New Jersey trails are chock full of old building foundations, mines, and cemeteries from abandoned towns of yesteryear, which can make for a spooky time on the trail.
Halloween is also a great time of year to hike as the leaves usually still have some color and the temperature is crisp but not cold.
You may even run into people hiking in costumes, or a jack-o-lantern pumpkin on the trail (this photo was taken on top of Mt. Minsi in 2004).
And if you dip into the candy stash early and chuck a few fun-size Snickers in your backpack… well, we won’t tell.
For some group hikes happening in October 2012, check the bottom of this page.
How could a hike to Ghost Lake not top our list? And ‘Shades of Death Road’ – awesome.
The story goes something like this… Jenny was a 9-year old girl who lived long ago in a small house under a high cliff. While picking berries one day, a Native American surprised her.
She called out to her father in terror and he yelled back, “Jump, Jenny Jump!” Since she always did what her father told her, she jumped from the cliff… to her death.
Way to go, daddy-o.
No matter what the legends are, Jenny Jump is small pretty park located in Warren County. Trails offer views of the surrounding mountains and valleys, and end at Ghost Lake near Shades of Death Road.
Check out our Jenny Jump hike info over on the Ghost Lake page. Just don’t pull a “Jenny” and fling yourself off a cliff.
Hike to an old cemetery smack-dab in the middle of the woods with headstones dating back to mid 19c.
Pass by a mine shaft made into NJ’s largest bat hibernaculum (unfortunately the majority of the bat population has succumbed to ‘white nose fungus’ in the last few years).
The Four Birds Trail is a rugged trail in the New Jersey Highlands region, in Wildcat Ridge WMA and Farny State Park.
There are multiple trails and parking access points in this area, allowing for short loops or longer, more challenging hikes.
The Pine Barrens and the Jersey Devil
A Halloween list would be remiss without mentioning this, even though most people have heard of the Jersey Devil and how the Pinelands are haunted by it, etc. etc.
But the NJ Pine Barrens is also an interesting place to take a hike. Here are some pinelands hikes to try… and just maybe you’ll spot the Jersey Devil….
- Wells Mills County Park – Penns Hill Trail
- Apple Pie Hill – Wharton State Forest
- Atsion to Quaker Bridge Loop – Wharton State Forest
- Double Trouble State Park – Great name and early 20th century buildings to check out
- Belleplain State Forest – East Creek Trail. Lake Nummy… rhymes with “mummy”…
- Batsto Lake Trail – Wharton State Forest. Pine Barrens and historical village of Batsto.
A few others…
Bear Mountain – West Mountain, The Timp, Doodletown
Hike through the few remains of Doodletown,a small town from the 1700s until the 1960′s. In the Herbert Cemetery, the graves date back to the 1800′s.
- See also “Haunted Hikes Offer Legends and History“
Harriman: Red Cross, Beech, Long Path Loop - The Hasenclever Mine and a small cemetery with graves from the 1800s and of Civil War veterans.
Watchung Reservation – Sierra Trail - Hike through the deserted village of Feltville and the Willcocks and Badgley Cemetery, a small family plot.
Norvin Green, Torne Mountain - The Stone Living Room - An area with chairs and tables made out of very large stones…it’s unknown who created it or how… Accessed by an unmarked path off the Blue trail up Torne Mountain on the way to Osio Rock.
Nature of the Night Halloween Hike – Saturday, 7-9 PM, Families, Fee per family: $15 members/$20 non-members Join this family-friendly and non-scary night hike on the Watershed Reserve to explore the ecology of night and magic of Halloween. Suitable for children 4 – 10 years old. We will finish at a campfire in the woods with refreshments and seasonal stories.
Spooky Swamp Walks – Come in costume or come as you are to this outdoor celebration of all things that go bump in the Great Swamp at night. Little or big, all of the ghosts, ghouls, goblins, and witches who appear will be led on a special night-time tour of the darkest corners, eeriest boardwalks, and blackest recesses of the watershed’s own small corner of Great Swamp.
Family Full Moon Hike – Schiff Nature Preserve – Learn about the animals that travel the Shiff Nature Preserve at night. 6:00pm-8:00pm. $15 per family
OCTOBER 26 & 27
Halloween Night Hike at the Kateri Environmental Center at Collier in Marlboro on Oct. 26 and 27. The 26th annual Story of Irish Jack tells the origins of Halloween, on a trail lit with over 250 jack-o-lanterns. For children ages 5-12 with an adult. Tickets are $15.00 per person, call (732) 946 – 9694 to purchase tickets.
Jersey Devil Bound – Wharton State Forest/Batsto Historic Village. 4:40 pm to 6:30 pm. Jersey Devil/Ghost stories & twillight hike. Fee: Free. 609-567-4559. ADA accessible.
“Jersey Devil Hike“ – Sunday, October 28, 2012 at 9:00 AM by the NJ Conservation Foundation. Gather your courage for an 8-mile hike in Leeds Point, Atlantic County, birth place of the mystical Jersey Devil. $5 fee for adults. Children under 12 are free. Check njconservation.org for info and to register.
Halloween Full Moon Hike – Round Valley Recreation Area – 6 to 7:30 p.m.; pre-registration required. FREE. Round Valley Recreation Area, South Lot (908) 236-6355
Note: Get a rare look at Round Valley after dark and maybe hear an owl or another animal of the night. Hike a short trail under the almost full moon, hear some Round Valley legends, and maybe imagine the spirits of Halloween here.
Jenny Jump Halloween Hike – 10:30 AM to 1:30 PM. New Jersey Young Professionals. Join us as we explore this beautiful park with awesome views of the surrounding hills and the far-away Delaware Water Gap, get a peek of eerie Ghost Lake and step foot on the infamous Shades of Death Rd! Be sure to show your Halloween spirit in costume (as long as you can easily hike in it) to appease the local spirits!
Full Moon Hike – Hunterdon County Division of Parks & Recreation. Monday, October 29, 7:30 to 8:30 PM, Echo Hill playground Ages: 6 through adult, $3 per person Come visit the park in the moonlight! We will listen for any lingering insects, and learn about nocturnal creatures. Get in the Halloween spirit! Be prepared to walk outside for the whole hour. Register online or for more information call the Parks Division at (908) 782-1158.
Full Moon Hike – Tenafly Nature Center. By the light of the full moon, experience a guided 2-hour walk through the Lost Brook Preserve. The hike is approximately 1½ miles and participants will stop for a quiet rest at the crossroads of the Purple and Allison Trail. This tranquil, meditative hike encourages reflection and connection with nature while experiencing the trails in a new way. Recommended for adults.