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Find your next adventure with these breathtaking New Jersey hiking trails

There are plenty of beautiful hiking trails to explore in New Jersey — even one right here at Rutgers! – Photo by

Now that it's officially fall and the weather is starting to get chillier, it's a great time to go hiking! If you're looking for a quick day hike or an outdoor weekend getaway, New Jersey actually has quite a few hiking spots to check out.

Here's a list of some trails that are great for beginners and experienced hikers alike!

Hacklebarney State Park

Hacklebarney State Park is located in Long Valley, just west of Chester. This location offers a wide variety of trails of different lengths and levels of difficulty, so there’s something for everyone!

Whether you’re an experienced hiker or someone just looking for a fun day outdoors, you should be able to have a great time at Hacklebarney. Plus, the nearby Hacklebarney Farm sells plenty of classic fall goodies like apple cider and apple cider donuts. Heading to this area will allow you to plan the perfect outdoor fall day.

Wharton State Forest

Located in Wharton, the Wharton State Forest offers 50 miles of marked hiking trails for you to explore. This is a great place to check out if you’re looking to spend some time in the Pinelands. In addition to the expansive hiking trails, the Wharton State Forest also has marked paths for horseback riding, mountain biking and even cross-country skiing once we hit the winter months.

If you’re looking to get away for more than a day trip, you can also rent campsites in multiple different styles — from fully furnished cabins to more rugged campsites with water pumps and pit toilets for a truly outdoor experience.

High Point State Park

High Point State Park, located in Sussex County, has the highest elevation in New Jersey. With more than 50 miles of hiking trails, there are trails of varying lengths, landscapes and difficulty levels.

These trails also include 18 miles of the Appalachian Trail. In addition to hiking, you can also swim, horseback ride, bike ride, canoe, kayak, fish and more at High Point State Park. This is a great place to visit if you want to check out the highest point in New Jersey and also have plenty to do outdoors.

Delaware and Raritan Canal State Park

The Delaware and Raritan Canal State Park is located along the nearby Raritan River, making this an easily accessible location for Rutgers students.

Offering scenic views and more than 70 miles of trails, it's a great place to go for a hike, nature walk or bike ride. it also offers scheduled programs for different levels of walks or hikes. So, if you’re looking to get into hiking or get outdoors with a group, this could be a perfect place for you.

Rutgers University Ecological Preserve

The most accessible hiking location for Rutgers students is, of course, the Rutgers University Ecological Preserve located on Livingston campus. With seven trails of varying lengths, you can choose your own adventure in this great outdoor area.

The Ecological Preserve also serves as a Rutgers teaching area, so it’s a great place to see New Jersey native plants, the Raritan River Watershed and more.

The preserve is free to visit and open to all Rutgers students and the public, so round up a group of friends and check out the awesome natural spaces that Rutgers has to offer.

I hope this list helps you find a new favorite hiking trail or inspires you to get outdoors this fall, even if you aren’t normally a hiker. The fall is a great time to hike and see nature as the leaves are changing, so take advantage of this list before the season flies by you.

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