A PLAN FOR THE NJ STATE LONG TRAIL
A Hiking Trail and Greenway from High Point to Cape May Point
The NJ State Long Trail is a 383 mile long hiking trail and greenway that will extend from the northern end of the state (High Point, the highest point in New Jersey) to the southern end (Cape May Point, at sea level). It will connect many of the most beautiful areas of the state by providing a trail for hikers and other users of public open space, and a contiguous greenway for the movement of wildlife between these natural areas. The route goes over beautiful hills, through upland forests, across and adjacent to waterways and by farms in the north and through pinelands forests, by cranberry bogs, across and adjacent to fine waterways and by farms in the south. It also goes through the State Capitol of Trenton and several other historic communities. The route is highly representative of New Jersey’s natural environment.
The guidelines for the Hiking Trail are a four-foot-wide hiking trail with seven-foot-high clearance, on natural surfaces. The Appalachian Trail and the Batona Trail are models for the trail. On many public lands, we have deliberately placed the trail on former or existing dirt roads. This is desirable to keep the route on dry land, and also to keep the route open to hikers in lightly-hiked areas. Where we have placed the route on paved roads, we hope that the trail will be moved off-road at some point in the future. (It took 70 years to get the New Jersey portion of the Appalachian Trail all off-road!) This plan is a long term undertaking. In one developed community, we placed the trail on sidewalks. This, hopefully temporary solution, is not a trail on natural surfaces.
The guidelines for the Greenway are a 300’ wide open space corridor for the movement of wildlife. This guideline is sometimes hard to meet. In some instances, we have chosen 50’ or 100’ wide former railroad corridors or existing utility lines, or the Delaware & Raritan Canal as the greenway. The 300’ wide guideline may not be met in some places. However, in the past and in the future, the process of buying contiguous parcels of land in rural areas normally does produce 300’ wide corridors. Nevertheless, we have a temporary fallback position on the greenway: the string-of-pearls approach. Existing parks preserves and Wildlife Management Areas are the pearls. Existing portions of parks and new open space parcels, which are narrower than 300’, are the strings. New parcels for the trail should be as wide as practicable to complete the greenway.
In many cases, these trails and open space areas have been used by the public for a considerable period of time. In other cases, key parcels of land need to be purchased and the trail needs to be moved off public roads, cut, upgraded, marked, and maintained to improve hiker and other open space users’ access. Volunteer groups have played an important role in the construction and maintenance of hiking trails in New Jersey for decades. The many existing groups should be supported by additional volunteers. In some areas new volunteer groups should be organized.
We hope that hiking and enjoying the NJ State Long Trail will become a great experience for many residents of and visitors to New Jersey!
Click the map to expose the interactive controls, or click here to view a full-screen version of this map.
Click on the links below for descriptions of individual sections of the trail
(listed north to south)
Appalachian Trail Section
Wawayanda Trail Section
Highlands Trail Section
Proposed D&R Canal State Park Extension
D&R Canal State Park Section
Assunpink Trail Section
Northern Pinelands Section
Cedar Creek Section
Batona Trail Section
Southern Pinelands Section 1
Southern Pinelands Section 2
Questions about the NJ State Long Trail?
Contact the NJ Sierra Club's Trails Issues Coordinator:
Dave Mattek - (609) 737-1342 email@example.com