Sourland Mountain Preserve

4,000 acres — 9.0 miles of trails

What’s to love

This 4,000-acre preserve in central Jersey offers a refreshing break from the same-old same-old hiking terrain available at most places close to Philly. There are small boulder fields scattered along the trails, here, and at least two are big enough to entertain local rock climbers.

And while I wouldn’t call this a “mountain” necessarily, the Ridge and Pipeline trails do provide some decent climbs for those looking for an aerobic hike. Since the Pipeline trail is wide and tree-less, you can steal a bit of a view of the neighborhood from the top. Trails here are well-marked, with several connectors and shortcuts, allowing you to pick the perfect distance for your hike (though you may need to check the map frequently!).

Tips and quirks

  • The trails at Sourland get very muddy when it has rained recently, so I’d recommend good boots or sticking to the higher-elevation paths.
  • I think I once saw a black bear, here. There are bear warning signs, so I wasn’t totally surprised, but it’s a good reminder to stick to the trails and pay attention.
  • For the birders: this area “is especially known for its nesting birds on the edges of their breeding areas including Summer Tanager, Winter Wren, and Black-capped and Carolina Chickadees.”

Last updated: April 21, 2019