Hacklebarney State Park: The Complete Guide

Sunbeams in the Forest
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Hacklebarney State Park

Address
119 Hacklebarney Rd, Long Valley, NJ 07853-3073, USA
Phone +1 908-638-8572

When planning your next trip to New Jersey, be sure to include a visit to the picturesque Hacklebarney State Park. This destination attracts those who love the outdoors and it’s a popular spot with hikers, anglers, birdwatchers, and those who just love to stroll through the scenic wooded trails and admire wildflowers and nature. Hacklebarney State Park is also a great place to visit during the hot and humid summers, as this Black River gorge area maintains a cool temperature, even during the warmest months.

Things to Do

Formerly the site of an active iron ore mine in the 19th century, Hacklebarney State Park today is much more low-key. It is known for its rugged terrain with large grey boulders, as well as the beautiful Black River and streams that wind through the area. During the Great Depression in the 1930s, the Civilian Conservation Corps worked to create trails and entry points through this area so that the public would be able to access this beautiful area. Nowadays, Hacklebarney State Park is a great place for hiking and walking among the 1,000 acres of woodlands, fields, and park area.

You can also spot plenty of wildlife here, such as deer, woodchucks, fox, rabbits, turtles, and more. Fly fishing enthusiasts adore this area, as well. And be prepared to possibly see a black bear! Most interesting, you can also see three rare plants within this park: the American ginseng, leatherwood, and Virginia pennywort. These endangered species are unique to this area.

Best Hikes & Trails

There are several trails in the park with diverse terrain and they are organized by colors, with different loops made up of combinations of trails. Make sure to pick up a map on your way in or have one downloaded on your phone so you can begin your trek with a clear idea of where you need to go. Many of the trails are rugged or include rocky sections, so be sure to wear comfortable shoes that are apt for hiking.

  • The Red, Purple, and White Loop: This short loop trail is only a half-mile so if you're looking for a quick trek, this is the one to choose. It also passes by a scenic waterfall and over a forest bridge that crosses the brook below.
  • The Hacklebarney Loop Trail: On the map, this popular loop is made up of the Red, Dark Blue, and White trails. It's a relaxing 2-mile trail that is considered moderate difficulty. Along this wide and maintained pathway, you will see a small waterfall, trout streams, a lush hemlock forest, and several deep wooded ravines. There is also plenty of seating along the way, in case you wish to stop and have a rest or enjoy the scenery. You can also stop at several lookout points, including the Scenic Overlook with views above the Lamington River. Parts of this trail are very easy, although there is a rocky stretch near the water, so be sure to wear proper footwear. It takes most people about an hour to complete this loop trail.
  • The Red, Yellow, and White Loop: This is a 2.7-mile, heavily-trafficked loop trail that’s considered a good choice if you have kids with you or just want a light stroll. It is known as an “easy” trail, but keep in mind that it is not flat and there are some very rocky spots along the way that may be considered more moderate. For the majority of this hike, you will have views of the streams and the river. Parts of the Yellow Trail get narrow and require a bit of a climb that will bring you to wonderful views.

Where to Stay Nearby

Camping isn't available at the state park, but Hacklebarney is surrounded by quaint hamlets in the New Jersey countryside that offer homey inns and places to stay.

  • Neighbour House Bed & Breakfast: This bed and breakfast is one of the closest—and most charming—lodging options to Hacklebarney. It's just 5 miles away in the town of Long Valley and includes cozy rooms in a historic Greek Revival home.
  • The Bernards Inn: Just 15 miles from the state park, the Bernards Inn is another historic home that's been turned into a cozy place for travelers to stay. It's located in the small town of Bernardsville and conveniently located across the street from a train stop on the NJ Transit for easy connections to nearby cities or Penn Station in Manhattan.
  • Raritan Inn: The bucolic landscape around this bed and breakfast make it a favorite romantic getaway for couples. This inn is surrounded by a farm and is completely eco-friendly, with solar panels and geothermally heated water. And it's just 8 miles away from Hacklebarney.

How to Get There

Hacklebarney State Park is just over an hour from big cities like Newark or Jersey City by car, driving west on I-78 and turning north onto US 206. If you're arriving by public transit, there's a train that leaves from Hoboken and goes directly to the nearby town of Gladstone and takes two hours. However, Gladstone is still 6 miles from Hacklebarney, so you'll need some type of transportation after you get off the train.

Accessibility

Two of the trails are wheelchair and stroller-accessible. Using the map, follow the White Trail to the Purple Trail and back for a short half-mile hike to see a nearby waterfall. For something longer, instead of turning back continue from the Purple Trail to the Red Trail, then the Light Blue Trail, then back to the White Trail for a 1.75-mile hike in total.

Please note that Hacklebarney State Park does not have a welcome area and the park only offers limited facilities, although there is a large parking lot with accessible restrooms. If you have specific questions related to disability access, it’s best to contact the park service directly in advance of your visit.

Tips for Your Visit

  • Hacklebarney is very popular with travelers and locals. It often fills up on weekends, especially in the summer or during holidays. Try to visit on a weekday to avoid the biggest crowds.
  • When visiting Hacklebarney State Park, bring your own water and food—no matter the season. You may see water fountains along the trails that were created by the Civilian Conservation Corps during the Great Depression, but they no longer are in working condition.
  • Dogs are allowed in the park and on hiking trails as long as they on a leash.
  • While it may be tempting to jump in the river on a hot day, swimming is not allowed anywhere in the park.
  • Biking is not allowed on any of the trails in Hacklebarney State Park.
  • You can also visit the Hacklebarney Farm Cider Mill for some tasty cider or to relax by their fire pits on weekends. Their shop features festive holiday displays and freshly baked pastries.
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Hacklebarney State Park: The Complete Guide