Given the sheer amount of state forests in New Jersey, it can be tough to find the most fulfilling hike through the woods without hours of researching. Luckily, we took the liberty of doing such research and discovered Norvin Green State Forest, specifically the hike to High Point, which offers 360 degree views of all kinds of stunning New Jersey landscapes. Encompassing over 5,400 acres of land (per the NJ Department of Environmental Protection), the park offers refuge to countless animal species and spans a diverse set of scenery and terrains. The hike we’re about to detail is just one of endless possibilities at Norvin Green.
What to Expect
Beginning from the parking lot near the New Weis Center (directions to follow), Kyle and I set out along the green trail, which mainly took us through a park area but also passed by the Weis Center. We opted not to venture inside, but the Weis Center is a great place to become better educated about the environment. More information can be found here. After traversing a small bridge (right), we beared left and began following the blue/yellow blaze.
Shortly after, we beared right to follow the blue blaze, which led us to the first few viewpoints (these are marked with stars on the park map that is located at the parking lot). Getting to these points is not difficult, as they are found only a few feet off of the main trail. General rule of thumb: any time a large rock borders the trail, climbing on top of it will result in a great view like the one below.
The blue trail continued to climb and present us with sweeping views until it finally joined with the red trail, which led us to the pinnacle of the hike: High Point. Standing on top of this peak gave us some of the best 360 degree views we had ever seen in the Garden State. An enormous reservoir, miles of forrests, a snaking river, distant mountains, and the New York City skyline can all be viewed from this spot. To add to this, hikers can scramble down the rocky outcropping to experiment with different viewpoints. After taking in the view for a bit, Kyle and I hiked down the mountain the same way we came up to complete the approximately 2.5 mile hike.
All in all, the hike took Kyle and I around an hour and a half, including time to take in the views. Chances are that the average hiker would spend a bit longer out on the trails and at the High Point vista, taking closer to 2 hours. The trail did have a few steep sections, and the terrain was generally rugged, so don’t expect a walk in the park (but also don’t expect to be climbing Everest). The trail had a moderate amount of traffic; we passed another hiker probably every 5 minutes or so, and you’ll be joined by several others at the High Point peak. We would recommend bringing some food to the peak and relaxing for awhile.
Take I-287 to exit 55 toward Passaic County 511/Wanaque/Pompton Lakes. Make a quick right onto Ringwood Ave, and follow this road for 4 miles. Then, turn left onto Westbrook Rd, follow it for 2 miles, and turn left again onto Snake Den Rd. After another 1/4 mile, you will need to turn left to stay on Snake Den Rd, which eventually leads to the parking lot.
Parking is found on the right of Snake Den Rd. We went on a relatively warm day, and the lot was full at around 2:00, so plan on getting there earlier in order to secure a parking spot. This is the only lot with immediate access to the trail we took.