  • Features: Views, pond, wildlife

If you enjoy seeing pure nature and wildlife, this is the perfect trail for you. Hikers have seen coyotes, bears, and beavers wandering in the forests of this park. There is also a plethora of beaver lodges and dams throughout the park. The terrain is known to be rockier than the average hiking trail, so make sure to wear proper footwear.

6. Norvin Green State Forest (Stonetown Circular) - Ringwood, NJ

  • Time: 5.5 hours
  • Difficulty: Strenuous
  • Distance: 9.6 miles
  • Dogs: Allowed on leash
  • Features: Views, reservoir, historic sites

Due to the rugged terrain and long distance, this hike is one of the most difficult ones in New Jersey. The peaks of the Windbeam, Bear, and Board Mountains offer a beautiful view of two scenic reservoirs. Hikers may choose to take on a shorter path by only climbing one or two mountains. This trail is popular for it's super lush and green forests. During the Revolutionary War, soldiers used many areas in this forest as a reliable hideout.

7. Bearfort Ridge - Hewitt, NJ

  • Time: 3.5 hours
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Distance: 6.8 miles
  • Dogs: Allowed on leash
  • Features: Views, streams, swamp, secluded lake, Hemlock Forest

The rocky scrambles in this trail make the hike moderately difficult and time-consuming for some people, but the view is worth the wait! Surprise Lake offers a beautiful view for hikers in the middle of the trail, which encourages them to continue onto higher elevation for an even better view. On the way back, hikers may choose to take a woods road for a flatter (but more slippery) terrain.

8. High Point State Park - Sussex, NJ

  • Time: 4.5 hours
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Distance: 7.9 miles
  • Dogs: Allowed on leash
  • Features: Views, farmlands, forests, monumental views

High Point State Park offers the highest point in New Jersey and has views of Pennsylvania, New York, and New Jersey from the peak of its historic monument. Many families choose to park their cars closer to the monument and do a shorter hike. In the summertime, children are often swimming and playing in Lake Marcia.

9. Terrace Pond Loop - Hewitt, NJ

  • Time: 2 hours
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Distance: 4.3 miles
  • Dogs: Allowed on leash
  • Features: Views, forests, pond

The rock formations and scrambles in this trail provide a great view of the forest while the lake is a peaceful and serene place to relax and enjoy a mid-hike snack. There are many cliffs around the perimeter of the the forest that people use to jump off into the lake. During a hot summer day, many hikers enjoy taking a swim in the crisp, fresh lake water.

10. Palisades Interstate Park - Alpine, NJ

  • Time: Varies based on trail (between two to six hours)
  • Difficulty: Easy, moderate, and strenuous trails available
  • Distance: 12 miles (entire park)
  • Dogs: Allowed on leash
  • Features: Views, rocky terrain, forest, Hudson River views

This lengthy-trail offers many different possible routes to take, the longest being twelve miles long. However, most people choose one path to hike depending on the views they wish to see along the way. The Palisades Interstate Park offers incredible views from its sharp cliffs. The entirety of the park includes lush forests, which means that there is always a scenic route in sight! Hikers enjoy the Hudson River views from the Shore Trail. If you're feeling adventurous, you can check out the rocky scrambles of the Giant Stairs in the Northern section of the park.

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To The Girl Who Hasn't Been Herself Lately

Your spark return, and you will shine like you were meant to.

Life gets tough. Life gets too much to handle sometimes, and those times make you stronger. However, right now, it seems like you have lost yourself.

It’s difficult when you catch yourself not being you. When you do something or act a certain way and just wonder, “what did I do to deserve this? Why is this happening? When will it get better?” The way you’re feeling is not so much that you’re unhappy, you just feel weird.

Your day will come. I promise you. This is just a phase.

The day you realize how much you have grown from this point in time will be your reward. It is so hard to see now, and I feel your pain.

Your light will return to you. Your pure bliss moments, they are seeking you. Your laughter where your tummy aches is in your reach.

Our moods change far too often for us as humans to understand why, but the encounters you make every day have this effect on us.

You must remember the pure happiness you experienced before your first heartbreak, before the first friend became someone you thought they weren’t, before you lost your innocence. That was a time of true joy as you had not a care in the world for the things that would harm you. Better yet, you didn’t have the option to experience them because you were just a child.

The world can be an ugly place, and your attitude towards life can change every day. One thing is for certain: you did not lose who you are internally. We all put on a face for the world. For the people who we try to impress. For the life we want to live. For the things we want to achieve.

Your definitive personality is still in the works. Believe it or not, it always will be. Times like this change us for the better even though we can’t see it.

Your happiness will return. You will be a better, stronger version of you. In fact, you will be the best version of you yet.

Once this phase is over, you will be okay. This I promise you.

