Best Hikes with Dogs New Jersey  by Mary Jasch

Best Hikes with Dogs: New Jersey Guide Book

by Mary Jasch (The Mountaineers Books)
Best Hikes with Dogs New Jersey  by Mary Jasch
Mary Jasch has spent more than 10 years hiking with her four dogs throughout New Jersey, and now she shares her favorite trails that are sure to delight both you and your pet. You'll discover everything that the Garden State has to offer, from the northern highlands and Kittatinny Mountain to the southern coastal plains and beaches.

© 2007 Mary Jasch/The Mountaineers Books. All Rights Reserved.

Trails from the "Best Hikes with Dogs: New Jersey" Guide Book
Displaying trails 20 of 52.

Displaying trails 1 to 20 of 52.

This section of the 2160-mile Appalachian National Scenic Trail (AT) follows the ridge of Kittatinny Mountain. As in most of New Jersey, the trail is rocky with a lot of ups and downs, but the climbs are worth the views. Hikers can sleep in the shelter that thru-hikers share, so be sure to keep your dog on a leash at all times, even when sleeping. Space is on a first-come, first-served basis, so bring your tent to pitch if necessary or if you prefer. Be sure to carry enough water for you and your dog for the day, and bring a water purification kit.
Wallpack Center, NJ - Backpacking,Hiking - Trail Length: 10.5
This section of the Appalachian National Scenic Trail is relatively easy and a joy to hike, with great views through the Kittatinny Valley along the New York–New Jersey border. Traverse bucolic farmland, wildflower meadows, railroad beds, streams, a wildlife refuge, and Pochuck Mountain.
Vernon, NJ - Backpacking,Hiking - Trail Length: 14.4
This short section of the world-famous Appalachian National Scenic Trail (AT) that runs from Georgia to Maine weaves through various habitats, offering your dog the sights and scents of open meadows, shady forest, cool streams, and swampland. A dip in the meandering stream is a treat at the end of the hike. Cross Quarry Road and head down into the woods toward Georgia. Your dog will smell sweet air in the dappled shade of young woods. Winter is a great time to hike here. With temperatures in the thirties, the mud freezes but you and your dog stay warm by hiking.
Hanford, NJ - Hiking - Trail Length: 5.2
Wharton State Forest lies in the heart of the Pine Barrens. Its 114,000 acres encompass typical pineland habitat, long stretches of trails, three rivers, many streams, two Natural Areas, and all the hiking you and your dog could want among the pines. This hike, although relatively minute, takes you along a river, through oak–pine woods, over a great dam by a beautiful lake, and through a historic village. There is a lot for Fido to see in this popular end of the forest. Batsto began life in 1766 as both a bog iron and window glass company town, changing to agriculture and forest products in the late 1800s.
Batsto, NJ - Hiking - Trail Length: 3
This fresh, verdant trail in fall and winter brings you and your canine pal the gift of woodland detail and sights to see without the distraction of leaves. Bold rocks, streams, and shallow soil become the substrate for lush growth of bright green moss, lichen, fern, rhododendron, mountain laurel, hemlock, and pine. It’s a green hike with great views, adventure in unusual habitats, waterfalls, lunch on a sunny ridge top, speckled rock, and trees growing out of boulders. The Bearfort Ridge Natural Area is home to the endangered red-shouldered hawk and the timid Eastern timber rattler. Your experienced dog will love the streams, varied habitats with distinctive aromas, and path like an agility course. This hike is among the cream!
Moe, NJ - Hiking - Trail Length: 5
This hike offers as close to a wilderness experience as possible for Fido and companion in New Jersey, for few people climb beyond the falls and this section of the Appalachian Trail (AT) is far from any crossroad. Fido will enjoy the falls, woods, meadows, ridge-top breeze, and the cooling walk back on the moist Woods Trail. In spring and after heavy rains, the 204-foot Buttermilk Falls is spectacular. This rugged trail is for dogs and people with hiking experience only. Carry at least 3 liters of drinking water for Fido and 3 liters for you.
Wallpack Center, NJ - Hiking - Trail Length: 5
This little hike, packed with interesting sights, offers human and dog a quick, easy walk into bayside habitats—upland forest, swamp, salt marsh, open woods, and a sandy beach. Wide paths help keep your dog out of tick habitat. The hike is open and sunny with a cheerful dose of nature, especially in winter. Cooper Environmental Center has freshwater spigots and wildlife exhibits. Salt marshes comprise more than 70 percent of Cattus Island—an important fact since more than 75 percent of the salt marshes in Barnegat Bay has been developed.
