My girlfriend and I just moved to Princeton a few weeks ago with our dog. We were living in Portland, OR before those, so were a bit spoiled with accessible wilderness, but I know New Jersey is a beautiful state and I'm looking forward to exploring it and experiencing new terrain (life-long West Coaster until now).
Just doing a preliminary google search wasn't super helpful, so I figured I might drop in here and ask some people who would know: what are some great hikes/hiking areas that allow dogs off leash?
We love taking our dog on hikes with us, and it'd be much less enjoyable for all of us if we had to leash her the whole time.
Any terrain, any length, anywhere from 0 to 5 hours drive from Princeton, all totally welcome (although nearby in Central NJ would be especially appreciated).
Thanks in advance. Looking forward to learning from all of you and hopefully someday contributing advice of my own.
Hello Garret - Welcome to the state! We actually have quite a bit of nice hiking in Jersey, though not as challenging as on the West coast of course :)
Outside of dog parks, I don't know of any areas where you can hike off leash. In general, the rule is on a 6-ft leash, under control at all times. There are a handful of nature preserves that don't allow dogs at all. It's likely the same rule for PA/NY but I am not 100% sure on that. With that said, we see dogs all the time off-leash on the trails. One thing I would note is we do have a lot of black bear here, and for that reason you might want to be on leash.
In addition to poking thru this forum and our main site, njHiking.com, I'd recommend you check out Daniela's blog, Gone Hikin', she hikes with her trusty German Shepard Shawnee all over NJ, NY, PA and beyond:
If you have any questions, let me know. And close to the Princeton area, you might want to look into Baldpate Mtn and Sourland Mtn: