Marvel at the colorful fall foliage of NJ at these spectacular locations


New Jersey can be known as the Garden State for its bounty of fruits, vegetables and greens. However, don’t forget about the fall foliage. It’s about to dazzle Leaf watchers across the state.

Admire the foliage the way you want. Look around your garden and you will likely see an array of yellow, orange, and red hues. Marvel at the colors as you hike, pick pumpkins or pick apples. Perhaps you will see the leaves of a boat, a bicycle or a horse. Or you will get in your car and take a ride to figure it all out.

Wherever you look at the foliage, know that you don’t have a lot of time. Fall foliage runs from late September to mid-November. (Note that the leaves change earlier in the northern part of the state.) This fall foliage forecast is a tool to keep in your back pocket. But where are the best places to see this spectacular spectacle of fall delights? Here is an overview of the spots to discover.

Delaware Water Gap. Photo courtesy of Getty Images

Delaware Water Gap (Sussex and Warren counties)

The more than 70,000 acre Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area is a beautiful location along the Delaware River that flows between New Jersey and Pennsylvania. It’s also home to Buttermilk Falls and Silver Spray Falls, a spooky ghost town and an abundance of mountainous beauty. Bring your four-legged friend; the trails are suitable for dogs. Plus, enjoy bird watching.

Expected date range for peak foliage: early to mid-October

Address: Type “Kittatinny Point Visitor Center” and the Columbia location is correct. This car park will give you access to the southern end of the breach, which includes Mount Tammany. Buttermilk Falls and Silver Spray Falls can be found at Mountain Road, Layton, NJ 07851.

High Point State Park. Photo by Lawrence Pereira

High Point State Park (Sussex County)

Admire a spectacular panorama of rich agricultural and forest lands, rolling hills and lush valleys. New Jersey’s highest elevation at 1,803 feet, this location offers epic views as well as plenty of biking and hiking trails. If you are looking for an overnight trip, stay at the High Point Country Inn in Wantage. Or head to Hamburg, home to the Crystal Springs Resort.

Expected date range for peak foliage: early to mid-October

Address: 1480 State Route 23, Wantage, NJ 07461

Ringwood State Park. Photo courtesy of Getty Images

Ringwood State Park (Passaic County)

Enjoy an array of sights throughout the park including Norvin Green State Forest and Shepherd Lake. Hike the hiking trails and nature trails, rent a canoe or just take in the fall scenery. (Come back in winter for tobogganing.) It’s also home to country mansions and botanical gardens open year-round. The 44-room Skylands Manor was built in the 1920s and blends into the landscape. Ringwood Manor has been the home of the iron masters for almost 200 years. This country house looks like it is part of a painting just like the colors you will see.

Planned date range for peak foliage: early to mid-October

Address: 1304 Sloatsburg Road, Ringwood, NJ 07456

Hopatcong Lake. Photo by YM_T | Flickr

Hopatcong Lake (Morris and Sussex Counties)

New Jersey’s largest lake is more than just a place to take in the state’s fall colors. Rent a boat and set sail on the lake to admire the colors of Morris and Sussex counties. Or try water sports, like wakeboarding, tubing or jet skiing. Lake Hopatcong also offers some of New Jersey’s only lakeside dining options, many of which are accessible by boat. Take your boat straight to a restaurant, dock it, grab a bite to eat and start your next adventure.

Expected date range for peak foliage: early to mid-October

Address: 260 Lakeside Blvd., Landing, NJ 07850

Cold October skies

Wharton State Forest. Photo by wrizzo64 | Flickr

Wharton State Forest (Atlantic, Burlington and Camden counties)

Explore the New Jersey Pinelands in the Wharton State Forest, the largest expanse of land in the New Jersey State Park system. Wharton offers rivers and streams for canoeing, hiking trails, and unpaved roads for mountain biking and horseback riding. Admire the fall colors that surround you while observing the wildlife in the lakes, ponds and fields. It is also home to Batsto Village, a former industrial center of iron and glass making from the peat bogs.

Expected date range for peak foliage: mid to late October

Address: 31 Batsto Road, Hammonton, NJ 08037

Inter-state park of palisades. Photo by Mario Burger

Palisades Interstate Park (Bergen County)

This 12 mile long, half a mile wide park is located along the eastern edge of the state on the Hudson River. Take in the fall colors in the park, which has 30 miles of hiking trails, clifftop lookouts, and a scenic riverside walk. Consider hiking the Long Path. It starts at State Line Lookout then passes through the park and has views of the Hudson River, making it an ideal fall hike. Pack a picnic and dine at one of four great picnic areas: Alpine Picnic Area, Englewood Picnic Area, Ross Dock Picnic Area, and Undercliff Picnic Area. (A limited number of grills are provided in these picnic areas.)

