Top 5 Recommended State Forests to Visit in New Jersey (2023)
New Jersey is blessed with a beautiful forested region, and about 7.7% of the State’s land area constitute forestry and parks. This 7.7% comprises of 430,928 acres land, and about 17.8 million annual visitors are drawn here every year for enjoying the beauty and tranquillity of the region. Now when we talk about State Forests in New Jersey, the total count is no more than 11, but no matter which one you choose to explore, your experience here will always be incredible.
From lush green dense lands to picturesque mountains, several miles of trails, rivers, canyons, waterfalls, the Garden State has an array of beautiful sight-seeing options nestled within the forestry range. State Forests in New Jersey not only are picture worthy but there are a lot of fun and adventures options that will take your experience to a whole new level. Of the 11 State Forests in New Jersey, we recommend the 5 most popular amongst them.
Top 5 Recommended State Forests to Visit in New Jersey
For details, have a look at our 5 Must-visit State Forests in New Jersey list.
1. Wharton State Forest, Hammonton
Wharton is the largest State Forest in New Jersey and has all good reasons to be at the first spot on our list. It covers nearly 122,880 acres of land in the Pinelands northeast of Hammonton town and is known for its beauty in tranquillity. Wharton is home to the historic Batsto Village, the ever-popular Batsto Mill, Atsion Mansion, along with several other historic villages of New Jersey. The locals of the State often choose the Wharton State Forest as their ultimate outdoor recreation spot, all thanks to the 500 miles of unpaved roads (for horseback riding, mountain biking, & cycling), miles of scenic hiking trails, lakes, Mullica River and over 20 campgrounds well equipped with restrooms and shower rooms.Image Source
When here, visitors can try several fun activities, including Kayaking, Canoeing, and fishing. There’s also a guarded beach inside in case anyone wants a quick swimming break amidst hiking the forest. Also, if you are here during the blueberry season, you will find low rise, heavy blueberry bushes lined wisely along the trails.
2. Bass River State Forest, Tuckerton
The Bass River State Forest is a popular spot for water conservation, wildlife and timber management, as well as outdoor recreation. The forest got its name from the Bass River that passes through it and provides shelter to the sensitive pines. However, the main attraction here is the 67-acre Lake Absegami around which the entire forest is based. The lake provides for a number of fun activities, including swimming, fishing, boating, and canoeing. Lake Absegami’s north shore features six lakefront cabins, six lakeside shelters, 176 tent and trailer sites, six group campsites, along with all the required amenities for overnight camping.
Unlike other public outdoor regions, the Bass River State Forest in New Jersey is really quiet, to the extent that you can even meditate here. Further, if you want to watch nature and wildlife up-close and personal, then do head over the 50 miles long Batona hiking trail.
3. Jenny Jump State Forest, Hope
The Jenny Jump State Forest is located in the north-western section of New Jersey, encompassing 4,466 acres of land. The forest is named after a girl Jenny who, while being chased by a Native Americans, jumped of the nearby mountain and eventually died. Even though only a limited portion of the mountain is within the state forest range, but there’s still a lot to do within the scope. The region is famous for the long hiking trails on the mountainside, where one can come close to the large glacial boulders that are known to outcrop about 21,000 years ago from the Wisconsin glaciation.
The Jenny Jump State Forest is known to host the darkest skies in New Jersey, and the star-studded skies make the night hours extremely gorgeous here. It is also home to New Jersey’s Greenwood Observatory’s United Astronomy Clubs, and the locals from the State often head here to see the glowing wonder in the skies. The State Forest is also popular for paranormal activities and for the experience that you can spend some time at the Ghost Lake, the Fairy hole, and Lenape Lane.
4. Norvin Green State Forest, Bloomingdale
Norvin Green State Forest is located in the Bloomingdale region in New Jersey near the Wanaque Reservoir and is spread over 5,416 acres. The forest is home to an extensive trail system that climbs up to 1,300 feet but are only accessible via foot. Once you hike up to the summit, you can catch splendid overlooking views of the Manhattan skyline, Wanaque Reservoir, Burnt Meadow Brook, and Lake Sonoma. Falls are the best time to plan a hike here as the temperature stays moderate, pathways are well dried, and the Autumn foliage colours add the beauty quotient.
Norvin Green State Forest is noted as a piece of pure heaven in new Jersey, all thanks to the wonderful vistas, fabulous rock formations, and lush jungles. No matter which level of hiker you are, the forest is ideal for everyone. If you want some snow fun, winters are also the preferable time to explore Norvin.
5. Ramapo Mountain State Forest
The Ramapo Mountain State Forest is one of the must-visit State Forest in New Jersey, all thanks to the thrills and experiences it offers. It is spread over 4,200 acres comprising Bergen and Passaic Counties. Ramapo is extremely famous amongst hikers, especially the ones who aim to hike up to the Van Slyke Castle, an abundant ruin that belongs to the early 1900s. It was built by William Porter in the early 20th; however, 50 years later, it was burned by vandals, and today only remains can be found there. However, the view up from the castle is absolutely mind-blowing as one can see the entire range of Ramapo underneath. Especially if you are here during winters, the snow-peaked views are the beauty to die for.
Apart from hiking, the Ramapo Mountains State Forest is also popular for hunting, canoeing, angel fishing, ice fishing, cross-country skiing, non-guided ice skiing, mountain biking and horse riding. The Ramapo Lake Natural Area, along with the RyeCliff Mansion (overlooking the Ramapo lake), are another draws to the forest.