Toms River, NJ - Hiking - Trail Length: 2.3
The Cedar Swamp Trail through the John D. Kuser Natural Area in High Point State Park offers you and your dog an opportunity to walk on a mountaintop without having to climb the mountain to get there. This is a great hike in winter—fun, fast, and easy. Your dog will enjoy trotting through the different habitats of this ancient lake scoured out of bedrock by the Wisconsin Glacier about twelve thousand years ago. A wide boardwalk traverses part of it, allowing an up-close look at life in a protected bog.
Sussex, NJ - Hiking - Trail Length: 1.5
This soft trail meanders through tidewater salt marsh, encountering southern plant species such as spring and summer-blooming fragrant magnolias, a lot of birdsong for your dog to pick up his ears and listen to, and diverse terrain with different scents and sights. Canine and human feet will feel good pounding this sand. The path’s gentle ups and downs are short and fun through the park’s state-designated Natural Area. Bring plenty of water for your dog because the streams here are brackish—a mix of salt and fresh water. This is a “no-excuses” hike—just 1 mile off the parkway. Cheesequake’s trails are mostly civilized and close to the crowds. In fall and winter, they are popular places to walk the local dogs.
Matawan, NJ - Hiking - Trail Length: 2.5
This hike traverses a defunct railbed through the town of High Bridge to Ken Lockwood Gorge and the South Branch of the Raritan River. It offers you and your dog either a relaxed or an energetic hike above dramatic terrain. The paved trail crosses several streets, then turns to gravel as it runs past Lake Solitude and above country for a bird’s-eye view of houses in the woods. Soon you and your dog will leave the town behind and hear only the river and birds. The river weaves near, then out of view, but remains identifiable by the faint swath of white-barked American sycamore that lines its banks.
High Bridge, NJ - Hiking - Trail Length: 7
For two cars, drive farther north on County Route 29 to just above Stockton. Turn left into the almost-hidden parking lot just before the historic stone and wood buildings of the Prallsville Mill. Take your dog for an easy, interesting hike along this abandoned railroad bed of the Belvidere-Delaware Railway Line. He will enjoy its diverse situations, such as standing on an aqueduct above a fun falls, swimming in the placid canal, and scouting the sights, sounds, and scents of this busy, mostly sunny, path that runs through two historic towns between the D&R Canal and the Delaware River. With just one car, hike a moderate out-and-back hike of 8.4 miles in 5 hours.
Lambertville, NJ - Hiking - Trail Length: 4.2
A maze of sand roads, with names like TNT Road, crisscross the park, allowing for hikes of different lengths. For a good cross-section of Pine Barrens habitats, with minimum exposure to ticks, take a hike on the 1.8-mile boardwalk, circling back on a wide sand road. The United Nations has designated the Pine Barrens as an International Biosphere Preserve. More than 1 million acres are designated as the New Jersey Pinelands National Reserve, and most of that is protected by state legislation. History abounds here, and an artesian well drilled in the early 1900s offers human and canine a safe, refreshing drink. This is a great place to spend the day. Bring lunch and a snack for Fluffy.
Egg Harbor City, NJ - Hiking - Trail Length: 3.7
Garret Mountain Reservation is located on the northernmost tip of First Watchung Mountain. You and your dog can stand on its volcanic cliffs with exciting views of the surrounding wall-to-wall suburbia of North Jersey and all its accoutrements. Basalt outcrops, small undulating hills, streams, and woods make this a fun hike for your canine pal. Expect to meet other dogs. Popular year-round, it is perhaps best to avoid the summer crowds.
Paterson, NJ - Hiking - Trail Length: 3.8
This hike is all your dog ever wanted encapsulated in one area. It has a little bit of everything for a dog—flat, rounded boulders left by the Wisconsin Glacier to hop from one to the next, two wild trout streams and an energetic river to quench even the slightest thirst, dramatic ravines for a change of pace, swaths of wildflowers to sniff, waterfalls, and wide trails and rocky paths to scramble. Your dog will also enjoy sunning after a dip, while you relax on perfectly placed benches on rock ledges over the Black River. This is a fun park—well designed by nature and humans in a small space. Differently named short trails comprise this easy-to-follow loop.