Cover Image Credit: Megan Sutton

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Life In The Mountains Of New Mexico

In 2013, I embarked on the greatest adventure of my life with the Boy Scouts with the Philmont expedition


At least once in your lifetime, you've probably gone on a family camping trip. Maybe even a scouts camping trip.

You know the drill:

Campfire, tents, marshmallows, a guitar, bug spray, animals. And if things get too extreme, there's always the car to hide in during the middle of the night in case things get too cold or uncomfortable in the tent.

But what if I told you that you could go on a camping trip so challenging and extraordinary, that your own life may depend on wilderness skills.

The camping trip I went on in the Summer of 2013 was exactly that with the two week Philmont expedition in the middle of New Mexico. It had been about half a year since I turned 18 and earned the highest honor in the Boy Scouts with the Eagle Scout rank. But with this Philmont expedition opportunity, I knew that my full potential as a Boy Scout had yet been reached.

My Philmont Boy Scout group included my brother, members of our Scout Troop 149, and a few other Pennsylvania-based Boy Scouts. Our journey actually did not start in New Mexico, but in Denver, Colorado where our flight landed. The first adventure we embarked on was going down the Colorado Rapids. It was such an exciting raft trip through the rivers of Colorado and the rocky landscape surrounding us was fantastic.

I'll never forget being in the hotel the night before our arrival at the campsite and seeing the mountains in the distance. You could see the lightning strike in the distance and could count long it took for the sound of thunder to arrive, indicating how close the lightning actually was.

What was a typical day like during our never-ending hike through the mountains?

It consisted of hiking while carrying huge backpacks, carrying our concealed meals for every day of the week. There were no convenient stores or grocery markets nearby, we had to carry every meal with us during our 10-day journey and having them exposed to the air was not an option.

Any trace of smell, or smellables as we called them, had to be captured and contained in a bag which we had to tie up and suspend in the air as it dangled from a tree. That was important because it prevented bears or any form of wildlife from finding us while we slept overnight. It was not only a procedure we had to follow to save us, but also to save the animals because if they found the scent of a smellable item then they're lives were in jeopardy too. Philmont authorities may be forced to execute animals who discovered and were used to a new scent exposed by the Boy Scouts.

The only time we caught sight of a bear was when my brother spotted one in the distance while we hiked. We were extremely quiet in trying not to disturb it and could also see a cub with it.

I also recall getting out of my tent one morning and all-of-the-sudden a deer, a doe, and a fawn all sprinted in line across the woods, about thirty feet in front of me.

Our favorite animals in Philmont, however, were called Mini-bears. Too big to be considered squirrels, but too small to be bears, mini-bears were all over the hiking trail as an advanced type of squirrel. They were the most likely to find and eat our food, but we loved them nonetheless for being consistently around.

Even brushing your teeth was a chore. You couldn't slab on a typical amount of toothpaste and brush, you had to put a small dab of the toothpaste on the brush and had to swallow it all. No sinks or toilets to spit into, no trash cans. If you had to throw up, you better swallow that too because you'd be screwed.

Wanna drink some water? You gotta find a streaming river and fill it against the current, then put in a tab to dissolve in and make it clean. How about a travel mule? Just kidding we didn't take one, but it was an option.

We had to wear reusable clothes, there was no laundry, everything down to socks and underwear had to be conserved. The closest thing to cleaning them was hanging them to dry at our campsite. (All the clothes I wore in Philmont I use to this day, they're perfect for exercise.)


The height of the trip was the opportunity to climb the highest peak in the Philmont mountain range with Mount Baldy. It was such a long trek up the peak of the mountain that my group and other teams were singing songs like Taylor Swift's "Love Story" and "Bohemian Rhapsody." When we finally reached the top of Baldy, the view spoke for itself. We could see clouds near us and saw the lands below us like pictures on a map. It was simply breathtaking.

Despite the challenges and incredible circumstances we faced on a daily basis, Philmont was the greatest bonding experience I had ever been a part of. Our entire group came together fully understanding that we as a group were as strong as our weakest member and that the slowest person would lead the trail, no man was left behind (that guy was occasionally me.)

We went on plenty of adventures and met plenty of great people working throughout the mountains. Some were pretending to be living in the early 20th century, others were guiding us through challenges like pole climbing (THE WORST) and rock climbing.

The days were long but well spent, the weather was almost always nice, and the views down the trail were often breathtaking. When our trip finally ended we were glad to finally shower and get comfortable back in our own homes, but wouldn't have changed a thing about the experience.

Philmont was the greatest adventure of my life (so far) because it felt living through a J.R.R. Tolkien fantasy novel with me playing the role of Bilbo Baggins. All that was missing were orcs, dragons, an epic battle and Enya music.

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