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New Jersey Fall Foliage: A Road Trip Guide

The East Coast is one of the best places to view fall leaves, and New Jersey unquestionably displays an abundance of colorful, picture-perfect foliage. From the northern hills to the Jersey Shore, the state has no shortage of sights to see in autumn.

If you start your New Jersey fall trip up north and meander your way to southern New Jersey, you’ll observe the trees changing to a radiant fall fantasy. New Jersey is simply gorgeous during October.

Keep reading to learn all about the best New Jersey fall foliage spots!

new jersey fall foliage

Northern New Jersey Fall Foliage

new jersey fall foliage

Northern New Jersey is the first area of the state to see fall colors. Visitors can see an array of orange, yellow, and red leaves beginning sometimes at the end of September (depending on the weather).

1. Stokes State Forest in Branchville, NJ

Known for its 63 miles of hiking paths leading to popular locations like Sunrise Mountain and the Appalachian trail, Stokes State Forest is a delightful place to enjoy New Jersey fall foliage. Visitors can enjoy hiking, horseback riding, and camping.

Picnicking is also a popular activity in the forest due to the park’s abundance of picnic tables. A group picnic area at Kittle Field can accommodate 120 people. The Stony Lake Picnic area has 45 picnic tables that are available on a first-come, first-serve basis.

Reservations can be made for the picnic areas–this is a lovely spot for fall gatherings and weddings with plenty of picturesque background opportunities.

2. Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area in Hardwick, NJ

The Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area is a 70,000-acre park that spans through New Jersey and Pennsylvania. The park’s breathtaking scenery is even more sensational in fall when autumn leaves appear.

Enter the park from 250-year-old Old Mine Road, which offers all kinds of scenic opportunities to pull over and take fall photos. One of the most beautiful sections to take in New Jersey fall foliage is the northern section of Old Mine Road, between Millbrook Village and the Kittatinny Point Visitor Center.

3. Delaware River Railroad Excursions in Phillipsburg, NJ

One special way to enjoy fall foliage in New Jersey is to take a train ride. The Great Pumpkin Train runs from September 30th to October 29th, allowing riders to fully immerse themselves along the Delaware River during New Jersey’s most beautiful time of the year.

4. High Point State Park in Sussex, NJ

High Point is the highest elevation spot in New Jersey at 1,803 feet above sea level. This mountain offers magnificent views of New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania. As you can imagine, this view is even more breathtaking in the fall.

The park is also home to High Point Monument, a 220-foot tower dedicated to New Jersey’s fallen heroes in all wars. During fall, the Monument Concession Stand offers your favorite autumn fare: cider, donuts, hot chocolate, and soft pretzels.

The mountain’s summit and monument are accessible by car and foot.

5. Ringwood State Park in Ringwood, NJ

Ringwood State Park, home to the New Jersey Botanical Gardens (sometimes called Skylands Botanical Gardens) and Shepherd Lake, provides stunning views in fall.

The New Jersey Botanical Gardens is a beautiful sight in any season. Fall features Harvest Fest, which includes pumpkin painting, applesauce making, hayrides, and more.

Another lovely sight at the park is Ringwood and Skyland Manors–two historical mansions that are alluring when surrounded by New Jersey fall foliage. Ringwood Manor offers guided tours through the first weekend in November every hour from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

The park is a popular location for fall weddings near the manors or on the grounds of the Gardens. It also has several hiking trails for your enjoyment.

6. Abram S. Hewitt State Forest in Hewitt, NJ

Pack your binoculars and head out to Abram S. Hewitt State Forest to view gorgeous fall foliage in New Jersey. The forest is known for its rocky outcrops and upland swamps.

Hemlock and oak trees surround the forest, creating beautiful fall scenery along one of the most popular places to hike: Surprise Lake. Hop on the Bearfort Ridge Spur Trail to visit the lake.

7. Farny State Park in Rockaway, NJ

The mixed oak hardwood forest and watershed lands at Farny State Park make for some of the best sights for fall foliage in New Jersey. A 589-acre nature area is adjacent to Splitrock Reservoir and is a habitat for the endangered red-shouldered hawk and the threatened barred owl.

A popular place to hike, Farny State Park is a great spot to relax in nature.

8. Lake Hopatcong in Landing, NJ

New Jersey’s largest lake, Lake Hopatcong, is one of the best places to view fall foliage in New Jersey. Boat rentals are available or boat owners can dock their boats at the lake’s many marinas.

