Magazine article – http://www.onlyinyourstate.com/new-jersey/nj-10-best-hikes/ – offering places for day hikes for folks with varied ability (some strenuous, some flat – – all picturesque)
Not from NJ? That’s OK – check out this link for info on activities closer to where ever you live – http://www.onlyinyourstate.com/
1. High Point Monument – High Point State Park has a variety of trails, ranging from .5 – 4.3 miles (near the Northern Tip of NJ – the tri-state area of NY, PA, NJ) – also the highest point (elevation-wise) in the State of NJ. Has camping available.
2. Buttermilk Falls – “While you don’t need to hike to see the falls (there’s a parking lot and viewing area), it’s a great starting point for several other trips.” Located in NW New Jersey along the Delaware Water Gap. (http://www.njhiking.com/best-hikes-in-nj-buttermilk-falls/)
3. Manasquan Reservoir – “You’ll find four designated trails at this reservoir, ranging from just .2 miles to a more challenging 5.1 miles.”
4. Pochuck Boardwalk – A section of the Appalachian Trail in Norther NJ that features an extensive boardwalk system (1.5 miles end to end) over a protected marsh area with stunning wild flowers in summer, and a nifty suspension bridge.
5. Pyramid Mountain – located in Morris County, the park offers a range of trails with interesting views and scenery.
6. South Mountain Fairy Trail – “This whimsical, family-friendly hike can be found along the Rahway Trail (white blazes) of the South Mountain Reservation. It is dotted with charming fairy abodes, made of all natural materials.”
7. Island Beach State Park – Offers eight trails, beach hiking and wildlife observation.
8. Batsto Lake Trail – Based in the Wharton State Forest, this trail is an easy 4.2-mile loop around the lake. May want to schedule time to visit the historic Batso villiage, too.
9. Belleplain State Forest – part of the Pinelands region of the State, this trail system is in the southern reaches of the State featuring bogs, lakes, wetlands and forests.
10. Delaware & Raritan Canal Towpath – “Offering 70 miles of flat, level terrain, this scenic towpath is ideal for hiking and biking. It is wheelchair and stroller accessible in most areas and takes you through towns from Trenton to Lambertville. Be sure to stop at Washington Crossing State Park.”
These are the hikes recommended by the magazine, but represent only the tip of the iceberg — there are so many great places for day hikes in NJ and the surrounding area. A careful study of the NJ State Parks web site as well as the NY/NJ Trail Conference (http://www.nynjtc.org/) web portal will help you identify great hikes and camping locations.
Also, don’t forget about History Hikes (history scavenger hunts combined with day hikes) — https://traillife113.wordpress.com/2014/01/22/activity-profile-history-hikes/