Highlands Trail in New Jersey Continues to Grow

May 04, 2019
Peter Dolan
New York-New Jersey Trail Conference


Highlands Trail in New Jersey Continues to Grow
Highlands Trail Sign.


Trail Conference volunteers are working hard to protect and improve the trail experience on the Highlands Trail.

Everybody knows about the Appalachian Trail—the 174 miles of A.T. maintained by the Trail Conference in New Jersey and New York are well-hiked, with some places seeing more traffic than they can handle. The Highlands Trail, in comparison, is something of a secret. Another long-distance trail cared for by the Trail Conference, it extends 180 miles from the Delaware River at the New Jersey/Pennsylvania border to the Hudson River in New York. Plans are underway to extend the Highlands Trail east to the Connecticut border.

The Highlands Trail (or HT) is a dynamic, living trail, constantly being re-routed onto newly preserved lands, slowly settling into a final route in the same way the A.T. did decades ago. Working with the Land Conservancy of New Jersey, the Trail Conference recently routed 4.61 miles of Highlands Trail to take advantage of 2,218 acres of land preserved at Hudson Farms in western New Jersey, taking the trail off a disturbed quarry area and onto beautiful woodland. In a separate success, the HT will soon be blazed to co-align with a new trail built by the Hunterdon County Division of Parks & Recreation in the Musconetcong Gorge, taking 1.5 miles off road walks and into forest. Thanks to Trail Chair Glenn Oleksak, you can always follow the current route of the Trail at TheHighlandsTrail.org.

The biggest challenge facing the Highlands Trail now is finding volunteers to keep pace with its growth. To help, 2019 will see the first roving HT crews—ad hoc teams that will visit different HT locations throughout the year. We welcome everyone to join in at any time for a day of giving back. Email pdolan@nynjtc.org to have your name added to the mailing list. Can’t volunteer but still want to show your love for the HT? Stop by our headquarters’ front desk for a free Highlands Trail sticker (while supplies last).

Pictured above: Highlands Trail Chair Glenn Oleksak, right, is a driving force behind the HT. New signs, above, created by a volunteer will soon be installed.