Expected date range for peak foliage: mid-October

Address: Type in “State Line Lookout” and the Alpine location is where you need to go.

The Last Days of Autumn by Lanis Rossi on 500px.com

Parvin State Park. Photo by Lanis Rossi

Parvin State Park (Salem County)

This hidden gem is located just outside the Pine Barrens and less than 5 miles from Vineland. It is home to history, plants and animals. The park not only has pine forests typical of the region, but also a swampy deciduous forest. Admire the colors of dogwoods, laurels, holly and magnolias. Get 3 miles of flat, quick, and easy hike on the Lake Parvin Trail, which takes you around Lake Parvin. Take in the scenery as you walk, run or bike the 15-mile trails or canoe or kayak the two lakes.

Expected date range for peak foliage: end of October

Address: 701 Almond Road, Pittsgrove, NJ 08318

Nummy Lake - Woodbine NJ

Nummy / Belleplain lake state forest. Photo by Brian Kushner

Belleplain State Forest (Cape May and Cumberland Counties)

This forest has over 40 miles of trails for hiking, biking and horseback riding. Other activities include hunting, fishing, camping, stargazing, bird watching, and swimming at Nummy Lake. The remarkable trail to immerse yourself in the colors is East Creek Trail. At 7 miles it is mostly flat and starts and ends at Nummy Lake. (Shorten the hike by skipping the Tom Field Trail Loop.)

Expected date range for peak foliage: end of October

Address: 1 Henkinsifkin Road, Woodbine, NJ 08270

Ashroe Lake

Ashroe Lake in the Stokes State Forest. Photo by Jonathan Chu

Stokes State Forest (Sussex County)

At an elevation of over 1,500 feet above sea level, mountain views await at Sunrise Mountain Ridge along the Appalachian Trail. (The Appalachian Trail is one of the longest marked trails in the world, measuring approximately 2,180 miles in length. The trail traverses 14 states from Georgia to Maine.) Enjoy over 63 miles of trails leading up to Sunrise Mountain, which offers a panoramic view, it is one of the most visited sites in the park. Or check out Tillman Ravine. Several trails can be found near the ravine, offering you a view of the waterfalls. (Bonus: most of the trails along the ravine are shaded and you will find two toilets along the trail.) Stokes will also appeal to anglers; fish in some of New Jersey’s best trout streams. You can also go mountain biking, hunting and camping.

Expected date range for peak foliage: early to mid-October

Address: 1 Coursen Road, Branchville, NJ 07826

Delaware and Raritan Canal State Park. Photo courtesy of Delaware and Raritan Canal State Park

Delaware and Raritan Canal State Park (Hunterdon, Mercer and Middlesex counties)

With over 70 miles of trails along a historic canal and additional trails in multiple counties, you’ll have so much to see, experience, and explore here. Pack your hiking boots, grab your mountain bike, or attach this kayak to the car. Get the best views of fall foliage from the 36 mile trail that runs along the water’s edge. (Due to damage from Storm Ida, some sections may be closed for repairs. Click here for the latest updates.)

Expected date range for peak foliage: mid-October to end of October

Address: For parking options, click here.

Cheesequake State Park. Photo by Tove Farbrot

Cheesequake State Park (Middlesex County)

Open fields, salt and freshwater marshes, a white cedar swamp, pine heathlands and a northeastern hardwood forest all offer an explosion of color and awe-inspiring views. This state park is known for its colorful fall views. Recreational activities include camping, swimming, picnics, kayaking trips, and mountain biking. You will find five hiking trails (of easy to moderate difficulty) where you can walk in the fall colors. Or sit by the water’s edge – a prime spot to take in the views.

Expected date range for peak foliage: mid-October to end of October

Address: 300 Gordon Road, Matawan, NJ 07747

Cross Estate Gardens. Photo by David Cherniak

The Cross Estate Gardens (Somerset County)

The Cross Estate Gardens in Bernardsville are part of Morristown National Historic Park. It’s gorgeous here all year round, but it’s especially gorgeous in the fall. Admire the fall colors of silver maples and Chinese redwoods found on the grounds. You can even see an engagement photoshoot while you’re here. You will find a spectacular view of the foliage at the bottom of the garden which stretches as far as the eye can see.

Expected date range for peak foliage: mid-October to late October

Address: 61 Jockey Hollow Road, Bernardsville, NJ 07924

Stacey Feintuch is a freelance writer for print and online publications. She holds a BA in Journalism from George Washington University and an MA in Magazine Journalism from the SI Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University. She grew up in Morris County and currently lives in Bergen County.

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