New Jersey’s fall foliage offers dazzling arrays of reds, oranges, and yellows throughout its parks and wildlife refuges.
Although Winter is coming, day-trippers and weekend vacationers have a window of opportunity to visit some of the stunningly beautiful places in the Garden State.
We’ve researched NJ websites, spoken to local hiking enthusiasts, and prepared a selection of the 8 best places to visit in New Jersey this season.
Allamuchy Mountain State Park
Located in Stanhope, the park stretches across Allamuchy Township and Byram Township and has more than 14 miles of marked and 20 miles of unmarked trails in the Allamuchy Mountain area. Visitors can hike, bike, or travel by horseback along the winding Musconetcong River and serene Jefferson Lake. There are trails for all skill and stamina levels, ranging from 1.5 to 9 miles. Entry to the park is free.
Monmouth Battlefield State Park
The site where the Continental Army, under the command of Gen. George Washington, fought British troops during the American Revolution attracts history buffs and nature lovers alike. Autumn colors abound as red-tailed hawks and other wildlife can be seen during strolls through this 1,818-acre Manalapan Township park.
Monmouth Battlefield State Park offers 25 miles of farm roads and trails, ranging from half-mile strolls to hilly jaunts of a few miles. Popular foliage walks include the Perrine Hill, as well as the Suffin Farm and Craig Farm loops for relatively easy walks. Entry is free.
Cape May Point State Park
This southern New Jersey seaside park enjoys 235 acres of colorful leaves, wildlife, and relatively easy walking trails. The Cape May Point Trail, for instance, runs 1.8 miles and immerses sightseers in one of the best places to take in the annual bird migration, as well as native hawks and seabirds.
There are also gun battery remnants dating back to World War I and World War II military facilities. Rich in history, foliage, and bird-watching opportunities, Cape May Point State Park continues to provide a wonderful outdoor experience. Park entry is free, but there is a fee to enter the historic lighthouse.
Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area
Straddling the border between New Jersey and Pennsylvania along the Delaware River, this 70,000-acre park is surrounded by the Blue and Kittatinny mountains. Rolling hills, iconic ridges, and lush forests make it a unique location to take in the changing of the leaves.
Visitors can drive along Old Mine Road and take advantage of parking areas. Viewing locations around the Kittatinny Point Visitor Center and Millbrook Village are particularly lovely. Hikers usually gravitate toward Mount Tammany Trail, Buttermilk Falls, and Dingman Falls. Entry is free.
Speedwell Dam, located in the picturesque town of Morristown, New Jersey, is a hidden gem waiting to be explored, especially during the vibrant fall season. As the foliage transforms into a stunning tapestry of reds, oranges, and yellows, this tranquil reservoir becomes an ideal destination for nature enthusiasts.
Sourland Mountain Preserve
Located in Hillsborough Township, this 63,000-acre nature preserve is a veritable playground of rolling hills, various tree species, and popular hiking and biking trails. The picturesque Central New Jersey landscape is known for long stretches of colorful leaves and fields, specifically those along Devil’s Half Acre and Roaring Brook.
Popular foliage trails also include Ridge Trail and Maple Flats. It’s also a popular birding location and a veritable Mecca for photography buffs. Entry and parking are free to the public.
Barnegat Lighthouse State Park
Visiting Barnegat Lighthouse State Park during the fall season offers a tranquil and scenic experience. As the temperatures begin to cool and the summer crowds disperse, this New Jersey gem becomes an ideal destination for nature enthusiasts and photographers. The park’s picturesque landscapes, including maritime forests and dunes, come alive with vibrant autumn hues.
The Great Swamp National Wildlife Refuge
Located in Basking Ridge, the wildlife refuge is less than an hour’s drive from New York City. Renowned for its environmental diversity, sightseers can experience meadows, wetlands, and forests thick with hardwoods such as oak and maple.
Comprised of about 12 square miles, visitors enjoy access to the Wildlife Observation Center, Overlook Parking Area, and more than eight miles of trails. Popular foliage trails include Pleasant Plains Road, Wildlife Observation Center Trail, and the Great Swamp Walk.
Parvin State Park
This south-central park is located in Salem County, near Berlin, Bridgeton, Elmer, and Pittsgrove. Along with expansive views of the colorful flora, visitors embrace the gorgeous sunsets of Lake Parvin and Lake Thundergust. The 465-acre park was established in 1931 and currently has upwards of 180 species of birds, including wild turkeys. Visitors can walk its five trails and entrance is free.
Time is running short for New Jersey residents and visitors to experience the foliage and wonderful outdoor experiences New Jersey offers this fall.