New Jersey trails are chock full of old buildings, 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.
And if you dip into the candy stash early and chuck a few fun-size Snickers in your backpack… well, we won’t tell.
Ghost Lake and Shades of Death Road
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 lead to Ghost Lake near Shades of Death Road. Venture around the lake to find the Fairy Cave.
Just don’t pull a “Jenny” and fling yourself off a cliff.
Hibernia Cemetery, Mine “Bat Cave”
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. The bat cave and cemetery are found along the rugged Four Birds Trail 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. There is also a nice viewpoint at the hawk watch.
And for a good article on the area and it’s history, also check out: “Wildcat Ridge” by Robert Koppenhaver.
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 are 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.
Deserted Village of Feltville
Hike Watchung Reservation’s Sierra Trail through the deserted village of Feltville and pass by the Willcocks and Badgley Cemetery, a small family plot.
Stone Living Room
The Stone Living Room is an area in Norvin Green State Forest with furniture made out of very large stones… it’s unknown who created it or how…
Near NJ, just over the border into NY…
Hike in Bear Mountain State Park through the few remains of Doodletown, a small town that existed from the 1700s until the 1960′s.
Also pass by the Herbert Cemetery where the graves date back to the 1800′s.
This route in Harriman State Park passes the Hasenclever Mine and a small cemetery with graves from the 1800s and of Civil War veterans.