Written and Documented by Erica Garfinkle
Hometown Hideaways — New Jersey
Hometown Hideaways is a series of blogs featuring top places to hammock around the U.S. Each guide is curated by outdoor enthusiasts who live, work, and play in the region, sharing their insights and experiences on where to hang your hammock and enjoy the great outdoors. Explore your backyard with us, you don’t have to travel far to find adventure.
Round Valley Recreation Area
Brisk blue waters and hike-in campsites attract outdoor hammock enthusiasts to Round Valley Recreation Area. Round Valley is one of the few parks in the New Jersey area that offers wilderness camping. Sights and sounds abound at this recreation area including one of the largest lakes in New Jersey, the Round Valley Reservoir, which covers over 2,000 acres and is stocked with lake trout. There are three marked trails at Round Valley: the Pine Tree Trail, Family Hiking and Biking Trail, and the Cushetunk Trail, which accesses the campsites. Enjoy activities such as hiking, biking, boating, camping, sledding, cross country skiing, and then rest amidst the trees in your ENO hammock. Keep in mind that entrance fees are collected from Memorial Day weekend to Labor Day weekend. Check out this website for more information.
Delaware and Raritan Canal Trail
Central New Jersey
The Delaware and Raritan Canal State Park Trail is the longest multi-use trail in the state of New Jersey and is boasted as the crown jewel of all trails by some locals. This 70-mile stretch of the towpath trail is made of finely crushed stone and brings many biking, hiking, canoeing, fishing, and jogging enthusiasts to the area. It truly offers something for everyone. Nature lovers thoroughly enjoy that the entirety of the trail runs alongside the canal offering wildlife sightings and river views. Hungry hammockers appreciate the periodic town stops to pick up a quick lunch or coffee and perfectly distanced trees to set up a hammock. Families can enjoy a quick bite at one of the many trailside picnic tables. On this trail you pass quaint New Jersey towns and cross 19th century bridges, historical railroad markers, cobblestone spillways, and an early 18th century gristmill near Stockton, NJ. After a long hike or bike ride, set up your ENO hammock at Washington Crossing Historic Park and immerse yourself in the history of the area.
Stokes State Forest
Nestled deep in Sussex County, New Jersey, Stokes State Forest is known for its impressive deciduous forests composed of various oak, hickory, maple, and birch trees — perfect for hammocking! Stokes State Forest draws in hikers, campers, fisherman, boaters, photographers, and hammock enthusiasts. Visitors can enjoy the views of Stokes’ mountain ridges, steep cliffs, and fast moving streams. Stokes also offers 33 miles of marked trails including a 12.5 mile section of the famous Appalachian Trail as it follows the Kittatinny Mountain Ridge. Rent a cozy little cabin or a campsite, set up your hammock, breathe in nature, and picture yourself thru-hiking the Appalachian Trail.
Wharton State Forest
Burlington and Camden County
Found in the heart of the Pinelands lies Wharton State Forest, the largest state forest in NJ. This area of New Jersey is a welcome relief from the hustle and bustle of NYC and the crowded coastal beaches of New Jersey. Unpack your hammock and stay for a few nights at the primitive campsites or rent a furnished cabin. Make sure you have time to check out Batso Village, a natural historical site. Wharton State Forest fulfills outdoor enthusiasts’ dreams with 110 miles of marked hiking trails including a major section of the infamous Batona Trail. Also known for its numerous lakes, ponds, and rivers to canoe and kayak, Wharton State Forest offers something for all levels of outdoor adventure. Don’t forget your binoculars, camera, and hammock to relax and take in the extensive wildlife.
Jenny Jump State Forest
Jenny Jump State Forest packs a punch with its extensive trail system overlooking the Great Valley and Delaware Water Gap. The trail system is filled with glacial erratics, stunning views, and the ominous “Ghost Lake” for boating, fishing, or supernatural lovers. Set up your ENO gear near the United Astronomy Club of New Jerseys’ observatory site and get in some star gazing at one of the few dark sky locations left in the state. Jenny Jump Forest also rents cabins, lean-tos, and primitive camping sites.
Erica Garfinkle is a New Jersey native and an avid outdoor adventurer who enjoys hiking, biking, kayaking, traveling with her partner, and most recently birding in her ENO. Erica is an advocate for making the outdoors accessible for everyone, especially the LGBTQIA+ community.