Do you love the see the leaves changing color during the season? Fall foliage in Somerset County typically begins in October with peak colors appearing in mid-late October. If you’re looking to take in the blazing colors, we’ve got some great spots for you in our parks and outdoor locations!
Pictured above is the Environmental Education Center located in Basking Ridge, nestled in the western portion of the Great Swamp. With nine miles of hiking trails, visitors can explore a variety of habitats of swamps, wetlands, marshes, meadows, ponds, fields, and more! While hiking, visitors may want to keep a watch out for the many species of birds that call this location home.
Duke Farms (Hillsborough)
A favorite to so many, and it’s no wonder to see why. Duke Farms has 18 miles of trail that covers woodlands, meadows, lagoons, fountains, and more. Bring your bike to cover more ground – or rent one there! There is also plenty of wildlife to see on the property. Keep your eyes out for rabbits, badgers, deer, fox, and don’t forget to look up to see the various birds. Visitors may also partake in geocaching at Duke Farms.
*As of August 2021, visitors must reserve a free parking pass if arriving by car on Saturdays. Reserve your pass here.
Washington Rock State Park (Green Brook)
One of the oldest state parks in New Jersey, Washington Rock is best known for its scenic lookout. Seeing this, it’s no wonder the historic significance of this location during the American Revolution. This spot proved a great lookout point for Washington to direct his troops to cutoff a British retreat. During the fall months, you’ll get a 30 mile view of the Raritan Valley and the beauty of the changing leaves.
Washington Valley Park (Bridgewater)
Situated in the Watchung Mountains, Washington Valley Park features a reservoir, pine and hemlock forests, and rock outcroppings. Not only is this a great spot for hikers, it’s a great spot for biking, kayaking, and canoeing. It’s also a favorite among bird watchers. The fall colors here will be
Leonard J. Buck Garden (Far Hills)
A garden in the fall? Trust us on this one! With beautiful wildflowers along the paths punctuate the colors of the fall leaves, Leonard J Buck Garden becomes a canvas worthy of any artist looking to capture a gorgeous scene.
One of the most popular recreational corridors around. The D&R Canal is a destination for hikers and bikers for the well marked trails. Birders fall in love with the park for the many species (over 160!) of birds found in the area. Visitors can also check out the historic buildings and features along the 70-mile stretch of park that cuts through numerous Somerset County municipalities.
Another location for views! There is a lot of beauty to enjoy at Natirar at all points of the year, and fall is no exception! Heading up to an event at the Mansion? Make sure to take a peek out back to catch the views of the park to see the trees in full color for miles ahead. Or visitors are always welcome to explore the park below including waters such as the Raritan River and Peapack Brook, as well as the old barns on site.
NJ Audubon – Scherman Hoffman Wildlife Sanctuary (Bernardsville)
As a property owned and operated by the New Jersey Audubon Society, you can bet the wildlife and scenery at Scherman Hoffman Wildlife Sanctuary is one to see. In fact, this sanctuary is home to 60 species of nesting birds with over 200 species of birds being spotted here. The well-marked trails here range from roughly 0.3 miles to 1.3 miles in length that pass through upland deciduous forest, fields, woodland, and the floodplain along the headwaters of the Passaic River. A sight to see during autumn.
Fairview Farm Wildlife Preserve (Bedminster)
Five miles of hiking trails for you to explore at Fairview Farm Wildlife Preserve, the home of Raritan Headwaters Association. The trails will take you through fields and woods, a scenic pond with a fishing dock, a colorful bird and butterfly garden, two rain gardens and a restored 1800s barn complex. Hikers, birders, artists, dog walkers, photographers, school groups, catch-and-release fisherman and other daily visitors experience nature’s beauty at Fairview Farm, which is open to the public every day from dawn to dusk.
Sourland Mountains (Hillsborough, Montgomery)
A classic hike in Somerset County. The Sourland Mountains showcases a variety of trails for all abilities. You’ll get a scenic overlook of Montgomery and Hillsborough at the clearing at the top of the mountain. Tales of hauntings in the park make for a really cool experience in the fall months.