Outstanding Regional HikesLast updated: Jun 05, 2013
For many people, the warm days of summer make outside activity more appealing than a treadmill, bicycle, or elliptical machine at the gym. If you'd like to refresh your exercise routine and spend more time being active outdoors this summer, consider hiking!
An alternative to structured gym-based exercise, hiking offers you:
- An outdoor activity for almost all fitness levels
- Exercise that can include family, friends, and pets
- Happy distractions such as beautiful scenery, birdsong, and the scent of grass, trees, flowers, and leaves
A break from the routine of exercising indoors during cold months
The tristate area has inspiring hikes,
most of which are suitable for the entire family!
Outstanding hiking areas in the tristate region include:
Bushkill Falls – Bushkill, Pennsylvania
Located only a few miles west of the Delaware Water Gap, Bushkill Falls offers hiking for almost all fitness levels in the Pocono Mountains. Also known as "Niagra Falls of Pennsylvania," Bushkill falls is home to 8 exquisite waterfalls. You can join other bird watchers at this pastoral retreat. Many of the trails benefit from a dense canopy for much-needed shade on hot days!
You can get to the waterfalls by way of 4 main trails that vary in length and difficulty:|
- Two of the easier trails offer a view the main falls, take average-ability hikers approximately 45 minutes, and require no climbing
- A moderate-ability trail offers hikers views of Pennell Falls and takes approximately 75 minutes to complete
- The most difficult trail spans each of Bushkill’s falls and takes on average 2 or more hours to complete
Delaware Water Gap – Pennsylvania / New Jersey border
The Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area runs through the Appalachian Mountains and separates Pennsylvania from New Jersey. You can get to it by way of Route 80. In addition to hiking some of its more than 100 miles of trails, the Gap offers swimming, canoeing, rafting, fishing, and rock climbing if you like more adventure!
Trails at the Gap are suitable for hikers of almost all ages and fitness levels:
- If you'd like a stroll, you might prefer the 1-mile Arrow Island trail off route 611
- If you are an intermediate-level hikers, you might enjoy the Karamac trail at Worthington State Forest
- If you'd like a challenging, popular hike, try the Mount Tammany routes, including the Turquoise trail and Dunnfield Hollow trail
Morristown National Historical Park – Morristown, New Jersey
Morristown National Historical Park includes Jockey Hollow, Fort Nonsense, and the Ford Mansion — sites the Continental Army used during the American Revolutionary War to house thousands of soldiers and commanders, including George Washington.
The hills of Jockey Hollow allow for excellent, if at times vigorous hikes while you and the kids brush up on American History. With 11 different trails ranging from 1 to 6.5 miles, Jockey Hollow has routes for almost all ages and fitness levels. Each trail showcases the area's rich history and leads hikers to special interests, including a farmhouse, herb garden, cemetery, and soldiers' huts.
Visit the National Park Service Morristown National Historical Park home page to learn more.
Round Valley - Lebanon, New Jersey
Located off Route 22, the Round Valley Recreation Area has 3 marked trails and 1 unmarked water trail on its 3,684 acres. In addition, the park offers visitors 85 campsites and 3 picnic grounds as well as fishing for more than 19 different species, hunting, boating, swimming, scuba diving, and snorkeling.
Visitors must pay a modest fee to enter Round Valley. New Jersey residents enjoy a 50% reduction in fee over non-NJ residents per vehicle. If you walk into the Round Valley, the fee is only $2.
Hiking at Round Valley includes:
- The Cushetunk trail, which is a 9-mile, steep, rocky, and coarse trail for advanced hikers
- Pine tree trail, which is a mile-long loop connecting the day-use area with the Diving of Fish and Wildlife property
- Family hiking trail, which is a half-mile loop suitable for young children and casual trail bicyclists
- Unmarked water trail, which is a beautiful 1.5-mile trail that allows hikers to walk along the water’s edge. You can get to it at the boat launch
Chimney Rock at Washington Valley Park - Bridgewater, NJ
Chimney Rock Park offers its visitors baseball, softball, tennis, and bicycling trails. Nearby, Washington Valley Park has more than 700 acres of mountain landscape, forests, open freshwater wetland marshes, rock outcroppings, and a 21-acre reservoir.
Washington Valley Park hiking trails include easy-to-moderate terrain with large, stable rocks underlying smaller, looser rocks. The trails offer spectacular views with safe, but uncultivated terrain.
Visit the Somerset County Park Commission Washington Valley park home page to learn more.
In addition to helping you achieve and maintain a health weight, hiking and walking regularly can help lower your blood pressure, reduce emotional stress, strengthen your muscles and bones, and increase your cardiovascular fitness.