Snowshoeing can be done almost anywhere. In fact, we started snowshoeing around our property and did that for many years before we ventured onto the trails. We also used them when we forgot to get someone to plow our driveway.
If you are ready for the trails, New Jersey has some fantastic places for snowshoeing. Easy trails without inclines, trails that go near waterfalls, lakes, and streams, trails for wildlife viewing, and strenuous uphill climbs -- you’ll find whatever you are looking for in the Garden State.
Note: If this is your first time taking your snowshoes out on a trail, you’ll want to read our snowshoe tips. And if you need some gear, the TravelAwaits team reviewed the best snowshoes and other products for winter exploration.
1. Stokes State Forest, Frankford Township, Sussex County
Stokes State Forest is our home turf -- we live just a few miles away and have spent plenty of time hiking there in all seasons. (For more on hiking, see our suggestions for the best hiking in the Delaware Water Gap or the best places to hike in New Jersey.) There are numerous trails that we recommend for snowshoeing. And some that we do not.
One of the easiest trails for snowshoeing is the Stony Brook Trail. This 2.8-mile, moderately difficult trail takes you alongside a gurgling small creek with a few small waterfalls. The trail is wide, relatively flat, and not rocky. In addition, you can connect to segments of the Appalachian Trail that are easy for snowshoeing. There are many other trails in Stokes that are easy and flat.
Stay away from the Tower Trail -- the top of the trail is too steep and rocky for snowshoes. Tillman’s Ravine and the Silver Mine Trail are others that you should avoid.
2. High Point State Park, Wantage And Montague Townships, Sussex County
With almost 16,000 acres, High Point State Park has 16 trails of varying difficulty and lengths. Since it is the highest point in New Jersey (1,800 feet at the top), it often has snow when other areas do not.
The park is extremely popular for hikers, snowshoers, and cross-country skiers. It is a very good place for beginners -- just try to stay off the trails with a large number of cross country skiers. If you take one of those trails, you’ll be constantly moving to the side to get out of their way. We like to go on weekdays, as it can get crowded on the weekends.
If you have your own snowshoes, we recommend going on the Monument Trail. Park at the base of the monument itself. The moderate 3.5-mile loop has clearly marked signs and blazes with a slightly elevated terrain. The trail can be rocky at some points. This trail has great views of Kittatinny Ridge and the valley.
3. High Point Cross Country Ski Center, Sussex County
If you just want to try out snowshoeing, the privately-run High Point Cross Country Ski Center is the place to go. It’s located right near High Point State Park. You can purchase a full- or half-day pass to snowshoe on their groomed trails. You can even take a lesson on the weekends. Since they have snowmaking equipment, the trails are always well-groomed and ready for action. There are a lot of cross-country skiers that go here, so find one of the paths that is not inundated by them.
4. Hacklebarney State Park, Morris County
If you don’t mind carrying your snowshoes into the park past a set of stairs before beginning to snowshoe, Hacklebarney State Park has beautiful scenic trails with streams, cascades, and a waterfall. Just under 1,000 acres, the park features wide trails that are partially paved. You’ll have to wait until there is sufficient snow before tackling Hacklebarney. There are benches and picnic tables along the trails. Be careful on the river trail, as it can get rocky.
5. McDade Recreational Trail, New Jersey
The McDade Recreational Trail is a 30-mile trail that runs along the Delaware River. The northern point is near Milford, Pennsylvania, and it extends south to Hialeah, New Jersey. Sections of it are good for snowshoeing and cross-country skiing. The section between the Hialeah and Owens trailheads is flat and good for snowshoeing, though it can have heavy traffic on the weekends. In the summer, there are busses that run along this part of McDade. In the winter, you’ll need to do it as an in-and-out trail or have two cars parked at different spots. There are many other sections of the McDade that are flat and good for snowshoeing.
There are a number of parks on our list for this winter when the snow deepens. The four below have been recommended to us by friends and community groups. Wawayanda State Park is the next on our list as soon as we get enough snow.
6. Wawayanda State Park, Sussex, And Passaic Counties
With nearly 35,000 acres, Wawayanda State Park is a dream for snowshoeing, cross country skiing, and winter hiking. There are 60 miles of trails, including 20 miles of the Appalachian Trail. The 16 marked trails have different difficulty levels and lengths, giving you many choices for a snowshoe adventure. The short and lightly trafficked Porcupine Loop is a moderate trail good for newbies. The park also hosts free hikes and snowshoe clinics. Check out the Facebook page before you go, or plan your trip around one of the snowshoe clinics.
7. Worthington State Forest, Warren County
Worthington State Forest is best for experienced snowshoers. The park covers more than 6,500 acres and has more than 20 trails. The trails tend to be long with steep terrain. Sunfish Pond is a very popular spot. If you are very experienced and adventurous, the Appalachian and Dunnfield Creek Trail Loop is full of beautiful scenery, though the 10-mile loop is very long on snowshoes.
8. Norvin Green State Forest, Passaic County
Norvin Green State Forest is a great place for hiking and has a few trails that are accessible for snowshoeing. Most have elevation changes, so be prepared for uphill and downhill snowshoeing. This park is not so suitable for beginners, though the Macopin Trail is only 1 mile long and is easy. The 2.3-mile Hewitt-Butler Trail has multiple waterfalls and scenic overlooks with an elevation gain of over 500 feet. Parts of it are rocky and steep and only doable for the most experienced snowshoer when there has been a very heavy snowfall.
9. Blueberry Hill Loop, Gibbsboro, Camden County
Down in South Jersey, the Gibbsboro Open Space Trail System is a great place to snowshoe for people new to the sport. The system has a lot of connecting trails and you can do a short segment or follow other trails to make a day of it. The Blueberry Hill Loop clocks in at just under 2 miles and is mainly flat. Since it is paved, you’ll have to make sure there is enough snow cover before trying to snowshoe. There is a set of steps so you’ll need to pop off your snowshoes for a stretch. Some of the other trails at Gibbsboro go uphill and have a view of the Philadelphia skyline
10. Your Own Favorite Park In New Jersey
You don’t have to travel far and wide across the state for the 10th place on our best places to snowshoe list -- any park you are familiar with that has enough snow is our 10th choice for the best places to snowshoe in New Jersey.
One of the things we most enjoy about snowshoeing is to see places that we’ve been to before in a different way. You’ll notice the animal tracks, ice-covered lakes, stillness, and peacefulness. Hear the wind. Ice cracking. It will change how you see your favorite places and give you new ways to be in the woods when you thought hiking season was over. For those of us who are not skiers and ice skaters, it is a great way to be outdoors in the winter. And it’s a sport that you can do at any age.