The 5 Best New Jersey Hiking Trails You Need to Visit

Fresh air? Check.

Breathtaking views? You bet.

A fairy forest? Actually, somehow, yes!

What’s not to love about New Jersey hiking?

Whether you’re looking for waterfalls, boardwalks, or maybe even a little bit of magic, here are the top five New Jersey hiking trails worth checking out.

1. Buttermilk Falls and beyond

At 200′, Buttermilk Falls is the highest waterfall in New Jersey and is guaranteed to offer some awesome photo ops. The trailhead and the falls are situated next to the parking lot, making this spot worth a visit no matter your skill level.

Just keep in mind, because it’s so accessible, this trail has a tendency to get a little crowded. So be sure to climb the nearby staircase or get there early if you want the place to yourself.

You can also do a 7.5-mile hike up to the Appalachian Trail and over to Crater Lake and Hemlock Pond. It’s a steep hike though, so come prepared!

2. Stairway to Heaven

This trail has it all. A suspension bridge, boardwalks, wildflower fields, open pastures, and a Zeppelin reference right in the name. Not to mention, the hike culminates at Pinwheel Vista, one of the best views New Jersey hiking has to offer.

The whole shebang is a 7.3-mile moderate trail ranging from easy-peasy boardwalks to some seriously rocky areas. But if you just want an easy stroll, enter through the Pochuck parking area and stick to the boardwalk for the 2-mile loop.

3. South Mountain Fairy Trail (Rahway Trail near Locust Grove)

While this 1-mile footpath in New Jersey’s South Mountain Reservation isn’t a particularly long or difficult hike, it certainly has its own magic. Intricate miniature fairy dwellings are tucked with love in the trees along the trail.

Made entirely from natural materials scavenged from around the reserve, the fairy forest is a whimsical walk well-worth the visit. Just be careful not to break the delicate structures as you peek inside.

You’re also welcome to install your own additions, but stick to earthy materials like bark, twigs, rocks, shells, and acorns–no glass or plastic. The fairies will thank you.

4. Cove Trail

Located in the Manasquan Reservoir by Howell, New Jersey, Cove Trail is one of the most beautiful spots to hike in the state. But the scenery really shines at sunrise and sunset.

Cove Trail is a quick 1.1 miles. It snakes briefly by the reservoir and through the wetlands with the option to stop by the environmental center.

But if you want a longer hike, there’s also the Perimeter Trail. It offers a 5.1-mile loop of gorgeous views around the entire reservoir. A great place to look for wildlife while you walk.

5. Tripod Rock at Pyramid Mountain

Pyramid Mountain has a number of pleasant paths for hiking, and Tripod Rock is no exception. Rocky footpaths lead you around various streams and up to two jaw-dropping overlooks.

The 4.4-mile hike also brings you to Tripod Rock and Bear Rock, two interesting rock formations dropped here long ago by a passing glacier. The trail is easy enough for newbies, but an enjoyable outing for experienced hikers as well.

New Jersey hiking in style

With its waterfalls, reservoirs, and whimsy, you’ll never get bored hiking in New Jersey. But if you’re looking for even more great hiking that’s not too far away, check out New York’s best hiking trails or these can’t miss hiking spots across the US.

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