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The 14 Best Places to Capture the Leaves Changing in New Jersey

Red, orange, and yellow leaves looking up into overcast sky
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If you’re the adventurous type and love nothing more during this season than capturing the beautiful colors when the leaves are changing, you’ve come to the right place.

Did you know the vibrant colors are due to the breakdown of green chlorophyll, revealing the other pigments in the leaves?

New Jersey is full of parks, forests, and arboretums that might be the perfect place to take pictures of the fall foliage, but we’ve rounded up some of the best locations for you.

From the Pine Barrens to the Skylands, New Jersey offers a unique blend of terrains for capturing fall’s splendor.

Tag your photos with #NJspotsFall when you visit!

With the fall crisp air creeping in, the anticipation of fall colors is at an all-time high for a select few weeks in New Jersey. Below you can see the various times of the year that leaves are generally changing throughout the country and also the state. 

Sometimes the predictions came come early or later depending on temperature, rain, and sunshine. So use this as a guide and we suggest being aware a week or two before and after your region is predicted to pop with color.

When Will Leaves Start to Change Color in New Jersey This Fall:​

Predictions for October 12 from Explore their map here.

  • Northwest New Jersey: Between Sept. 28 and Oct. 5
  • Northeast & Central New Jersey: Between Oct. 5 and Oct. 12
  • Southeast New Jersey & Jersey Shore: Between Oct. 12 and Oct. 19

Hacklebarney State Park — Long Valley

Hacklebarney State Park is known for the Black River that flows through it, and stays cool, no matter what season it is. If you go for a hike, take a minute along the way to appreciate the combination of fall colors in the leaves over the running river.

For more state park spots, check out our map.

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Mount Tammany — Delaware Water Gap

While the hike to this point might be a little tiring, the view is completely worth it. It’s one of the best places to capture the leaves changing on the border of New Jersey and Pennsylvania. Explore our hiking guide, and don’t forget your photography hiking gear!

Duke Farms — Hillsborough

Located in Central Jersey, Duke Farms is full of adventure. With plenty of trees and other greenery ready to switch over to fall colors, this spot is the perfect place for a day trip, no matter what part of New Jersey (or any other part of the world) you come from. Pro-tip: rent a bike or bring your own to get around, this place is HUGE.

Garrett Mountain Reservation — Woodland Park

Garrett Mountain Reservation is a popular spot during all seasons in northern New Jersey — from here, you might catch a glimpse of the New York City skyline if you’re in the right spot. You can catch some of the fall foliage from different lookout points, or by the boat house near a pond that’s perfect for creating that mirror image of fall hues.

Princeton University — Princeton

Whether it’s a rainy fall day or a sunny and crisp fall day, Princeton University is the perfect spot to take pictures of the leaves changing, contrasting with the beautiful architecture on campus.

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Watchung Reservation — Mountainside

This spot is known for its various hiking trails — and they’re full of great spots for capturing the changing leaves. It’s a nice spot to spend the day and have a picnic, and you can even bring your furry friend along too!

Check out our full Watchung Reservation guide for more information, and visit the Deserted Village of Feltville to check out if it’s haunted!

Photo Credit: @iguessitravel

High Point State Park – Sussex

High Point Sate Park is the perfect place to capture the leaves changing with a view! From here, you’ll get a panoramic view of all the hills and valleys of three states.

Learn more in our guide!

South Mountain Reservation — West Orange

With 2,112 acres of land, you will find something for you and your pup! There are various trails, a dog park, picnic areas, and a zoo. It’s a great way to spend the day with family and friends or have a fall photoshoot.

Our guide for South Mountain Reservation has all the information you need to know about this park.

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02/18/2024 03:28 pm GMT

Ringwood State Park — Ringwood

Fall foliage might already coming in nicely at Ringwood State Park! There’s no shortage of picturesque spots at this location. When you visit, be sure to explore the botanical garden and stop by the Shepherd Lake recreation area to take pictures of the different colored leaves in the water for a unique perspective.

Photo Credit: @eraj_americana

Cheesequake State Park — Matawan

Cheesequake State Park is known as a transitional location between urban North Jersey and urban South Jersey. With this wooden trail surrounded by nature, you’re bound to get some good photographs along your hike.

Check out our Cheesequake State Park guide for all the best spots to hit while you’re there!

Ramapo Reservation – Mahwah

The Ramapo Reservation is a beautiful location with five loop trails that offer panoramic views, a pond, and from the peak of one of its trails, you’ll be able to capture all the fall foliage of the park from above.

Wharton State Forest — Hammonton 

Whether you visit this location for hikes or mountain biking, make sure to take a break and enjoy all the changing colors on your journey. They also have wild life observation from bald eagles, and great horned owls to turkeys and foxes scattered throughout the forest.

Photo Credit: @eje0218

Belleplain State Forest — Woodbine

The Belleplain State Forest is mostly known for its wildlife, but don’t let that fool you — it’s a great place to capture some fall foliage while you camp, have a picnic or take a hike here for the day.

Basto Village — Washington

Located in the Wharton Forest, the Basto Village is full of beautiful historic stone architecture, which is the perfect contrast for your fall foliage photos. Spend the day here exploring the grounds and the history behind them. And it might also be haunted, so check that out.

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