NJ Hiking Books

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We’ve collected all of the books that cover hiking in New Jersey, some that cover nearby areas of NY and PA, plus NJ rail-trails and kayaking.

50 Hikes in New Jersey book cover

50 Hikes in New Jersey

The classic Jersey hiking guide and a great gift for new hikers.

If you are only purchasing one book or want to start with a good sampling of the hiking in New Jersey – this is the book to get.

There are a variety of hikes throughout the entire state, in all lengths and difficulty levels.

Hikes include Jersey classics such as Mt. Tammany, Terrace Pond, and Bearfort Ridge, central and southern NJ favorites like Sourlands, Cheesequake, Wells Mills, and Parvin.

There are detailed color topographic trail maps for each hike, with the route marked in red, are super easy-to-understand. Color photos throughout.

Each trail description includes the distance, approximate hiking time, trail elevation, difficulty rating, corresponding map set, how to get there and, of course, the trail route.

The 2020 edition added three completely new hikes as well as revisions and updates for existing ones.

Updated April 2020 (5th Edition)

AMC Best Day Hikes NJ Cover

Best Day Hikes in New Jersey

Guide focused on the Southern and Central regions of NJ.

If you live in southern NJ you’ll want this as your main guide, and if you’ve done a lot from the 50 Hikes book then get this to fill in some gaps.

This guide leans toward including hikes that don’t usually make it into NJ guide books. It leaves out some key hikes (i.e. Mt. Tammany) that tend to be over represented in hiking books in favor of lesser known trails.

There is more coverage of hikes across southern and central New Jersey than north. In comparing the overview hike map from this to the 50 Hikes book above it’s like they were there trying hard not to overlap.

The book is broken down in regions (Skylands, Gateway…), includes basic route map diagrams, complete hike directions, historical background, and some color photos.

Published February 2019. 

Hiking New Jersey book cover

Hiking New Jersey

Excellent trail maps, and clear, well-organized directions.

Great overall guide but be mindful that some route details could be out of date at this point.

Nice mix of trails all over the state. Maps for each hike are very well done, and directions for the hike are broken down by mileage in the left column… super easy to follow along.

Also gives difficulty rating, trail surface, “canine compatibility”, relevant websites etc. Includes little chunks of history of the hikes.

Published in 2009.

Hike of the Week book cover

Hike of the Week

A year of hikes in the New York Metro area.

This book collects 52 hikes from the Hike of the Week column in Bergen County’s ‘The Record’ newspaper.

Hikes are sorted by season and difficulty level and include a map for each hike. Associated history, geology, and wildlife information is included.

Since the focus is on the NY Metro area, these hikes are concentrated in northern NJ with some in the adjacent NY area and a few further out in areas such as the Catskills.

Average hike length ranges from short 1.5-2 mile hikes to around 8 miles, with a handful of 8+ for avid hikers.

Published in 2013. 

Kittatinny Trails book cover

Kittatinny Trails

This book covers northwest Jersey’s Kittatinny ridge region –  all trails from the Delaware Water Gap to High Point State Park.

Areas covered include Worthington State Forest (Mt. Tammany’s Red Dot and Blue Dot trails, Sunfish Pond, Dunnfield Creek, the Appalachian Trail in NJ etc).

Delaware Water Gap NRA such as Crater Lake and Rattlesnake Swamp. Also: Stokes State Forest and High Point State Forest.

There are detailed trail descriptions, trail maps, photos, elevation profiles, and parking directions.

Published 2005.

New Jersey Walk Book cover

The New Jersey Walk Book

This book covers EVERY trail in NJ. Yes, EVERY park and trail in the state.

While the overall information is still relevant be aware that many trails have been changed or updated since publication.

This guide is broken down by region and then by park/area and then trails. Includes directions to the parks/trails, some facts and history about the parks and trail creation, the trail routes, mileage and blaze color.

There are also trail maps in the back of the book but there are no suggested “loops” – it describes each trail from start to end.

Published 2004.

New Jersey Parks, Forests, and Natural Areas: A Guide

Works as a listing type of guide still but details may be out of date.

This isn’t a trail book with hike descriptions or specific trails listed, but is a good resource for locating parks across the state. You may find ones nearby you didn’t know existed.

The guide is grouped by regions with a basic locator map at the start of each section. There are some photos throughout.

Each brief park entry lists address, park description, hours, fees, location, and allowed activities such as camping, boating, fishing, picnicking etc, as well as how many miles of trails the park contains.

Published 2004.

Hiking the Jersey Highlands book cover

Hiking the Jersey Highlands

This book focuses on the Jersey Highlands region. 

Areas covered include Wildcat Ridge, Hacklebarney, Ringwood, Wawayanda, Norvin Green, Farny State Park, Jenny Jump, Long Pond and more.

It’s broken up by starter hikes, longer/scrambles and challenging hikes and each hike has a trail map diagram. The hikes tend to be on the shorter side (under 6-miles or so).

Published 2007. May not be available.

More great books…

For hikers looking for easy hikes in northeast corner of NJ:
Best Easy Day Hikes New Jersey

For hikers looking for hikes in Hunterdon County:
Hiking Hunterdon County Trails
Hunterdon County & Beyond

For hikers looking for hikes around Princeton:
Walk the Trails in and around Princeton

For hikers closer to NYC, these include hikes in Northern NJ:
60 Hikes Within 60 Miles: New York City
Best Day Hikes Near New York City
Take a Hike New York City

For hikers closer to NY – Harriman State Park (just over the NJ border)
Circuit Hikes in Harriman2020 revised.
Harriman Trails: A Guide and History – 2018 revised.

For hikers closer to Philly, these include hikes in central and southern NJ:
Best Day Hikes Near Philadelphia
60 Hikes Within 60 Miles: Philadelphia

For hikers wanting to explore into Pennsylvania:
Hiking Pennsylvania
Hiking the Poconosmany of these are in the Hiking PA book

For hikers wanting to explore into New York:
50 Hikes in the Lower Hudson Valley

For hikers with kids:
Best Hikes With Children – New Jersey

For hikers with dogs:
Best Hikes with Dogs: New Jersey

For hikers also into biking rail-trails:
Rail-Trails New Jersey & New York (2019) contains many more New Jersey rail-trails than the original version (2011) that covered NJ, NY, and PA .

There’s also a book dedicated to Pennsylvania rail-trails.

For hikers also into kayaking:
Quiet Water New Jersey (2010) (2010). This is the guide we’ve been using for years to kayak in New Jersey.
(Update 6/2020: Available as a Kindle book but the used printed copies sometimes show outrageous prices in the hundreds of dollars…)

AMC’s Quiet Water Mid-Atlantic (2018). Contains 13 of the 52 ones in the NJ only book.

Garden State Canoeing (3rd Edition – 2017)
Paddling the Jersey Pine Barrens (2002)

Be sure to also check out NJ Trail Maps!