Most people who love the snow automatically think of going skiing and snowtubing—but did you know there are many places in NJ to snowshoe? It’s a recreational and athletic activity that’s great for beginners and people of any skill level. Kids can definitely do it, especially since it feels like walking— just a bit heavier. Some people describe it as a moonwalk!

You’ll have to wait until there’s about 6 inches of snow on the ground to get started. Be careful on rocky steps, narrow areas or downhill slopes. And keep in mind, it’s a tad more difficult than traditional hiking, so plan a shorter route when you’re first starting out.

You can rent snowshoes at Big Bear Gear in Lambertville or High Point Cross Country Ski Center in Sussex. Or you can buy gear at L.L. Bean, Ski Barn or Dick’s Sporting Goods if you think this will be your family’s new hobby. Make sure the boots are comfortable and easy to put on (especially with gloves on) and that the straps stay tight.

Let it snow!

Allamuchy Mountain State Park
Waterloo Road, Stanhope
There are more than 14 miles of marked trails available for hiking, mountain biking and horseback riding in the Allamuchy Natural Area and more than 20 miles of unmarked trails in the northern section of Allamuchy Mountain State Park. A 3-mile section of the Sussex Branch Trail starts at Waterloo Road and goes northwest to Cranberry Lake. Using an old railroad bed, this trail provides easy access from Waterloo Road through Kittatinny Valley State Park to Branchville.

Blueberry Hill Loop
This 1.8-mile loop trail is considered a moderately challenging route, and takes an average of 36 minutes to complete on foot, so it could take significantly longer in the snow. This is a very popular area for birding, snowshoeing and running, so you’ll likely encounter other people while exploring. The trail is open year-round.

Cheesequake State Park
300 Gordon Rd., Matawan (Old Bridge)
Because of its location in Central Jersey, Cheesequake is the only park where the northern hardwood forest meets a southern pine barrens ecosystem at sea level – that means if you’re snowshoeing along, you’ll see the diversity of native flora and fauna in its natural environment. This is a smaller area with just 9 miles of trails, but there is plenty to take in as you hike around the paths. The Green Trail would be the best to start out with your family.

Garret Mountain Reservation
8 Mountain Ave., Woodland Park
The Yellow and White Loop Trail is less than 3 miles, and takes about 75 minutes to complete on foot so allot some extra time for your trek in the snow.

Hacklebarney State Park
119 Hacklebarney Rd., Long Valley
In the 19th century, this area was an iron ore mine site! There are lots of beautiful trails that have overlooks of waterfalls – but those are not great for snoeshowing. Stay on the flat ground, especially near the lake.

High Point State Park
1480 Route 23, Wantage
High Point is appropriately named because the summit of the Kittatinny Ridge rises 1,803 feet above sea level, the highest elevation in the State of New Jersey. Hiking, camping, swimming, picnicking, sightseeing, snowshoeing and skiing are very popular. It’s probably best to stay away from any cross-country route or where the trails are overcrowded (especially on weekends).  Monument Trail offers beautiful views of the valley, but watch out for some of the rockier sections.

Jenny Jump State Forest
330 State Park Rd., Hope
Jenny Jump State Forest stretches between the four Warren County townships of Frelinghuysen, Hope, Liberty and Independence, some 12 miles southeast of the Delaware Water Gap. Snow lovers will be interested to learn that rocky outcroppings and boulders that line the trail are evidence that great glaciers once covered the area! There are lots of trails with ups and downs that you can try out.

Lawrence Hopewell Trail
Lawrence Twp. and Hopewell Twp.
The LHT is sub-divided into 16 segments which vary in length from a half-mile to 3 miles. There are a few short connector trails to other communities and trail systems, with more being planned. A short trail leads from the LHT to Pennington. Princeton also has a trail network that currently leads close to the LHT. At the Brearley House, a short connector trail leads to the D&R Canal, a 70-mile pathway along the Delaware River and canal system through Hunterdon, Mercer and Somerset counties.

Lewis Morris Park
270 Mendham Rd., Morristown
There are 2,196 acres with 22.1 miles of trails that attract people who enjoy sledding, snowshoeing and cross-country skiing. As you go through you’ll see many beautiful vistas of both open fields and wooded areas.

Mahlon Dickerson Reservation
955 Weldon Rd., Jefferson Twp.
This is the largest park in the Morris County Park System, with almost 3,500 acres of beautiful near-wilderness and recreational areas. The Reservation is the park to visit with over 24.5 miles of multi-use trails for novice and experienced skill levels. Horseback riding, seasonal camping, cross-country skiing and snowshoeing are popular seasonal activities.

