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Best hiking spots for socially distanced fun

Hikes are a great outdoor activity for social distancing and exercise during our cramped days inside.  – Photo by Hiking

The coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic has forced us all to think outside to box and bring our get-togethers outdoors, whether it's a date, some self-care alone time or a day with friends.

Hiking and scenic walks have been the alternative trend for those indoor activities. Summer and fall are the best seasons for beautiful scenic hikes and there are so many locations near Rutgers.

Hiking is a great way to get outdoors and become more physically active and as an activity, you can do solo or with friends, it can be made into a whole day. It can also lead to some amazing pictures and views because some of these hiking spots are absolutely gorgeous and worth the walk. Walking and hiking are great for mental health and can help during this stressful midterm season to get out that extra adrenaline and anxiety.

Here are five of the best hiking spots near Rutgers:

Mount Tammany

This gorgeous mountain along the Delaware Water Gap is a bit of a drive from New Brunswick, but well worth the hour. The mountain is part of the Appalachians and is a short 3.5-mile walk.

It is a bit steep and rocky so it is recommended for more experienced hikers, but many inexperienced adults have had no problem getting through the walk. The mountain aside from its intermediate difficulty is one of the most popular trails in New Jersey and beautiful in any season. Once at the stop, the view is breathtaking. 

Washington Valley Park

This park is much closer to Rutgers compared to Mount Tammany, located in Bridgewater in Somerset County, a short 25 minutes from New Brunswick. The park is public and includes a waterfall.

It has 719 acres of wood and water features aside from the waterfall. You can see a lake, reservoir and other smaller bodies of water. There's a hawk watchpoint which is best to visit in the fall and from the cliff you can see the trees turning and the beautiful horizon.

The park has something for everyone: historical points, water, greenery and birdwatching, plus the view is undeniably amazing and fall is the best time to go and visit and get some great pics. 

Rutgers Gardens

Rutgers Gardens on Cook campus is our school’s own spot for a nice walk. Although it's not a hike, the garden is large and is a great way to get some exercise in while viewing some beautiful flowers, trees, plants and our bamboo forest.

There are historical buildings associated with the school and art features like the giant green chairs. Each season has its own unique feel in the garden and all are equally beautiful. It's an easy and relaxing walk and can be great for a date and a picnic, a walk alone, an adventure with friends or a photoshoot. 

High Point State Park

This is another extremely popular park here in New Jersey. It's a bit far like Mount Tammany, approximately an hour away from New Brunswick. There are trails, campgrounds, fishing, swimming and hunting areas in the park. It really has it all, with a beautiful view of lush farmland and the Delaware River.

The view in the park is actually farmland from three states, not only New Jersey. This park does charge you to get in but the fee is only $5 per car, which is not too bad for the view and experience you will have for the day.

The park’s focal point is a historical monument that you can see up close and go inside as well. The park is open all year and is a great place to have a day-long adventure with friends, family or a significant other. 

Sourland Mountain

This hiking spot is for the less experienced hikers and those who just want a light and easy walk. It is located in Somerset County, and the reserve is a total of 5.4 miles long but includes two different trains, and easy and an easier train.

One is 5 miles and the other is 1 mile. The mountain is full of rock formations and winding trails. It has clearly marked paths so there is no way of getting lost. This hike is a great way to get a start in hiking and to enjoy a few hours of nature and relaxation whether alone or with company. 

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