Preparing for Your Trip to Hemlock Falls: Beginner’s Guide to Hiking Essentials

by Staff

Located in the South Mountain Reservation near Millburn, Hemlock Falls is one of the most picturesque hikes in New Jersey. You can take a few different trails to view these lovely falls that fall under the “Easy” and “Moderate” difficulty categories.

If you’re new to hiking, though, you’re probably wondering what essential supplies you should bring on your trip. Fortunately, since Hemlock Falls is a short hike that you can accomplish in a few hours, you won’t need to worry about a high base weight. However, there are a few essentials you can throw in your pack to make your hike more enjoyable.

The ten essentials

Any experienced hiker will tell you to always pack the Ten Essentials in your pack. Even if you only plan to make the 1.8-mile Hemlock Falls loop, you should always be prepared.

Food and water

One of the best ways to carry sustenance is in a stainless steel cup that you can use for soups, smoothies, yogurts, or water. You’ll need about seventeen ounces (half a liter) of water and enough snacks to keep you energized.

Shelter and clothing

Although packing extra clothes and shelter might seem like overkill for a short hike, you never know when an emergency could strike. You can buy lightweight clothing and an emergency bivy bag or tent that won’t take up much space in your pack.

Photo by Kamaji Ogino from Pexels

Survival items

You’ll also want to pack a few survival items for your trip. These will allow you to travel safely and get through the night with minimal difficulties if you find yourself stuck on the trail for some reason. For example, duct tape is a multipurpose tool that can make a significant difference in a survival situation.

First aid kit and sun protection

A proper first aid kit will include bandages, a needle and thread, antibiotic ointment, and gauze. However, a simple kit from a drug store will suffice. Sun protection will help prevent sunburns, which can become quite painful. Proper first aid is essential on typical camping trips, too.


A good knife will act as a defensive weapon and split small branches, both of which will be essential if you get stuck overnight. Choose a folding knife that you’re comfortable with handling. A pocket knife or one you can clip to your belt is also a wise choice.


Whether you carry a paper map or use your smartphone, you should have some form of navigation on you. However, if you plan to use your phone, you should download any maps ahead of time in case you lose your cell signal.

Packing these essential items on your next Hemlock Falls hike will make your trip much easier because you’ll be prepared for any scenario. Fortunately, none of the items weigh too much, so you’ll be able to carry them without breaking a sweat. Most importantly, you’ll be able to enjoy yourself knowing you’ve taken all the proper precautions.

About the Author/s

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The New Jersey Digest is a new jersey magazine that has chronicled daily life in the Garden State for over 10 years.

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