Appalachian Trail & Paulinskill Valley Trail


Footpath for the People

The Appalachian Trail is a 2,190 mile long, public footpath that traverses the scenic, wooded, pastoral, wild, and culturally resonant lands of the Appalachian Mountains. Conceived in 1921, built by private citizens, and completed in 1937, today the trail is managed by the National Park Service, US Forest Service, Appalachian Trail Conservancy, numerous state agencies and thousands of volunteers.

The Trail Is Waiting

The Appalachian Trail is the longest hiking-only footpath in the world. The AT, as it is commonly known, runs from Georgia some 2,190* miles long, through 14 states clear up to Maine. Four sections – the Southern Mountains, the Virginia Highlands, the Mid-Atlantic Lowlands, and New England – each reveal a different aspect of this American experience.

The trail enters New Jersey from the south on a pedestrian walkway along the Interstate 80 bridge over the Delaware River, ascends from the Delaware Water Gap to the top of Kittatinny Mountain in Worthington State Forest, passes Sunfish Pond (right), continues north through the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area and Stokes State Forest and eventually reaches High Point State Park, the highest peak in New Jersey (a side trail is required to reach the actual peak).

Nearly one-third of New Jersey’s 72.2 miles borders Blairstown and the Greater Blairstown area. The surrounding countryside is mostly undeveloped, and the few towns visible in the valleys remain rural villages. Striking panoramas – comparable to those in the Blue Ridge, Berkshire, and White Mountains, even the fabled Great Smokies – are not uncommon along this rugged and remote section of trail. In New Jersey the New York – New Jersey Trail Conference maintains and updates the Appalachian Trail.

You can begin or end your hike at hundreds of places along the trail. Explore New Jersey’s Appalachian Trail.

* Figure courtesy of Appalachian Trail Conservancy

In 2017, Blairstown was designated the first official Appalachian Trail Community in New Jersey.

The Path that Changes Lives

For more than half of the U.S. population, the Appalachian Trail is less than a day’s drive away. Yet despite its proximity to many major cities, few truly know the splendor of this national treasure. National Geographic travels off the beaten track to discover the remote and often unknown corners of the 5-million-step journey.

Paulinskill Valley Trail

Paulinskill Valley Trail is a rail trail along the Paulins Kill River in Northern NJ. It is the sixth longest trail in the state at 27 miles. It was originally a right-of-way of the New York, Susquehanna and Western Railroad and the Blairstown Railway. Vestiges of the railroad remain including several bridges, stations, mileage markers, telegraph poles and other railway artifacts. There are also numerous benches and signs explaining the history of the trail and its artifacts.

The trail is frequented by hikers, bicyclists, joggers and people who are just out for a stroll. Horseback riding is also permitted. Access is denied to motor vehicles, however, trailheads typically provide some parking.