But in every walk with Nature one receives far more than he seeks. ~John Muir, July 1877
Where To Hike
There are many beautiful state parks and forests and an extensive network of hiking trails in our area to explore. Facilities such as parking, onsite trail maps/park information and restroom facilities vary, so refer to a hiking map or guidebook, such as those put out by the NY-NJ Trail Conference, or check out the websites below for more information. Here are a few of my local favorites:
New Jersey - Passaic and Bergen Counties - Abram S. Hewitt State Forest- West Milford Rugged mountain ridge offers steep climbs, expansive overlooks, colorful bedrock of unique "puddingstone" comglomerate, upland swamps and stunted pitch pines. - Longpond Ironworks State Park - Hewitt/Ringwood Hike back through time amid historic ruins, old iron mines and furnaces. Highlights: interpretive trails and signage, cascading stream, trail-side museum; adjacent to Monksville Reservoir. - Norvin Green State Forest - Bloomingdale/Ringwood/West Milford Wild, rocky and rugged, with a variety of native flora and fauna and a dense network of blazed and unmarked trails. Ruins, old mines and great views abound - but make sure to bring a trail map and know how to read it! NY-NY Trail Conference hiking maps available at The New Weis Center - Palisades Interstate Park - Alpine, Tenafly, Englewood Cliffs. Hike on the cliffs and shoreline along the western shore of the Hudson River. - Ramapo Mountain State Forest - Oakland/Pompton Lakes/Wanaque/Ringwood Easy access from Rt. 287/Rt. 208. Over 30 miles of trails pass scenic Ramapo Lake, ruins of old mansions, cascading streams, former scout camps and great viewpoints. - Ramapo Valley Reservation - Mahwah Easy access from Rt. 17/Rt. 287. Park has a pond, ruins, reservoir and a couple nice views, though it can be crowded in the areas closest to the parking lot on Rt. 202. - Ringwood State Park - Ringwood Includes the areas around Skylands Manor and the NJ Botanical Gardens. A wide variety of trails, from nature trails to wide old woods roads, carriage paths to rocky footpaths. Guided hikes and nature walks are available.
New York - Rockland and Orange Counties - Harriman / Bear Mountain State Park The best known hiking spot in the area lives up to its reputation with great hiking for all levels. From old iron mines to 31 lakes, ponds and reservoirs, to mountaintop vistas - you'll find it all - plus multiple access points and parking areas. - Sterling Forest State Park - Tuxedo 40 miles of blazed trails and many woods roads traverse the park, with the remains of over 20 old mines and several furnaces still evident. Make sure to stop by the beautiful Visitors Center to pick up a free trail map and check out their light-up trail map and exhibits.
Appalachian Trail - New Jersey/New York 160 miles of the 2,180 mile long Appalachian National Scenic Trail (the "AT") pass through New Jersey and New York - including some great views! The trail is uniformly marked it's entire length with 2" x 6" white vertical blazes. Why not experience a section of this historic long-distance trail?
NOTE: Hunting is allowed in some areas of these parks, including Sterling Forest, Harriman and Ringwood State Park; consult a map or check with the park office for details - and ALWAYS wear blaze orange or bright colors (like hot pink), and make some noise on the trail during hunting season!
Want to see more pictures of these areas? Check out the slide show on my home page for some of the highlights!
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