McDade Recreational Trail
Along the Delaware Water Gap, East Stroudsburg, PA
From Hialeah to Owens trailheads, the trail is mostly flat, but rises in elevation as it traverses former settlements and farms so make sure to turn around before you get caught in the snow. Another good area is north of Bushkill Access; the trail follows a narrow ribbon of land between Route 209 and the river and then continues nearly level through agricultural fields and forests to Schneider Farm.

Morristown National Historic Park
30 Washington Pl., Morristown
The park contains roughly 27 miles of designated, marked hiking trails. The 2.25-mile Yellow Trail connects key historic sites throughout Jockey Hollow. The White Trail/Grand Loop Trail is the longest trail in Jockey Hollow at 6.5 miles in total. Other hiking trails include the Blue Trail, 3 miles roundtrip, that has the best view from on top of Mt. Kemble.

Norvin Green State Forest
150 Snake Den Rd., Ringwood
Part of the Wyanokie Wilderness Area, the forest is near Wanaque Reservoir and is home to an extensive trail system built from old logging roads. The Macopin Trail is 1 mile long and an easier path compared to the other areas which have varied elevation. Unless you are prepared to snowshoe up and down (elevations range from 400 to 1,300 feet), stay away from the more challenging trails. The Hewitt-Butler Trail is a great workout with beautiful views, but make sure you print out an offline map in advance.

Paulinskill Valley Trail
Brugler Road, Sparta and Knowlton twps.
The Paulinskill Valley Trail follows a creek by the same name through a section of rural NJ with a strong German influence. There’s a chance you will see bear, bobcat, mink and deer along the path! The trails, part of the linear Kittatinny Valley State Park, are generally very straight and flat.

Rancocas State Park
Powhatan Indian Reservation Drive, Hainesport
The northern loop is an outer loop where you can start, among the 14 official trails within the park totaling more than 13 miles. The trails are clustered in two areas: within the forest and meadows near Rancocas Nature Center, and in the forested uplands between the north and south branches of Rancocas Creek.

Rifle Camp Park
387 Rifle Camp Rd., Woodland Park (and Clifton)
This once served as a location for General George Washington’s troops to observe British movements, so you will be snowshoeing along historic roots!

Roosevelt Park
151 Parsonage Rd., Edison
Roosevelt Park is the oldest park in the Middlesex County Park System, dating back to 1917. Set in the midst of a highly developed area, park visitors can enjoy 196 acres centered around the beautiful Roosevelt Park Lake. Make your way along the pathway around the lake for the most beautiful views.

Stokes State Forest
1 Coursen Rd., Branchville
With more than 63 miles of trails leading to locations like Sunrise Mountain, the Appalachian Trail, Tillman’s Ravine and Stepping Stones Falls, there is plenty of natural beauty to explore. The best areas for snowshoeing are the Stony Brook Trail or Appalachian Trail because they are relatively flat.

Thompson Park
805 Newman Springs Rd., Lincroft
Mrs. Thompson’s beloved “Brookdale Farm” was a premier thoroughbred race horse breeding/training facility. Today, old farm roads and a former horse exercise track are popular routes for walkers and runners. There is also a 4.9-mile paved trail.

Thompson Park
Perrineville Road, Monroe Twp. and Jamesburg
The 675-acre park is the largest developed park in the Middlesex County Park System. The site features Manalapan Lake, basketball courts, playgrounds and even an area with fenced-in farm and exotic animals. There are plenty of trails to walk around on generally flat land.

Wawayanda State Park
885 Warwick Turnpike, Hewitt
The quiet charm of Wawayanda appeals to hikers, campers, swimmers and boaters. The steep mountains challenge casual as well as serious hikers, so stay off those areas with your snow shoes. A 20-mile stretch of the Appalachian Trail runs through the park, while the top of Wawayanda Mountain offers unbelievable views. More than 40 miles of trails are marked in the park – check out Porcupine Loop if you are a beginner.

Worthington State Forest
2 Old Mine Rd., Columbia
Experienced hikers enjoy the more rugged terrain of 22 miles of trails. You will find various natural wonders, including Sunfish Pond, considered one of NJ’s Seven Natural Wonders. This may not be the best spot to bring the kids or beginners for snowshoeing – but make sure to visit this park during warmer weather, too.

State parks are still offering free admission.

There are lots of great spots to ski in NJ, too!

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