Best Running Trails in NJ

by Meg Aprill
best running trails in nj

There is nothing better than going for a morning jog surrounded by beautiful views. Whether you consider yourself an exercise enthusiast or an aspiring runner, scenic trails can motivate anyone to get their miles in. Throw on your favorite sneakers and check out one of the best running trails in NJ. 

Stairway to Heaven Trail — Sussex County, NJ

Located in Vernon Township, this New Jersey running trail is 2.6-miles from the end back to the start. Well known for its scenic surroundings, this trail is popular among hikers, runners, walkers, and bird watchers year round. If you are new to running, this trail is a great option!

Stairway to Heaven

Maurice River Bluffs Preserve Trail — Cumberland County, NJ

The Maurice River Bluffs is a 4.4-mile loop in Millville, New Jersey. The trail is full of natural waterways and diverse species of birds soaring in the sky. The trail is perfect for runners of all skill levels and is commonly used for walking, fishing, hiking, and bird watching in the preserve. 

Cooper River Trail — Camden County, NJ

Cooper River Park is a charming spot for locals in Camden County. Whether you are looking to enjoy a picnic or an afternoon jog, the park’s flora and fauna attract many visitors from nearby towns. The Cooper River Trail is a 3.7-mile loop and can be accessed from different starting points throughout the park, though it currently has some uncompleted sections. Visit the Cooper River Park website to see how to access the trail and which parts of the loop are available! 

Watchung Reservation Historic Trail — Union County, NJ 

This 6.3-mile loop starts in Mountainside, New Jersey and takes visitors through the beautiful Watchung Reservation. Runners can enjoy the reservation’s wildlife and historical landmarks throughout the trail. Best visited from March to October, this is a popular route used by many locals to hike and run. 

Eagle Rock Reservation

Palisades Interstate Park Trails — Bergen County, NJ

Within Palisades Interstate Park, there are some of the best running trails in NJ that guests can venture through. The two main trails in the park include the 14.5-mile cliff-top Long Path from the GW Bridge to Lamont Doherty Earth Observatory and the 5.7-mile Shore Trail and Long Trail loop from Alpine Picnic Area. However, there are a number of other trails available—some better for hiking or running. 

Palmyra Cove Nature Park Trail — Burlington County, NJ

Located in Palmyra, New Jersey, this wildlife reservation is home to various environments and natural habitats for many of New Jersey’s sacred bird species. The running trail is about 2.2 miles to the end and back, making it great for beginners. Observe the forests, fields, rivers, and ponds throughout the park while taking an afternoon jog!

Loantaka Brook Reservation Trail — Morris County, NJ

This park is a maze of beautiful trails perfect for biking, running and walking. There are five miles of loops and paths throughout the four main districts in the reservation: Seaton Hackney Stables, South Street Recreation Area, Loantaka Brook Park at Kitchell Road and the Loantaka Way trail access area. Runners can access this trail from 468 South Street, 139 Kitchell Road in Morristown, NJ, and at the Loantaka Way entrance in Madison, NJ.

Autumn at Kitchell Pond

Hacklebarney State Park Trail — Morris County, NJ

Runners can jog along the Black River on the Hacklebarney State Park trail. The trail is about 3.7 miles long and runs through the forests of Morris County. The path is mostly smooth for running, but beware of tree roots and natural obstacles along the way. This is a popular spot for hikers and runners, so expect to have company on your run. 

Black River Trail Loop — Morris County, NJ

This 6.4-mile loop is hidden in Chester, New Jersey. A prime spot for experienced runners, the Black River trail is long, but also showcases a waterfall, river, and shaded forests along the way.  

Ramapo Mountain Yellow and Cannonball Trail — Bergen County, NJ

The Ramapo Mountain Yellow and Cannonball Trail is perfect for experienced runners looking to jog around a body of water and through the forests of northern New Jersey. The loop is about 5.5 miles long and is commonly used for running, walking, hiking and nature observation. This charming trail is one of the best running trails in NJ, so expect some traffic on the path.

Ramapo Mountain State Forest

Delaware Raritan Canal Trail — Mercer County, NJ

The Delaware Raritan Canal trail is a favorite among New Jersey runners. Centrally near Princeton, this path runs along a canal that connects the Delaware and Raritan Rivers. The entire length of the trail is 37.8 miles long and does not loop. Perfect for runners of all kinds, this trail offers picturesque views of the Garden State’s wildflowers and rivers. 

