A hike is a great way to kick off the New Year. There is nothing like fresh air and an invigorating hike on the first day of the year.
It’s also not a bad way to shake off some holiday over-indulgence… although, in our opinion, leftover holiday cookies count as “trail mix”.
For New Year’s Day hike ideas to do on your own, try our Best Hikes in NJ page.
For group hikes check out one of the First Day Hikes that the New Jersey State Park Service are holding across the state on January 1, plus a few more listed below.
And for links to First Day Hikes for each of the 50 states, visit America’s State Parks.
Some New Jersey First Day Hikes include:
- Belleplain State Forest – East Creek Trail Hike – Moderate, 3.5 miles
- Cheesequake State Park – Moderate, ~ 2 miles.
- D&R Canal State Park/Mapleton Preserve, Easy ~ 1.5 miles.
- Forest Resource Education Center – Jackson, Easy~ 1 mile.
- High Point State Park – First Day Challenge hike. Difficult to Strenuous ~ 6 miles.
- Kittatinny Valley State Park – Moderate, 4.5 miles. Cinder rail-trail is easy and level.
- Monmouth Battlefield State Park – Follow the Footsteps of Molly Pitcher. Moderate ~ 2 miles, open fields and hills. With historical interpretation.
- Parvin State Park – Easy, ~ .2 miles. Walk in History.
- Rancocas State Park – Easy to moderate ~ 3 miles.
- Ringwood State Park – Easy to moderate, ~1 or 3 miles, depending on route: Botanical Gardens or wooded areas. Self-guided, family friendly.
- Round Valley Recreation Area – Cushetunk or Water Trail – Easy to moderate ~ 3 miles.
- Spruce Run – Highlands Trail. Difficult ~ 15 miles (ALL DAY event; not for beginners)
- Warren Grove Recreation Area – Little Pine Plains and the Pygmy Pines. Hike. Easy-moderate ~ 5 miles.
- Washington Crossing State Park – Easy to moderate ~ 1.2 miles; interpretive.
- Wharton State Forest – Atsion. Mansion: Moderate pace ~ 6 miles, or Hampton Furnace: Easy-Moderate ~ 5 miles.
- Wharton State Forest – Batsto. Family history walk through Batsto Village. Easy ~ 1.5 miles.
No fees. Pre-registration required on some hikes.
For more hikes, plus time and location info, visit New Jersey First Day Hikes.
Other hikes near New Jersey…
Bowman’s Hill – Delaware Canal State Park – New Hope, PA
Join a state park educator for a 2 – 4 mile hike on easy, level terrain, starting in the lower parking lot of Bowman’s Hill Wildflower Preserve, River Rd. (PA-32), and heading 1 – 2 miles north on the Delaware Canal towpath toward New Hope and back.
All ages and abilities are welcome. Leashed, friendly dogs welcome. Hike at your own pace and turn back when you wish.
Sterling Forest State Park – Mild 4-mile hike around scenic Sterling Lake. Along the way hikers will enjoy historic remaining structures of the iron industry, some predating the revolutionary war.
Wissahickon Creek Gorge – Batona Hiking Club w/ Valley Forge Audubon.
5 miles. Meet at Valley Green Inn at 1:00 PM for our annual New Year’s Day hike through this spectacular gorge.
There are parking lots at the bottom of Wises Mill Road and along Valley Green Road. From here, walk down the hill to Valley Green Inn. This is a combined hike with Valley Forge Audubon.
JANUARY 6 (Sunday)
New Year’s Dog Hike – New Jersey Conservation Foundation
Start the year off on the right foot – and paw – by joining New Jersey Conservation Foundation for its annual New Year’s Hike at the Hill & Dale Preserve in Tewksbury. Led by Project Coordinator Marie Newell, the hike is dog-friendly and will cover about two miles of hilly terrain. Hiking boots or sturdy shoes are recommended, and dogs must be leashed.
Throughout the hike, various dog experts will be available to chat with hikers. A dog trainer will be on hand to share hiking and training tips, author Mary Jasch will talk about her book on places in New Jersey to hike with your dog, and dog-sitter Andraya Simpson of Linus & Clyde LLC will provide advice on dog care.