You might be forgiven for thinking the words “hiking” and “New Jersey” don’t exactly go together. Jersey is the most densely populated state, and part of the largest metropolitan area in the country. While hardly any of the state is “remote” or “rugged,” that doesn’t mean there isn’t great hiking to be found. In fact, over 70 miles of the world-famous Appalachian trail runs through the northwest corner of the state. New Jersey’s proximity to major cities and highways make this portion of the Appalachian Trail and perfect for day hikers. Explore the Garden State and learn about hiking the Stairway to Heaven and Pochuck Boardwalk trails.
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What is the Appalachian Trail?
The Appalachian National Scenic Trail, or “AT,” is the longest hiking-only trail in the world. This world-famous hike stretches 2,190 miles long from Springer Mountain, Georgia, to Mount Katadhin, Maine. Over 3,000 people attempt to “thru-hike” the trek every year, walking the entire length of the trail from start to finish for 6 months (on average only 1 in 4 make it).
How do you know you’re on the AT? Look for the signature white blazes that mark the trail from Georgia to Maine.
What is a blaze? A blaze is a painted shape – usually a vertical rectangle – painted on trees, rocks, and posts to identify the route. White blazes mark the traditional route of the Appalachian trail. Blue Blazes mark side trails and trails that connect to the AT.
The Appalachian Trail in New Jersey
In New Jersey, the Appalachlain Trail runs for 72.4 miles through the northwest corner of the state. Crossing from Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area in Pennsylvania, the trail travels along the Kittatinny ridge and Pochuck valley before heading into New York. The trail passes through several state parks and forests, including Wawayanda and High Point State parks, and Hewitt and Stokes State Forest.
Here, the AT wanders through pastoral farmland, wetlands, pine forests, villages and towns, and up mountain ridges. The huge variety of terrain, and easy accessibility makes New Jersey the perfect state to start exploring day hiking on the Appalachian Trail.