Autumn Foliage: Best Places to See Fall Leaves in New Jersey
The brilliant transformation of New Jersey's lush green summer landscape to the vibrant hues of copper, orange and deep crimson happens each fall as the state begins its transition into winter. Fall is a breathtaking time to discover the state's great outdoors, as its palette of colors transforms all of New Jersey, from the Shore to the great Highlands.
Foliage conditions can vary significantly year-to-year, so get the most up-to-date information with foliage reports from the Foliage Network. You may also want to check out one of the many special events that are held during the fall.
LATE SEPTEMBER/EARLY OCTOBER
Mountain Tour (map): Travel to Stokes State Forest in Branchville, brimming with hiking paths, scenic overlooks and picnic facilities. Nearby is the 70,000-acre Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area, one of the most beautiful locations in New Jersey. Enjoy boating along the majestic Delaware River, flowing between New Jersey and Pennsylvania. Hike through autumn's fiery colors, or continue on to High Point Golf Club in Montague for a round of golf on the verdant course surrounded by lush trees.
For those looking to explore some trails, High Point State Park in Sussex, home to the highest elevation in New Jersey (1,803 feet), offers dramatic views, as well as hiking and biking paths. On a clear autumn day, you can see 80 miles of spectacular fall colors. Spend the night at nearby High Point Country Inn in Wantage, touting seven scenic acres of grounds in a country setting, or continue on to Hamburg to stay in the luxurious Crystal Springs Resort and to visit Cava Winery & Vineyard, the perfect place to have lunch and sip a glass of wine while enjoying sweeping views of vineyards.
Next stop is Franklin and the Franklin Mineral Museum, where minerals from New Jersey and around the world are displayed. After Franklin, head south through Ogdensburg and tour the underground mines and historic buildings at Sterling Hill Mining Museum. Continue on to Sparta, which abounds with mountain lakes and picture-perfect vistas. From Sparta return to Newton.
Woodlands Tour (map): Begin in Riverdale and travel through Wanaque and Midvale, past the commanding Wanaque Reservoir. Continue to Ringwood, full of numerous stops to hold your interest. Ringwood State Park, which includes Norvin Green Forest and Shepherd Lake, is a spectacular sight in the fall. Walk the hiking and nature trails, rent a canoe or just sit and enjoy the scenery. Tour Ringwood Manor, a 51-room mansion with period furniture that was home to early ironmasters in the 1700s. The New Jersey Botanical Gardens is in full bloom at Skylands Manor, brimming with 90 acres of gardens and natural areas.
Continue past Hewitt, the site of several natural points of interest, including Greenwood Lake, Wanaque Wildlife Management Area and Abram S. Hewitt State Forest. There, visitors can hike, picnic or pack their binoculars for bird watching. Next, travel to Newfoundland, where the hills will be awash in autumn splendor. Echo Lake Stables offers guided horseback rides along wooded trails flanked by dazzling red and gold foliage. Continue on to Rockaway’s Farny State Park for a hike beneath canopies of oak trees. From there return to Riverdale.
Historic Tour (map): This varied tour will take you through New Jersey's beautiful copper-covered scenery, as well as to historic sites and a castle with a theater. Begin your trip in Netcong, near New Jersey's largest lake, Lake Hopatcong, to view the magnificent foliage. Nearby is Waterloo Village in Stanhope, a restored 19th-century village featuring unique shops, historic tours and festivals. Travel to Andover and enjoy the beautiful fall scenery in Allamuchy Mountain State Park. Stop and walk the park's hiking trails, or enjoy a family picnic. The park is also a great place to camp and fish.
From Allamuchy, visit the village of Hope, replete with its array of preserved historic buildings. The 18th-century Moravian village offers walking tours of the church, gristmill and cemetery. Nearby is scenic Jenny Jump State Forest, with more hiking, camping and picnic facilities. From Hope head into Hackettstown to tour the Pequest Trout Hatchery and Natural Resource Center. Learn about the nurturing of New Jersey trout and the importance of protecting our natural resources. After the hatchery travelback to Netcong.
Colonial Tour (map): Begin in Titusville at Washington Crossing State Park, where Gen. George Washington made his famous Christmas Day crossing of the Delaware River in 1776. The park brims with bridle paths, hiking and nature trails, a nature center and playground, all dotted along the Delaware River. From Titusville head east to Pennington, a quaint town with lovely shops. Take Rt. 31 North past several scenic wildlife management areas to Ringoes, where the Black River and Western Railroad offers a scenic train ride. While you're there, sip and sample wines while taking in the charming views of vineyards and farmland at Old York Cellars Winery or Unionville Vineyards. From Ringoes, go through Sergeantsville and drive on the state's oldest covered bridge, the Green Sergeants Bridge.
Next visit Stockton, a lovely historic town with fine restaurants and antique shops. Here, the Bull's Island section of the Delaware and Raritan Canal State Park offers fishing, canoeing, boating, hiking and nature trails. Then, head south and follow along the scenic Delaware River through Lambertville. Stop here to enjoy the many antique shops, flea markets, art galleries and fine restaurants. From Lambertville, travel south back to Titusville.
LATE OCTOBER/EARLY NOVEMBER
Pinelands Tour (map): Begin at Red Lion Circle (intersection of Rts. 206 & 70) and travel south through Atsion to Atsion Recreation Area, great for boating, camping, fishing and swimming. Near Hammonton, head east to Wharton State Forest, the largest in the state. Wharton is the ideal place for boating, canoeing, fishing, hiking, nature walks, hunting, camping and horseback riding. The foliage is breathtaking!
Continue on to Batsto Village, a historic iron-making town that was a principal source of ammunition for the Continental Army, and be sure not to miss the very popular Batsto Mansion. The town continued to be a major iron producer until the late 1800s. Today, many of the buildings have been preserved and modern craftspeople still ply their trades. Head to Green Bank, and along Rt. 563 N., you'll find numerous places to rent canoes. Continue through Speedwell to Chatsworth, a historic cranberry town. The annual Chatsworth Cranberry Festival in October features tours of the bogs and cranberry harvests, plus entertainment and regional crafts. From Chatsworth head back to the starting point at the Red Lion Circle.
Farmlands Tour (map): The Farmlands tour begins in Buena Vista. From there, head southeast through Estell Manor to Tuckahoe, and then through the beautiful Belleplain State Forest, where serene Lake Nummy captures reflections of the surrounding oak, cranberry, red maple and gum trees bursting into an array of brilliant colors. Nearby is Mauricetown, a historic sea captain's village that is popular for its many antique shops. Then head north to Millville, site of Wheaton Arts and Cultural Center, a historic attraction that showcases New Jersey's glass making heritage. The Museum of American Glass is the largest glass museum in the country. And the village also features demonstrations, crafts, shops and special events.
From Millville, head north and visit nearby Bridgeton, the site of the state's largest historic district with more than 2,000 preserved Victorian, Colonial and Federalists buildings, a zoo and a Swedish farmstead. Guided tours are available. Travel through Centerton and Olivet to nearby Elmer, the site of picturesque Parvin State Park, where you can walk along the shoreline of Parvin Lake and take in sprawling views of the surrounding red and orange trees. Nearby, the Appel Farm Arts and Music Center features year-round concerts and theatrical performances. From there return to Buena Vista.