New Jersey's abandoned railroad lines and historic canal paths make excellent family biking trails as they are virtually flat with mostly cinder and some paved surfaces. See listings under Hiking and More for more family biking, hiking, or strolling trails. Search TrailLink, a service provided by Rails-to-Trails Conservancy, for detailed information, access points, locations and reviews of rail-trails in New Jersey and throughout the country.
bicycle & pedestrian maps
Members of JORBA (Jersey Off Road Bicycle Association), a non-profit organization working to build and maintain sustainable multi-use trails, have created many bike trail maps for parks throughout New Jersey. Find them under "Our Parks-Directory" online.
The New Jersey Department of Transportation (NJDOT) publishes twenty-seven bicycle tour guides including a 238-mile route from High Point to Cape May. The pocket-size tour guides have been reprinted in color and contain directions and information about parking, food and other local amenities. Guides include the Great Swamp, Columbia Trail, D&R Canal Towpath, Three Easy Scenic River Rides, Pine Barrens Ramble, Last Covered Bridge and more. You may order copies online or download PDF files online.
Rt. 24, Washington Twp., 973-326-7600. Wide earthen trail on the abandoned Jersey Central Railroad bed spans Morris County and Hunterdon County for 16.2 miles and is ideal for bicycling, hiking, jogging, cross-country skiing and horseback riding. Access the trail in Morris County at West Valley Brook Rd., Rt. 513, Fairview Ave., Naughright Rd., Four Bridges Rd., Bartley Rd. or Schooley's Mountain Rd. in Washington Twp. Access west end of the trail from High Bridge, just past borough hall.
Delaware & Raritan Canal State Park
Park Office: 145 Mapleton Rd., Princeton, 609-924-5705. 44-mile long canal built in the 1830's to carry coal and industrial goods between Philadelphia and New York City was once a busy waterway, now a quiet and beautiful state park. Canoeing, hiking, bicycling, fishing, horseback riding; cross-country skiing in winter. Access canal paths from small parking areas located at most roads that cross the canal (off Rt. 533) between East Millstone and Rocky Hill in Somerset County. Canoe and kayak rental and Mule Tenders Barracks Museum at Griggstown. In Hunterdon County, access the feeder canal that runs between Frenchtown and Trenton along the Delaware River from Prallsville Mill (Rt. 29, Stockton, 609-397-3586, for program info), Bulls Island or Frenchtown, off Bridge St. Campsites available at Bull's Island Recreation Area, 2185 Daniel Bray Hwy, Stockton, 609-397-2949.
Call 609-924-5705 for schedule of seasonal nature and history interpretive hikes, bike tours and programs or visit the Delaware & Raritan Canal website for schedule and information on canoe, kayak or bike rentals, weekend family programs, school outreach and many free scout programs.
JORBA created a trail map for the Six Mile Run Reservoir site. Download online.
Bulls Island Campground, canal path portions and bridges remain closed due to damage from Hurricane Irene. Dredging is slated to begin from Kingston to Amwell Rd. at East Millstone and may take up to two years. Check website for updates and reopening dates.
Tour the Prallville Mills, 1-4pm Thursdays. 609-397-3586 for information.
Lehigh Gorge Rail Trail
White Haven, PA (I-80 exit 273). The trail, rated one of the best rides in the country by Outside Magazine, follows over 20 miles of abandoned railroad grade combining gentle bicycling and hiking with beautiful scenery along the Lehigh River and through a deep, steep-walled gorge. The river is also a popular spot for whitewater rafting, kayaking and canoeing. Parking areas are provided in White Haven, Rockport and Glen Onoko. Bicycle rentals and shuttle service are available throughout the area (Pocono Biking, 570-325-3655). For more info about the trail and the Delaware & Lehigh National Heritage Corridor, visit website. For maps and info about trails throughout Pennsylvania, visit Explore PA Trails. State Park information is available online.
Mountain Creek Bike Park
200 Vernon McAfee Rd., Vernon, NJ 07462, 973-827-2000. Open May-Nov. Beginner to expert terrain and 10+ miles of cross country. Guided instruction, rentals available.
Map at Morris County Park Commission, 53 E. Hanover Ave., Morristown, 973-326-7600. A developing trail network will link many parks and points of interest in southern Morris County. Currently, there are 20 miles of continuous trails between Speedwell Ave. in Morris Twp. and Rt. 24 in Mendham Twp. with a branch to the New Jersey Brigade Hut site in Bernardsville. Two miles of level, paved path from Lake Rd. to Washington Valley Rd. (with parking at both ends) in Morris Twp. offers excellent family biking, walking and roller blading. The majority of the path is crushed stone/gravel or narrow dirt trails for mountain biking, hiking and horseback riding. The path is well marked and follows corridors of the Whippany and Black Rivers winding thru wetlands and forest with lots of wildlife.
Access the 3.5 mile stretch that runs through the Black River Wildlife Management Area in Chester Twp. from the parking lot on Dover-Chester Rd. or Pleasant Hill Rd.
Sussex Branch/Paulinskill Valley Trail
Kittatinny Valley State Park, Sussex County, 973-786-6445. Abandoned railbeds from the Erie Lackawanna's Sussex branch and NY Susquehanna and Western Railroad provide gentle-grade cinder paths that provide excellent biking for families. The scenery is beautiful and wildlife is abundant along the trail which follows the Paulinskill River and cuts through the Kittatinny Valley.
The 21 mile Sussex Branch Trail begins at Waterloo Rd. (1 mi. west of Rt. 206 in Byram), runs north where it passes through Kittatinny Valley State Park, intersects the Paulinskill Valley Trail at Warbasse Junction, then ends in Branchville. The 26-mile Paulinskill Valley Trail begins in Sparta, heads southwest through Blairstown and ends near the Delaware River at the Columbia Lake Wildlife Management Area.
The multi-use trails are also suited to walking, jogging, horseback riding and cross country skiing. Both trails can be accessed from their beginning and end points and at Warbasse Junction. Other access points for the Paulinskill Valley Trail are: Limecrest Rd. at RR crossing near Eastern Propane in Sparta; Swartswood Lake Rd. (Rt. 622); Paulinskill Lake Rd. (Rt. 614); Stillwater Rd. (Rt. 610); Cedar Ridge-Dixon Rd.; Marksboro Rd. (Rt. 659); and Footbridge Park (off Rt. 94) in Blairstown.