Overpeck County Park River Loop — Bergen County, NJ

This beloved running loop in northern New Jersey is two miles long and is ideal for running beginners, but also great for people of all skill levels. Locals often use the trail for walking, running, and fishing. 

Delaware Raritan Canal towpath

Monument Trail Loop — Sussex County, NJ 

Located in High Point State Park in Wantage, New Jersey, this 3.5-mile loop is a favorite among local runners. The trail is commonly used for running, hiking, and walking around the lake at the center of the park. It’s an enchanting, woodsy area to go on a morning jog. 

Columbia Trail — Hunterdon County, NJ

This New Jersey running trail ventures from Hunterdon County to Morris County, passing through forests, farms, and neighborhoods. To run the entire Columbia Trail from High Bridge to Bartley and back is approximately 30.2 miles long. However, runners can gauge how long they want to run and turn back around when they see fit. 

Sandy Hook Trail — Monmouth County, NJ

Looking for a beachy run? Then check out Sandy Hook’s 9.4-mile point-to-point, multi-use nature trail. Popular among tourists and locals, this path is located right on the coast of Sandy Hook and is used for a multitude of activities. Enjoy the beautiful wildflowers, coastal views, and salty air while going for a jog on this New Jersey running trail.


Jockey Hollow Cluster — Morris County, NJ 

Run through the U.S.’s first national historical park in Jockey Hollow where George Washington spent two winters during the Revolutionary War. The Jockey Hollow cluster features a number of walking, running and hiking trails for guests to explore. The grand loop is 7.4 miles long with some elevation and hills. However, runners can make their trip shorter by following the smaller marked trails throughout the park. To plan ahead, map out your run on Jockey Hollow’s website

Stephen R. Gregg Park Loop — Hudson County, NJ

Stephen R. Gregg Park can be found right on the Bayonne waterfront, along the North Reach Newark Bay. This 2.3-mile loop attracts many runners for morning and afternoon jogs. The trail is used for walking, running, and biking. Perfect for runners of all skill levels, this trail is a northern New Jersey favorite. 

Cattus Island County Park — Ocean County, NJ

Enjoy one of the several running trails located in Cattus Island County Park. The park has up to seven miles worth of trails. Two of the most popular running and walking paths include the Cattus Island Butterfly Bogs Trail and Cattus Island Red and Yellow Trail Loop. Both paths are approximately 2.5 miles long and feature gorgeous coastal nature views. Check out their website to plan your run on one of these trails. 

Cattus Island, Ocean County Park, New Jersey

Parvin State Park — Salem County, NJ 

Adventure into the Pine Barrens for some of the best running trails in NJ at Parvin State Park in Pittsgrove, NJ. This haven for wildlife is home to a number of hiking and running trails for visitors to explore. Some trails include the Parvin Lake Long Trail Loop, Thundergust Lake Loop, and the Knoll Loop and Long Trail. These trails all vary in length, so map out your run via the Parvin State Park website before arriving. 

Ocean County Park Trail — Ocean County, NJ 

Located in Lakewood, New Jersey, this running trail is a three-mile loop. Ocean County Park was actually once owned by the Rockefeller family and is now run by the Ocean County Natural Trust Fund. Runners come from near and far to jog along this popular path and enjoy the beautiful land, history, and wildlife. 

Manasquan Reservoir Loop — Monmouth County, NJ

The Manasquan Reservoir Loop is a five-mile trail near Howell, New Jersey. Spend your morning or afternoon running around the scenic lake and taking in the fresh air of the park. This trail is perfect for runners of all skill levels. 

Manasquan Reservoir

Washington Crossing State Park — Mercer County, NJ

This hiking and running trail can be found in Hopewell, New Jersey. A U.S. historical landmark, Washington Crossing State Park is where George Washington and his troops crossed the Delaware River in 1776. Runners can jog along one of the many trails throughout the park and enjoy the forest, river, and history of the area.  

Enjoyed our list of the best running trails in NJ? Then check out our guide to local hiking trails with waterfalls.

Cover photo by Achim Bongard 

About the Author/s

Website | All posts

Meg is studying magazine journalism and civic engagement at Syracuse University with a passion for writing and editing. She is a Jersey girl at heart and has a slight obsession with Chai Tea Lattes.

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1 comment

James Wheeler May 23, 2022 - 10:19 am

You probably know about this but maybe for another list: The Ken Lockwood Gorge Wildlife path along the Raritan river. It was a well maintained path for a beautiful morning run. About 5 miles total end to end with only a rocky patch in the middle that requires walking.


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