Our Favorite Morris County Hiking Trails (What to Look For!)
If you haven’t heard about New Jersey hiking then you’re in for a treat. As summer turns to autumn, we want to spend some of our last sunny days outside. Luckily, there are a ton of accessible hiking trails all over Morris County to discover. We’ve rounded up several of the best Morris County hiking trails below so you can find a new area to explore or revisit a family favorite. Getting outdoors and into beautiful scenery will boost your mood, help you maintain social distancing, and bring your family together for an adventure. Here are six of our favorite hikes.
Black River Trail – Cooper Mill
This hiking trail starts near the historic Cooper Gristmill, one of the only remaining restored water-powered mills in New Jersey. The trail itself winds through the Black River Gorge and through a pine forest. Hiking along the river is especially stunning in the fall. There are 7.2 miles of hiking trails and many variations you can take. The loop can be done in either direction, so whether you are looking for a short, fun hike or a day-long adventure, this trail is perfect. Look out for the old ruins of Kay’s cottage, part of the beautiful environmental center in Chester, NJ.
For a hike with a little bit of New Jersey history, Jonathan’s Woods is the best choice. The hiking trails over the 556 acres were developed in connection with POWWW, Protect Our Wetlands, Water, and Woods. On these Denville trails, birdwatching is some of the best in the state. The section of Jonathan’s Woods of historic significance is known as the Hogpen. During the Revolutionary War, local farmers resorted to removing their livestock from their farmyards and hid them out of sight at this location, keeping the animals safe from hungry, pilfering soldiers.
Pyramid Mountain Natural Historic Area offers 1,675 acres of rugged trails, fields, forests, rock outcroppings, and wetlands. The narrow, smooth white-marked trail takes you to the main attraction: Tripod Rock, a tank-size boulder perched atop three smaller boulders. The Stonehenge-like formation appears to defy gravity while attracting selfies. The blue trail will take you to the highest point in the park (934 feet) and offer a magnificent view of the New York City skyline.
The Columbia Trail is a shady rail-trail that runs along the Raritan River and through scenic Ken Lockwood Gorge. This Morris County hiking trail is about 16 miles one way and is perfect for those hikers who want to see more of our beautiful state. It connects the town of Bartley in Morris County to High Bridge in Hunterdon County. The Morris County section of the trail is 8.2 miles, and along it you will find even more outdoor recreation. Bring your fishing pole and take the trail to the Langdon Palmer Fishing Access Area on Fairview Avenue.
Nestled among the hills of western Morris County, Schooley’s Mountain County Park offers visitors 823 acres of adventure. There are hiking trails, a picnic area and shelter, a play area near the lake picnic grove, and a natural amphitheater. For a short hike with a big reward, the Falling Waters trail is perfect. The whole trail is about 2.4 miles and takes you to a beautiful gorge with waterfalls. For a longer trip around the park, the white-blazed Patriots Path leads up the mountain. If you choose this path, after the overlook, follow the signs toward the falls along the green-blazed Boulder Gorge Trail for unbeatable views.
Mount Paul Memorial County Park
Mount Paul Memorial Park is a 285-acre parcel of land where you can find the headwaters for Gladstone Brook, a beautiful stream, known for trout fishing. Hikers can take the trail to see history in the making. Along the trail, a unique chestnut tree orchard represents the future. The American Chestnut Foundation crossed the American Chestnut with Chinese Chestnut with the goal of developing a blight-resistant tree, a process that is anticipated to take six generations or 48 years.
Hiking in Morris County, New Jersey
Lucky for us, in these unprecedented times, parks are open throughout New Jersey. In Morris County, hiking trails abound, so you can get out of the house and get some fresh air and exercise. Learn more about other fall events and fun seasonal activities in Morris County!