For a more curated experience check out trail guides from our partner publishers.
Best Hikes with Children in New Jersey
by Arline Zatz (The Mountaineers Books)
While hiking Ramapo Lake’s perimeter, you might see muskrat, which Dutch settlers referred to as the “rote,” or rat. About the size of a cat, this furry brown mammal makes a roundish house of cattails and grasses in the water and can sometimes be seen prowling around the water’s edge for turtles, fish, and various water plants. For a short period, you’ll be hiking the historic Cannonball Trail, a secret route through the Ramapo Mountains that was used during the Revolutionary War to transport cannonballs that had been cast in local furnaces.
Best Easy Day Hikes: Northeast New Jersey
by Paul E. DeCpste and Ronald J. Dupont Jr. (Falcon Guides)
This rather challenging hike packs a lot into a loop. Tramp past the photogenic ruins of Van Slyke Castle and the stone water tower. Edge Ramapo Lake and climb Castle Point. View the New York City skyline as well as the Watchung Mountains and the Wyanokie Plateau. There are two steady rises on this hike, but it’s well worth the effort.Our hike in the Ramapos begins on Skyline Drive and rambles down a rocky, old woods road, the Hoeferlin Memorial Trail. Bill Hoeferlin was a pioneering North Jersey trail builder and mapmaker; thus the honor of having the trail named after him is deserved. Reaching Ramapo Lake near its spillway, we follow an old road along the shore.
The Cannonball Trail was the secret route used by the Continental Army for transporting munitions cast at Pompton Furnace. The trail takes you atop the ridges of the Ramapo Mountains, where you’ll stand beside a huge boulder, known as an erratic, that was transported here by glaciers thousands of years ago. Your destination is Erskine Lookout with a terrific view of Lake Erskine and Wanaque Reservoir. An abundance of blueberries to chomp on during late summer is an added bonus, but be certain of what you’re eating. Long pants are in order for this hike; because the trail isn’t used too often, you may be scratched by overgrown blueberry bushes or overhanging poison ivy.
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