A View of a Dramatic Sunset From the Peak at Mount Tammany at the Delaware Water

Best Fall Hikes In New Jersey

There is no time more beautiful for hiking than autumn. The leaves changing their hue to bright orange, red, and yellow, makes hiking in the forest an unforgettable experience. When it comes to fall hiking, New Jersey is one of the best places to go. From serene shores to Pine Barrens and mountain-like ridges, the state has a surprisingly diverse hiking scene. The Mount Tammany loop is a popular hike and is part of the Appalachians, offering amazing mountain views. The Stony Lake loop is a nice easy New Jersey hike, perfect for hikers looking for a short stroll through the autumn woods. Whether you are looking for a challenging hike with surreal forest views, or an easy stroll along a river, there is a hike in New Jersey for hikers of all levels.

Mount Tammany- Red Dot And Blue Dot Loop

Scenic Overlook Of Mount Tammany New Jersey
Scenic overlook of Mount Tammany New Jersey

One of the most popular hikes in New Jersey is Mount Tammany. The hike is popular for good reason! Mount Tammany is in the Kittatinny Mountains, part of the Appalachian Mountain Range. The trail is not too much of a challenge, it is short but deceptively steep. The views are worth the hike. The trail offers a view of Mt. Minisi on Pennsylvania side of the Delaware Water Gap.

The trailhead is off of Interstate 80. There are several large parking lots in the area, but they do fill up fast on nice days. The trail starts just a short walk from the parking lot, at the Dunfield Creek natural Area Trailhead. 

There are two versions of Mount Tammany trail, the Red Dot and Blue Dot trail. The Blue Dot trail is easier than the Red Dot trail. There is a small but steep section of the Red Dot trail that requires scrambling up part of the mountain. The section is easiest going uphill so many people start the trail counter-clockwise. Even though the Red Dot trail is more difficult the views up the summit of mountains covered in forest are worth it. 

White Shore and Long Path Loop Trail

state line lookout over the Palisade cliffs and the Hudson river in the fall
State line lookout is at the start of the trail with views over the Palisade cliffs and the Hudson river.

The White Shore and Long Path Loop Trail is near Rockleigh in New Jersey. The trail is challenging but has outstanding views. The path is rocky and winds through forest. On average, hiking the trail takes an hour and 57 minutes to complete. This trail is very popular and is typically busy on nice days. 

The trail begins in the parking area at the State Line Lookout, where you will see the trail sign that reads Ski Trails. This is the trail you walk on for the loop. Walking a little farther along you will see blue blazes, this is the start of the White Shore and Long Loop Path. The first section of the trail goes north from the Palisades Interstate Park Visitor Center and Café. There is a cliff from there that the trail takes you down, where you will see a beautiful waterfall that empties into the Hudson. 

Those who do not want to complete the full hike or are looking for an easier hike can return back up instead of doing the full loop. However, those who want to continue on will face a more difficult, rocky trail. The Giant Stairs is the most difficult part of the trail, but it leads you higher up where you will get better views of the forest.

High Point State Park – Monument Trail

Monument set along rocks at the top of New Jersey, High Point State Park
Monument set along rocks at the top of New Jersey, High Point State Park

If you are looking for a hike with higher elevation, the Monument Trail is the one to do. The Monument trail hikes a section of the Appalachian trail to the highest elevation in New Jersey. It's a 3.8 mile loop that is moderately challenging. The terrain on the trail alternates between very rocky and smooth. There is an uphill climb towards the monument, but the rest of the hike is downhill. From the monument there is an amazing view of the forest below. Bfore getting to this point, the hike is on the shores of Lake Marcia, which also offers breathtaking views of the water and forest.

On average, the trail takes an hour and 36 minutes to complete. The trail is popular year round for it's beautiful, vast views of New Jersey, Pennsylvania and New York. Since Monument Trail is in the farthest northwest corner of New Jersey, the park itself has many beautiful views aside form the hike. There is also an Atlantic cedar swamp near the trail. The trail's signs are easy to follow.

Stony Lake Loop

Stony Lake in Stokes State Forest New Jersey
Stony Lake in Stokes State Forest New Jersey

The Stony Lake loop is a pleasant hike in New Jersey. The trail is 2.5 miles and take an average of 22 minutes to complete. The route is easy, but is still on natural grounds; meaning there is not a paved walkway.  There are lots of rocks, roots and sticks on the path. Although there is rocky terrain, there is little elevation changes. The hike starts at the Stony Lake parking lot, off of Coursen Road. The hike offers views of the peaceful waters of Stony Lake and in the autumn season, the trees around the lake change color. Past the halfway point of the loop there are also two waterfalls easily viewed from the trail.

Stony Lake is a popular tourist spot for fishing, boating and swimming in the summer. There are many species of turtles that live in the lake, along with several different kinds of fish, including catfish and bluegill. 

Sunfish Pond

Appalachian trail sunfish pond in New Jersey
Appalachian trail sunfish pond in New Jersey

Sunfish Pond is a popular destination because of the stunning scenery seen on the trail. The pond is actually a glacial lake surrounded by beautiful forest. From some of New Jersey's most dense, beautiful forests, to a glacial lake 1,000 feet above the surrounding area, Sunfish Ponds is the perfect fall hike in New Jersey. The route is difficult, with rocky terrain, and a few rock-hop stream crossings. Although the route is challenging, the views are incredibly rewarding. Sunfish Ponds is a 7.8 mile loop that takes an average of 4 hours and 10 minutes to complete. 

The trail is popular for backpacking, camping and hiking since it is a part of the Appalachian trail. Since it is a popular trail, it is well maintained but there are a few difficult hiking spots where the trail becomes steeper. In some spots climbing is necessary. 

Hiking New Jersey

New Jersey has many hikes that showcase the state's natural beauty. From hikes following the Appalachian Trail, venturing through mountains, and forests to trails winding around lakes and rivers, New Jersey is an amazing fall hiking destination. Most of the hikes have rocky terrain but are easy enough to navigate. The Sunfish Pond trail has serene views of the crystal blue waters of a glacial lake. Hikers who brave the challenging White Shore and Long Path Loop Trail will never forget the cliff top view of a waterfall. Stony Lake Loop is a nice trail for hikers looking for an easy stroll with beautiful fall views in the forest. All the trails mentioned here offer an unforgettable hiking experience. The hiking trails in New Jersey offer something for every hiker to enjoy this fall. Whether you are a novice or an expert, planning a hiking trip in New Jersey is a way to enjoy the beauty of fall.


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