Stunning oranges, brilliant reds, vibrant coppers and yellows: These are not all the colors you’ll find in a rainbow, they are the colors of breathtaking fall foliage you can witness throughout the state of New Jersey. Timing your visits to witness the peak colors can be tricky, since it doesn’t last too long and varies depending on where you plan to travel. The season generally starts in late September and ends in the beginning of November. Before hitting the road, do a little research to see when the optimum times for viewing are at each locale.
Delaware Water Gap - Hardwick
With 70,000 acres of waterfalls, beaches, low-forest mountains, streams, and valleys, Delaware Water Gap makes for an exciting day trip year-round, but it is especially worthwhile in the fall. Located in Warren County, it borders New Jersey and Pennsylvania, with the Kittatinny Mountain ridge on the Jersey side. On this ridge is Worthington State Forest, with about seven miles of lush trees. The area has majestic overlooks, ravines and glens, copper mines, and a glacial lake. It's also a perfect spot for fishing and camping.
Echo Lake Stables - Newfoundland
Echo Lakes offers a unique way to take in the fall foliage - on horseback. The stables are in Passaic County, and are open daily from 9 p.m. to 5 p.m. except for Wednesdays and Thursdays. Adventurers of all ages can enjoy 90-minute trail rides led by experienced guides that lead riders along historic Native American trails, past mountainsides, peaceful streams, and wooded acres. Trail rides start at $30.
High Point State Park - Sussex
The tallest viewing spot in this park is High Point Monument, which at 1,803 feet above sea level allows people to gaze out over a magnificent panorama of trees and farmlands across three states. You can even see the Delaware River from up here. Aside from mountaintops and forests, there are 50 miles of trails, including part of the Appalachian Trail. There are also campsites and fishing spots in the area’s plentiful lakes and streams. The Friends of High Point State Park offers interesting outdoor fall programs, including cooking, yoga, and free walking meditation.
Ringwood State Park - Ringwood
Ringwood State Park is another natural wonder that is located in Passaic County. In addition to prime leaf panoramas, this park is home to the New Jersey Botanical Garden, a 96-acre elegant specialty garden. It's surrounded by 1000 acres of woods that have miles of trails winding throughout. Visitors can take in incredible views of the Ramapo Mountains, and stop by the historic Skylands Manor building.
Wharton State Forest - Hammonton
The peak fall foliage comes a little later to this part of South Jersey, but it is well worth the wait. At 122,880 acres, Wharton State Forest is the biggest single tract of New Jersey State Park land. There are miles of hiking and nature trails, lakes, fields, campsites, playgrounds, and opportunities for boating, picnicking, fishing, and horseback riding. It is also home to Batsto Village a historic industrial center with a blacksmith shop dating back to 1766. When viewing the colorful leaves, be on the lookout for wildlife like turkeys, river otters, beavers, fox, great blue herons, and even bald eagles.