Private cruises are also available. Take in New Jersey’s fall foliage from the water!

9. Allamuchy Mountain State Park in Allamuchy, NJ

Known for the Musconetcong River that winds through it, Allamuchy Mountain State Park is a popular place to catch trout. The park also has over 14 miles of marked trails surrounded by mixed oak and hardwood forests, creating beautiful New Jersey fall foliage.

Many of the trails provide access to scenic Deer Park Pond, which is centrally located within the park. A rock climbing area is located near Waterloo Village on Waterloo Road. However, rock climbers must sign a waiver before using this area.

10. Jenny Jump State Forest in Hope, NJ

The rolling terrain leads to Jenny Jump Mountain in this state forest. Climb to the the top of the mount to see panoramic views of New Jersey fall foliage from the Highlands and Kittatinny Mountains as well as vibrant perspectives of Great Meadows and the Delaware Water Gap.

11. Pequest Trout Hatchery in Oxford, NJ

A 5,100-acre wildlife management area, Pequest Trout Hatchery is a captivating place to view fall foliage in New Jersey. The area is a popular place to fish in the Pequest River, hunt, hike, and birdwatch.

Wildlife and nature photographers are especially fond of this wildlife management area in autumn.

Central New Jersey Fall Foliage

Princeton Foliage During Pandemic Covid19

Central New Jersey begins to peak in fall colors between mid to late October.

12. Washington Crossing State Park in Titusville, NJ

Washington Crossing State Park is home to hiking paths, historical sites, and a playground along the Delaware River. The park has a variety of trees–the oldest dating back to the late 1800s–that create memorable New Jersey fall foliage views.

The park was named after General George Washington, who made his famous Christmas crossing of the Delaware River at this site in 1776.

Baldpate Mountain is a short 4-mile drive from Washington Crossing State Park. This beautiful fall hike provides gorgeous views of the Delaware River while passing a few old farm buildings.

13. Princeton University in Princeton, NJ

Princeton University exhibits an impressive view during autumn. The campus transforms into yellow, red, and orange foliage, changing every perspective around the university.

Students and visitors especially enjoy snapping photos in front of Nassau Hall at the entrance at FitzRandolph Gate when New Jersey fall foliage is at its peak.

14. Mercer County Park in Princeton Junction, NJ

You can see fall leaves for miles at Mercer County Park. Walk around the park’s 2,500 acres or sit on a bench and appreciate the New Jersey fall foliage. One of the best photo opportunities is around Mercer Lake.

15. Black River & Western Railroad in Flemington, NJ

The Pumpkin Trains at Black River & Western Railroad offer an opportunity to soak in all of Central New Jersey’s fall foliage. Tickets include a round-trip train ride, a corn maze, a kid’s corn box activity, a wagon ride, and music and games. Pumpkins are also available for purchase!

Southern New Jersey Fall Foliage

USA, New Jersey, Wharton State Forest. Lake and forest in autumn. Credit as: Jay O'Brien / Jaynes Gallery /

The southern part of the state is last to show its fall colors. Expect peak foliage to be on display from late October to early November in this part of the state

16. Parvin State Park in Pittsgrove, NJ

The New Jersey fall foliage views around Lake Thundergust and Lake Parvin at Parvin State Park are some of the best in the southern part of the state. Five scenic trails are available from sunrise to sunset. Walk, jog, or bike while taking in the fall scenery.

17. Belleplain State Forest in Woodbine, NJ

Belleplain State Forest is an autumn paradise at the end of October, displaying large sums of New Jersey fall foliage. The forest has over 40 miles of trails designed for hiking, biking, and horseback riding. It’s also a popular location to set up camp/

18. Wharton State Forest in Hammonton, NJ

Wharton State Forest is the largest tract of land in the New Jersey State Park system. It’s also the site of the historical Batsto Village. An overnight stay at one of the forest’s many campsites is recommended to catch as much New Jersey fall foliage as possible.

Wrapping up New Jersey Fall Foliage

Fall foliage in New Jersey is an unforgettable sight. From north to south, New Jersey fall foliage seekers won’t have to look far to find autumn colors to appreciate.

Are you interested in more fall activities in New Jersey? Check out New Jersey’s best pumpkin patches.