Best Hikes in Wawayanda State Park – Including Stairway To Heaven

Viewpoint from Stairway to Heaven Trail

Welcome to Wawayanda State Park. It is ideal for the hiker, camper, swimmer, and boater, as its natural ambiance makes it the best place to spend your time doing your favorite activities.

Wawayanda State Park is a natural park in New Jersey that spans 34,350 acres of land and water. It offers recreational activities like hiking, camping, fishing, swimming, boating, and other fun activities.

The park has 60 miles (97 kilometers) of hiking trails, including a 20 miles (32 kilometers) stretch of the Appalachian Trail. The iconic Appalachian trail is the longest hiking trail in the world and runs between Springer Mountain in Georgia and Mount Katahdin in Maine, passing through 14 states.

Wawayanda State Park presents the best hiking options in North Jersey and many other fun activities, so remember to bring your binoculars and cameras for a thrilling experience. 

Need help choosing a hiking camera? We can help!

The Best Hikes in Wawayanda State Park

Hiking the state parks of North Jersey is so different than the other areas of the state, including Wawayanda State Park. The park has numerous trails that cater to every hiker. The steep mountains challenge the casual and serious hiker, and the top of Wawayanda Mountain offers astonishing views.

The best trails to visit at the park include:

Stairway To Heaven Trail

View from the Top of Stairway To Heaven Trail

This trail takes an average of 1 hour 41 min to complete and is considered a moderately challenging route.

The journey starts with a steep climb along the Appalachian Trail. Numerous sizable boulders are excellent for bouldering on the way up. From the top, you can see the Vernon Valley, Pochuck Mountain, the Kittatinny Mountains, the Catskill Mountains, and the Black Dirt region.

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You will likely encounter other people while exploring because the route is famous for birdwatching, hiking, and running.

Want to see more birds? Check out these birding spots!

Wawayanda Lake Loop

This 10.8-kilometer loop trail in Highland Lakes, New Jersey, takes an average of 2 hours and 21 minutes to complete. It is a popular trail for birding, hiking, and paddle sports and is generally considered a simple route. This trail is best visited between April and October. 

Terrace Pond West Loop

The Terrace Pond West Loop is a popular area for cross-country skiing, hiking, and running, and it takes approximately 1 hour and 51 minutes to complete. It is a 7.7-kilometer loop trail near Hewitt, New Jersey, and is considered a moderately challenging route.

If you like this loop trail, you may also like the loop at Franklin Lakes.

Terrace Pond Loop

This route is a 10.3-kilometer loop trail in West Milford, New Jersey. It takes an average of 2 hours and 26 minutes to complete and is a moderately complex route. It is a popular birding, hiking, and walking trail, and the best months to visit are April through October.

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Wawayanda Jungle Trail

This trail is ideal for hiking and mountain biking and takes approximately 2 hours and 50 minutes to complete. It is a 12.6-kilometer loop trail near Highland Lakes, New Jersey, generally considered an easy route. This trail is best visited between April and November.

Other Outdoor Activities at Wawayanda State Park

The State Park, located in Northern New Jersey, is not only known for its spectacular hiking trails. It also features Barrett Farm’s historic site, bird and wildlife viewing, camping, cartop launch, and other fascinating activities.

During the winter, the park has substantial snow accumulations, making it perfect for ice-fishing, ice-skating, cross-country skiing, snowmobiling, and winter photos.

Want more winter hiking? Check out these spots!

Listed below are some of the incredible experiences you can have at Wawayanda State Park:

Bird and Wildlife Viewing

The state-endangered red-shouldered hawk barred owl, and great blue heron can all be seen at the park’s Bearfort Mountain and Wawayanda Swamp Natural Area. Also, check out other birding spots we have discovered in New Jersey.

Cross-Country Skiing 

Wawayanda State Park, which is 1,140 feet above sea level, receives lots of snowfall during the winter. Cross-country skiing is one of the many wintertime activities allowed on authorized paths and in different parts of the park.

Camping and Playgrounds

Wawayanda State Park is very kid-friendly, providing playground equipment for children.

Four group sites with picnic tables, fire rings, and composting restrooms are also available in the park. These locations require a minimum of seven people and can accommodate up to fifteen. You must bring water from the main office building because it is not supplied at the campgrounds. You can purchase firewood at the park office. Want more camping spots? Check out our helpful map.

Fishing and Hunting 

Wawayanda Lake and the smaller lakes in the park are home to various game fish species, allowing anglers to catch largemouth and smallmouth bass, perch, pickerel, brown and rainbow trout, and the occasional lake trout. Fishing competitions of any size require a Special Use Permit, which is available at the park office.

Hunting is permitted in specified areas of the park. In the appropriate seasons, hunters can employ a bow and arrow, shotgun, or black powder weapons to take down deer, grouse, squirrel, turkey, rabbit, and raccoon.

Wawayanda State Park has so much to offer its visitors, as it caters to everyone with a taste for the outdoors. The natural forest that surrounds it makes it a fascinating adventure for everyone. Visit Wawayanda State Park today, and don’t forget your boots!

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