The Appalachian Trail is a non-governmental, independently managed recreation facility of the national park system and is the nation's longest marked hiking trail at 2,180 miles.
It traverses 14 states from Maine's Mount Katahdin to Georgia's Springer Mountain over scenic, wooded, pastoral and rugged terrain.
The "AT" as it's called by hikers, is maintained by 30 trail clubs and multiple partnerships
The New Jersey stretch of the Appalachian Trail is 74 miles long and begins at Abram S. Hewitt State Forest in the northern most point and runs west and south through Wawayanda State Park, High Point State Park, Stokes State Forest, ending at Worthington State Forest.
The NJ stretch of the Appalachian Trail can range from very flat and easy to very rugged, rocky trails ascending to elevations from 350 to 1,803 feet. In addition to heavily wooded and rocky surfaces, the terrain also includes bogs and wetlands with plenty of wildlife, including an active bear population, deer herds, and many species of birds.
The entire stretch in New Jersey Appalachian Trail is intersected by highways, country lanes, or Park roads. It takes three to four days to thru-hike and camp out on New Jersey's section of the AT, but it can also be taken one day at a time in under ten modest day-hikes.
The best time to hike the New Jersey section of the Appalachian Trail is from late April through early June, and during September and October.
There are many detailed road maps of New Jersey that will show a dotted line marking of the trail. Forest ranger offices at the state parks along the trail will have maps showing their sections of the trail.
The Trail itself is marked with 2 by 6 inch white painted patches on trees and rocks along the way. Two patches, one above the other defines a change in direction of the trail.
From the parking area, proceed south, the boardwalk begins after following the A.T.. When you reach the suspension bridge you are about halfway through the route. The end of the boardwalk marks the place to turn around and return to your car.
Parking/Trail head: GPS coordinates: N41 13.600 W74 28.114. Take NJ 517 south from Greenwood, turn left onto Maple Grange Road, and turn left at the next intersection onto Canal Road. Parking is available at the trail crossing about 0.5 miles ahead.
Wallkill Valley - The 2.75 mile Liberty Loop Trail
The trail co-exists with the Appalachian Trail for one mile. The trail loops around several managed wetland units, providing an excellent opportunity to observe a wide variety of bird life. This is an easy, level hike with a great view of 1,184-foot Pochuck Mountain along the refuge's eastern edge. From the parking area, take the Liberty Loop Trail east for approx .2 miles, then proceed right along the east side of the marsh. This is the right-of-way of an old railroad. Continue another .4 miles to reach the Appalachian Trail, continue southbound as it circles around the marsh, reaching Oil City Road at the northwest corner of the marsh. Dogs are allowed only on the AT portion of the Trail.
Parking: 300 feet north of the New Jersey/New York border on the south side of Oil City Road in Pine Island, Warwick, New York. There is a bird observation platform near the parking lot.
Sunrise Mountain, High Point Monument, and the Fire Tower
The 7.2 mile trail is moderate with small ascents and descents, This is a popular AT hike takes you to The northern Kittatinny Ridge with a climb to the highest point in NJ to an elevation 1803 feet at High Point. Here you can experience beautiful vistas along jagged ledges and views of the High Point Monument, Normanook Fire Tower, and the Sunrise Mountain Pavilion over the Walkill River valley and Delaware River.
From the parking lot, take a short side trail for approximately .1 mile as you begin to view the Sunrise Mountain Pavilion . Continue south to a ledge offers another viewpoint prior to entering the woods, continue to the broad crest of Kittatinny Mountain. Hike pass the Tinsley Trail to the right and to the Stony Brook Trail . Cross Stony Brook at 2.6 miles, passing the Tower Trail at 3.5 miles, and then Culver Fire Tower at 3.6 miles. The opening round the tower will offer great views. If you prefer not to climb its steps, return to the Sunrise Mountain parking area by heading north on the AT.
Parking/Trail head: High Point State Park , off NJ Rte 23, 7 miles south of Port Jervis, New York. Turn right into the parking lot, which the AT passes, and look for the trail crossing on the driveway near the road.
Bird, Blue and Rattlesnake Mountains
This 11 mile hike is one of the most difficult hikes along the New Jersey Appalachian Trail. Though it is mostly a ridge walk with few climbs, the trail traverses very rocky, jagged terrain. This is an area with plenty of wildlife. Take time to stop and enjoy the wildlife scenic vistas. The three mountains demonstrate that wild escapes exist in diverse New Jersey.
All three mountains are located along the Kittatinny Ridge, approximately half-way between High Point and the Delaware Water Gap.
Blue Mountain at 1450 feet is tree-covered, while both Bird at 1497 feet and Rattlesnake at 1492 feet are bare and offer great hiking through open meadows with great views of the Poconos and the Delaware River Valley to the north and west. A side trail leads from the summit of Bird past a lovely swamp and intersects the Buttermilk Falls Trail.
From the Parking lot, hike over to the wide jeep road and for approximately 1/4 mile to the AT. Bear right for Bird and Rattlesnake Mountains (2 miles each way). Continue as you near hump of Blue Mountain. You soon break into open territory with good views. Nearing the summit of Bird Mountain, the AT makes a sharp left into a wooded dell while a jeep road continues straight and descends steadily to the west. Be careful not to get side tracked and end up near a swamp below the summit of Rattlesnake Mountain.
Parking/Trail head: From the village of Walpack Center, NJ on County 615, turn east onto Brink Road and continue approximately 3/4 mile to a 4-way intersection near the cemetery. Continue ahead approximately one mile on a dirt road past the parking area for Tillman Ravine. Stay right at the intersection with Dimon Road and continue another mile to the parking lot at the intersection with Woods Road.
Sunfish Pond & Mount Mohican
Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area and Worthington State Forest
This is one of the most popular hiking destinations in New Jersey and can get crowded with many hikers during the warmer months and on weekends.
Begin your hike with a stop at the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area Information Center at Kittatinny Point. They have forest rangers that can give you trail maps and information on the geology, wildlife, and fauna of the area. Behind the visitor center is an awesome, scenic view of the Water Gap. Sunfish Pond is a blue lake formed from a gouge in the Wisconsin Glacier that later filled with water. Mt. Mohican is located between Mt. Tammany and Catfish Mountain, and is the highest point in Warren County. The Appalachian Trail travels over the summit. On the return hike down from the pond, take the Green trail along Dunnfield Creek to the Blue trail back to AT to the parking lot.
Parking/Trail head: Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area Information Center at Kittatinny Point. From westbound on I-80 in New Jersey, take Exit 1 Millbrook/Flatbrookville, which is the last exit in New Jersey. Turn Left at stop sign, bearing to the Right for 0.6 miles. Turn Right into visitor center parking lot.