Parker, NJ - Hiking - Trail Length: 3
The Grand Tour Trail is a dream on canine and human feet. The soft loam underfoot feels as if you are walking on air. Hartshorne Woods contains everything you need in a hike—gentle hills with dramatic vegetation, diverse habitats, up-close wildlife, which will keep Spike busy sniffing, and surprises along the way. It is a fun, made-to-order, no-excuses hike that will keep your dog happy and in shape. The park map calls the Grand Tour challenging, but if your dog is used to hiking the rocky northern trails, it is a breeze and a pleasure.
Hilton, NJ - Hiking - Trail Length: 3.5
The trail comes out on a road, briefly passing private property then turning right into a field before entering woods. It winds around and over a ravine on narrow wooden bridges. Farley, intimidated at first, soon became adept at this high-wire act. A few big sugar maple, red oak, and tulip trees dominate the woods. Go past the old factories that, long ago, made textiles, woodworking machinery, and high-wheeled bicycles. The sandy gravel path is pretty in winter, showing off the trees, and soft on your dog’s feet. Several judiciously placed docks provide nice views over Smithville Lake and an experience for your canine pal. Soon, reach the Floating Trail, which goes over the lake. It sways and moves like a suspension bridge, a fun experience for you and your dog. Farley, unused to moving trails, first skulked with its movement, adding this to his increasing range of experiences.
Smithville, NJ - Hiking - Trail Length: 2.8
Tranquility and peace describe this hike. A civility resides on this 354-acre former farm, whose mark on the land shows harmony between human and nature. Most of the paths here are roads—macadam, dirt, and grass. Walk past the kiosk, through the gate, and turn left onto Hairpin Lane, a paved, steep switchback down through grassland managed for birds, with hedgerows and bird boxes, vernal pools, and ponds. American kestrels, northern harriers, eastern bluebirds, ground-nesting bobolinks, and eastern meadowlarks frequent these habitats, so keep your canine buddy especially close through the meadows. To the northeast, there are great views of the Highlands mountains.
Pattenburg, NJ - Hiking - Trail Length: 2.3
This barrier island park offers you and your dog an off-season stroll on the beach minus the crowds, a close-up view of Barnegat Inlet, a glimpse of coastal habitats, and a healthy dose of salt air. There is plenty to keep your dog interested—crashing waves, squawking gulls, diving seabirds, surf anglers, and seaside scents for a different kind of sniffing. A quick side trip on a boardwalk to the bay offers a hiking canine the new experience of standing on a platform over big water. Dogs are permitted year-round in the area south of bathing unit 2, and in the ocean swimming areas from the day after Labor Day to the Friday before Memorial Day weekend. They are not allowed on bird-blind trails.
Barnegat Light, NJ - Hiking - Trail Length: 3.4
This is an easy walk for human and dog on a hillside along a moving stream. The trail crosses the stream in seven places, and there is always a great spot for Spot to get cool. This popular park is a joy in winter too, and your dog will enjoy a short walk in the snow. Cross the road and scoot down onto the red-dot trail through the Primrose Brook floodplain. Boardwalks cover the wetter parts of the trail that traverses open, sunny woods to shady forest. The path rises and falls slightly, just enough to keep you and your dog in shape, following the side of Mount Kemble and moving away from the brook. This is an ideal walk on a warm summer day. It is short, shady, and the brook is never too far to take your dog for a quick dip. Birdsong fills the open woods, and the trail twists and curves for a canine’s hiking interest. This hike passes near George Washington’s troop encampments during the Revolutionary War.
Morristown, NJ - Hiking - Trail Length: 1.2
This trail has the best of both worlds for you and your dog—solitude in quiet, almost undisturbed nature on one side of the Kittatinny Ridge and a popular glacial stream on the other. A short jaunt across the Appalachian Trail connects both sides of the mountain.
Portland, PA - Hiking - Trail Length: 5