Friday, October 23, 2015

My 5 Favorite Family-Friendly Hikes in New Jersey

Moving across the country in a little over 2 weeks has got me thinking about my time here in New Jersey. I've been living on the East Coast a little over 5 years and have enjoyed exploring all we could in our time here. I remember moving here and coming from the Pacific Northwest wondering if there would be any "cool" hikes. I was pleasantly surprised that there were great hikes out East too. I would like to share my 5 favorite hikes in New Jersey. Keep in mind, they are all family friendly as we were either towing our kiddos in the backpacks or they hiked on their own. :)

In no particular order, here are my 5 favorite hikes in NJ:

1). Mt. Tammany - We did this hike twice and the first time our current 6 year old was probably a 1 year old and in the hiking carrier and 4 year old wasn't even born yet. The second time, our eldest son hiked the whole thing while the other was in the hiking carrier. This is a great hike with awesome views at the top. You see the Water Gap and Mt. Minsi across the way. There is also some minor scrambling. The kiddos love the rocks on the trail. The hike is 3.5 miles roundtrip. Check out trip report 1 trip report 2.
2). Pyramid Mountain - Lots of great features along the route on this hike. Loved how the terrain varied and there were some pretty cool glacier rocks and scenic overlooks to see. There's Lucy's Overlook, Tripod rock (Three Pillar Rock), Whale Head rock, Bear Rock, and scenic overlooks where you can see the NYC skyline. The hike we did is a 5 mile loop but can be shortened or lengthened depending on the trail routes you want to take. Check out our trip report.

3). Castle Point Trail Great for kids. Includes a walk along Ramapo Lake, climb to an abandoned mansion, and a view of the Wanaque Reservoir and surrounding mountains. I enjoyed the variety on this hike. Hiking and seeing the lake, some cool high points with nice views, and coming across the mansion ruins and the tower made the hike real interesting! The hike is 3.2 miles. Check out our trip report.

4). Torne Mountain/ Osio Rock - This hike has awesome views along the trail. You can even see the NYC skyline from various viewpoints. Best view is at Osio Rock as you get a 360 degree view of the Wanaque Reservoir, NYC skyline, and the Ramapos. Great hike for kids and I really liked the rock slabs along the trail. Hike is 2.5 miles roundtrip and a definite must do! Check out our trip report.

5). Stairway to Heaven, to Pinwheel Vista and Appalachian Trail Boardwalk - The Stairway to Heaven trail climbs steeply but with the rocks the kiddos loved it. The scenery was just gorgeous. The views combined with the neat boardwalks made this a great day of hiking! The hike we did including the boardwalk came to about 4 miles. Check out our trip report.

There you have it. My 5 favorite hikes in New Jersey! I will miss hiking here, but I'm also looking forward to the new adventures we will have in California. :)

Do you have a favorite hike(s) in your state?

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