Scorecard

Hike Difficulty Beauty Last visited Notes
Bearfort Ridge Quite long, rugged terrain, lots of ups and downs (8/10). Awesome view of northern New Jersey, lots of picturesque places (7/10). April 2002 Arrive early; parking is very limited.
Beaver Brook Trail Several long ascents and descents, dangerous footing (8/10). Some of the most unique wildlife you are likely to see in New Jersey (7/10). September 2002 I cannot stress enough how careful you should be due to loose and slippery rocks.
Black River County Park Relatively long, but no serious elevation change (5/10). Greatly varied forest, plenty of different wildlife (8/10). November 2003 Parts of the park require a permit.
Carris Hill Sharp ascends and very unpleasant descents (9/10). A few nice views; turbulent skies may be the best part of it (6/10). November 2003 There is a potentially difficult stream crossing, after heavy rains.
Farny State Park Not too long, but rocky terrain and several short climbs (8/10). Nothing you can't see elsewhere; come here for solitude (5/10). December 2003 Expect off-road vehicles.
Great Swamp Flat terrain, a very short hike (1/10). This is a bird-watcher's paradise; others may be a little disappointed. November 2002 Try to come here at dusk during calm weather; the place is very serene.
High Mountain A little lengthy, but without too much elevation change (5/10). A few nice views, but the place is getting destroyed by dirt bikes (6/10). May 2002 Too close to civilization for my taste.
High Point North Lots of different hikes, difficulty varies (4-8/10). If you catch the weather you like, this is one of the best hikes ever (7/10). October 2003 There's a fee from Memorial Day to Labor Day.
High Point South Very difficult footing, several ups and downs (7/10). More a workout hike than one you'd do for the views. Pretty colors in fall (4/10). June 2003 The Iris Trail appears abandoned and unkept.
Mount Hope Quite short, with a few ups and downs (3/10). I got almost run over by one too many dirt bikes to go back there (3/10). November 2003 Try to arrive early and be done before the bikers come.
Jenny Jump A few steep sections, trails may be rugged (4/10). One of the few hikes where beauty lies in the forest, not in the views (8/10). November 2003 The main entrance may be closed off-season.
Jockey Hollow A very simple hike, with few ups and downs (3/10). Unless you come here because of the history, all the hike offers is great small details, such as unique trees (5/10). November 2002 There is a $4 entrance fee in effect all year long.
Kittatinny Ridge Relatively flat, with a single steep climb (3/10). Great views, but the forest itself is rather average (6/10). July 2003 Watch out for snakes; I've seen some Copperheads here.
Mahlon Dickerson Reservation Long, but half of the trails is on gravel roads (6/10). Lots of different views; the swamp is spectacular (6/10). December 2003 Trails serve hikers, bikers and horseback riders.
Merrill Creek Reservoir Long, rocky at places (5/10). One of the nicest walks that I know of if you get nice weather and don't mind the crowds (9/10). October 2003 Other activities include wildlife watching, bird watching and fishing.
The Palisades Flat, but long, with one challenging climb (6/10). A few awesome views, a nice stroll at the river (7/10). July 2002 Summer foliage (incl. Poison Ivy) is very thick, up to 5 feet high, covering parts of the trail. Use caution.
Pyramid Mountain Lots of short trails, few steep places; ideal for families (4/10). Some great views, the forest is nice at any time of year (7/10). November 2003 Parts of the hike lead through swampy terrain; wear good shoes.
Raccoon Ridge Very few steep ascents, otherwise rather flat (5/10) Offering probably the best view of eastern Pennsylvania (7/10) August 2002 Possibly the best place in New Jersey to watch the annual hawk migration in fall.
Ringwood Manor - Small loop Very short, nearly flat. (3/10) If you like plant life, you'll be thrilled. Also, a nice picnic place (7/10). October 2003 You may combine this hike with visiting the Skylands Botanical Garden.
Ringwood Manor - Shepherd Lake Loop Some elevation change, long and poor orientation. (6/10) Rugged nature; the hike will lead you to all three main attractions in the area (8/10). September 2003 Due to some difficult stream crossings not recommended for small children and dogs.
Round Valley Long, but little elevation. (6/10) Great views of a lake, very nice nature and wildlife (7/10). September 2003 The lake also offers scuba diving, boating, fishing and swimming. An entry fee is required during summer.
Stairway to Heaven Long and steep climbing, quite painful in hot weather (7/10). One of the best views in NJ; the approach is very nice in late summer (8/10). July 2003 The trail has recently eroded; watch your step.
Stokes State Forest Very long hike, with several steep places to climb (8/10). A feew good views, and spectacular leaves coloring in fall (7/10). October 2002 You will be charged a fee between Memorial Day and Labor Day.
Stone Mountain Reservation Rocky footing, potentially difficult stream crossings (7/10). A few nice places, but too close to civilization otherwise (4/10). May 2003 Crossing the Rahway river is potentially dangerus after a heavier rain.
Mount Tammany While quite short, the hike can get quite steep (8/10). Awesome view, but while hiking you'll be concentrating only at where you step (6/10). June 2003 This is my favorite hike; I do it at least four times each year.
Terrace Pond Short hike, but roller-coaster trail at places (6/10). Feels more like a forest in a fairy tale; by far the best forest hike (9/10). October 2003 Try to hike here alone at dusk; it only adds to the already great atmosphere.
Watchung Reservation Relatively flat hike, but you may get lost easily (6/10). Crowds of people, dogs and horseback riders spoil the place a bit (6/10). June 2002 Try to come here at 6-7 AM for the best hiking.
Wawayanda State Park Lots of trails, but the part is very flat; good for families (3/10). Way too many horseback riders for my taste (4/10). March 2002 The park charges an access fee between Memorial Day and Labor Day.
Worthington State Forest Very difficult footing, relatively long with 1300 feet vertical differencial (8/10). Very nice lake and serene forest, but no scenic views (7/10). December 2003 Watch out for bears. This is the only hike I've seen them multiple times.

© Jozef Purdes, 2001-2003

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