With the sound of rustling leaves, the aroma of grass, and the warmth of sunshine peeking through the trees, there’s just one thing that makes hiking even better––bringing along your furry companion. Unfortunately, some trails’ rocky cliffs and steep paths are unsafe for dogs. However, the guilt of leaving them behind rivals any treacherous passageway. Luckily, these 10 dog-friendly hikes in New Jersey offer flatter routes that both you and your pet can enjoy. From state parks to reservoirs, these trails are perfect for adventurers and dog lovers alike.
Ramapo Mountain State Forest – Passaic County, NJ
Hiking isn’t just about exercise. As many explorers will tell you, it’s also about reconnecting with nature. Ramapo Mountain State Forest’s trails provide all kinds of scenery for you and your dog to interact with. Scale through the wooded paths to a beautiful open lake where owners can fish while their pets splash around the shore. Or, if you’re hoping for an easier trail, pad across the flatter, more established paths near the parking lot for views of another glistening body of water.
Because of Ramapo’s more manageable trails and stunning views, the area is more heavily trafficked. And, as a popular destination for dog walkers, your pet is certain to leave with some new friendships. Between the well-marked paths and lush surroundings, there’s plenty to see–and sniff–at this destination.
Manasquan Reservoir – Monmouth County, NJ
Manasquan Reservoir is more than just a water source for New Jersey. Continuing to enrich surrounding communities, this area also includes a 1,200-acre park for adventurers and dogs to roam. With panoramic views of the reservoir, it’s easy to get lost in the sights and sounds.
To view the reservoir from all sides, hikers and their pets can take on the park’s five-mile perimeter trail. However, for those interested in a more scenic nature route, the one-mile nature trail runs through woods and wetlands. Experience the lakeshore’s pedestrian path or challenge your team with the perimeter hike. Whichever you choose, your dog is sure to thank you.
Hacklebarney State Park – Morris County, NJ
Sometimes, one hiking trail just isn’t enough. Luckily, at Hacklebarney State Park, nine hiking trails await you and your dog’s nature adventure. And, in terms of natural sights, this area checks plenty of boxes. Waterfalls, hardwood forests, wild trout streams, and paths through both upland and wetland areas encompass much of the state park. For the best views of the Black River or for picnic sites among the scenery, Hacklebarney is worth a visit.
For you and your dog, the two-mile loop trail is the perfect route. With well-defined flat paths, dogs can enjoy all the surrounding nature of the park without strain. And, if you need a place to rest, park benches and eating areas are strewn throughout the trails.
Blueberry Hill––Camden County, NJ
Hiking isn’t just reserved for nature lovers. Many trails, including one at Blueberry Hill, also lead to remarkable historical sites. Through one of the several trails offered at this destination, you may stumble upon an abandoned radar defense system for Philadelphia, originally used for the Nike Missile Defense System in the 1950s. While your dog may see it as simply one large fire hydrant, it’s a fascinating sight.
The most heavily trafficked hiking trail at Blueberry Hill, the Red Trail, is about one and a half miles long. Leading visitors around hills, wetlands, and woodlands, the path runs through multiple habitats. Some parts of this trail are paved, while other parts are dirt and gravel. It’s considered an easy to moderately difficult hike––perfect for challenging you and your dog.
Parvin State Park – Salem County, NJ
Parvin State Park wasn’t always known for its hiking trails and natural scenery. In fact, its history is almost as rich as its Pine Barrens. From 1933 to 1941, the park served as a summer camp for displaced Japanese Americans. After that, it became a prisoner-of-war camp for German prisoners in the 1940s. Explorers have even found remains of ancient Native American encampments from temporary and permanent settlements.
Today, however, it offers locals and tourists a guide through New Jersey’s Cedar Swamps, Pine Barrens, woodlands, and lakes. With 15 miles of trails for biking or hiking with your pet, this historical destination hosts the state-threatened barrel owl and endangered swamp pink– a stunning flower species. Explore its scenic trails or recline at the many picnic sites for a breath of fresh air.
Estell Manor Park – Atlantic County, NJ
While a challenging hike can be rewarding, nothing beats a relaxing walk through scenic areas of nature. At Estell Manor Park, bring your dog through level hiking trails that stretch through wooden paths and swamps for a feel of various New Jersey habitats.
The park offers a six-and-a-half-mile hike as well as a four-mile trail. There are also two ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) accessible trails that offer wooden paths through the swamp. The packed sand is perfect for both walking or biking through nature. For an easy, peaceful walk with your pet, this park has ideal routes.
Round Valley Reservoir – Hunterdon County, NJ
The Round Valley Reservoir is home to many things, including the deepest lake in New Jersey. Explore the crisp water views of the reservoir and take your dog for a dip along the three trails in Hunterdon County. Nine-mile, one-mile, and half-mile hikes are available, letting you tailor your nature experience to whichever level and length you see fit. With 2,000 acres of land and lush, wooded trails, you and your dog have plenty to experience.
Monroe Township Bike Trail – Gloucester County, NJ
If you’ve ever played Monopoly, you know the importance of the Pennsylvania and Reading railroads. At Monroe Township Bike Trail, land on them yourself! This six-and-a-half-mile trail runs along the former right-of-way for the Pennsylvania-Reading seashore railroad, adding some industrial elements to your otherwise nature-filled hike.
Mostly paved, this route is wheelchair, walking, and biking accessible. Because of its flat stature, your dog can easily prance through the forests from Williamstown to Glassboro. Fairly easy, it’s an excellent day trip to get your steps in.
Mountain Lakes Nature Preserve – Mercer County, NJ
For family walks just outside Princeton, New Jersey, the Mountain Lakes Nature Preserve offers a two-and-a-half-mile loop trail through the Garden State’s woodlands. A wider trail for large groups, this somewhat twisty trail is a moderate mountain climb for daring dog owners and nature lovers alike.
With views of a beautiful lake and several streams, nature is constantly bustling through these park roads. The trials are slightly rocky, so be sure to tread carefully as you continue through the winding loop.
Patriot’s Path – Morris County, NJ
Some places can fill a day, but Patriot’s Path could fill an entire weekend. With roughly 35 miles of terrain for hiking paths, these trails extend over the entire county of Morris from Essex to Warren. For the most daring adventurers, a 90-mile hike from here stretches from East Hanover, which connects with the Lenape Trail in Essex County, to Allamuchy Mountain State Park in Sussex County, and the Village of High Bridge in Hunterdon County.
Hiking trails are coated in crushed stone, gravel, dirt, or paved roads. Most are perfect for biking or dog-walking. Roam past Pocahontas Lake, Jockey Hollow, or through Black River wildlife for all-day or weekend trips.
Feature image by Jamie Street
Been on any of these dog friendly hikes in New Jersey? Let us know in the comments!