Hike, Fish and Paddle in the Skylands

A memorable experience awaits in the Skylands Region, a destination that offers a variety of activities for thrill-seekers and casual day-trippers.

Lakeside Recreation

With a name like Cranberry Lake, you might envision a bog in the flatlands of the Pine Barrens. Surprise! This 180-acre body of water is nestled within the hilly terrain of Byram Township. Bordered by Allamuchy Mountain State Park, the surrounding area is anything but flat and offers great variety of activities—including hiking, biking and paddling.

If exploration is your goal, the Allamuchy Natural Area offers more than 14 miles of marked trails to check out by foot, mountain bike or horseback. In the surrounding park lands there are more than 20 miles of unmarked trails waiting to be discovered, including the Sussex Branch Trail, which provides access to Cranberry Lake along its eastern bank. Whether you are looking for a relaxed stroll or a strenuous day-hike, there are trails here for everyone.

Wonders of the Past

History buffs of all ages will enjoy a day at Wild West City. This theme park is celebrating more than 60 years of recreating the excitement of the Old West through interactive adventures, capturing exciting glimpses at cowboys and outlaws as visitors enjoy the shops and saloons along Main Street. Just make sure you obey the law—or you could get locked up in a circa-1890 jail!

If local history interests you, take advantage of the opportunity to explore Waterloo Village on the Morris Canal, which boasts an authentic 19th century village and farm along with an unspoiled forest offering hands-on activities to introduce visitors to wilderness skills, foods and the lives of the Lenape people who called this land home.

Adventures on the Water

Perhaps you have a passion for paddling. The Musconetcong River in Allamuchy Mountain State Park provides a three-mile stretch ideal for canoes, kayaks and rowboats. Cranberry Lake offers a public boat launch as well as rowboat rentals. Anglers can also cast a line in these waters for a great catch. The Musconetcong is stocked with brown, rainbow and brook trout while Cranberry Lake is home to largemouth bass, sunfish, perch and pickerel. Navigate your way to Hopatcong State Park for fishing, boating and swimming within its 2,500-acre freshwater Lake Hopatcong

Make it a Getaway

No matter what your daytime destination, hunger and fatigue will eventually set in. If you have a hankering for German cuisine, the Black Forest Inn in Stanhope has the menu of your dreams. Top Tip: This is a very popular restaurant, so reservations are highly recommended for weekdays and generally required for weekends.

Not ready to say goodbye to the great outdoors? Slip into sweet dreams at a campsite (offered in-season) at Stephens State Park. You’ll never forget the tranquility of being lulled to sleep by the sounds of Saxton Falls.

Looking to round out your Skylands itinerary? Check out this page for more amusements, activities, history, recreation, dining, entertainment and more. And make sure to download our free travel guide and sign up for our e-newsletter to stay in the know about everything New Jersey.