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Round Valley Recreation Area Campground Professional Review and Guide
"The 85 campsites on the eastern shore of Round Valley Reservoir are among the most rustic developed sites in New Jersey. Officially termed “wilderness campsites,” they are totally inaccessible by road. Sites spread out along 3.5 miles of lakefront, and the closest site to the parking area is a 3-mile hike away on a rugged trail. Campers must carry in all gear and must carry out all garbage. Firewood may be gathered from the ground but cannot be cut from trees. Remember that New Jersey has an abundance of black bears, and you will have no car in which to lock your food. Bring along a bear-proof container and keep it away from your tent and out of reach."
--Marie Javins, The Best In Tent Camping: New Jersey (Menasha Ridge Press).
This is a review of the hike and camp. The hike by itself would get somewhere between 0.2 and .4 stars.
The hike should never be attempted unless you plan to camp at the end. it's about 3-5 miles to the campsite, and for most of the hike you can admire the native NJ scenery - if you lose yourself in the nostalgia of a rustic (or rusted) 1990's vintage chain-link fence borders the majority of the hike, you'll quickly be brought back by the sound of the traffic and the multiple "restricted area" signs. It's moderately challenging with a few up-and-downs, but nothing too hard.
110% worth it. you forget you're in NJ. Beautiful views of the reservoir, and you feel extremely secluded (granted i did get the most isolated camp spot). the water is clear as can be, the area is heavily wooded with mature Forrest. The beach is rocky, not sandy, but no biggie. I setup my hammock right on the treeline and watched the others boat in. The evening was great with the fire right on the beach. Many people bring a pole and fish for food. My only complaint is that it never got completely dark because for some reason they have massive flood lamps on the NW side of the lake that were on until i tucked in at 11pm. Also, although nobody bothered me, the high-school kids working the check-in told me that state police sometimes go around searching the campgrounds, so be sure to keep my permit-to-camp handy. It didn't come up, but was a bit alarming. Good 'ol NJ I guess.
Bottom line, i plan to camp here again, and recommend it to anyone looking for a little peace and quiet while staying in central NJ.
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