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Top 10 No-Hunting Hike Areas in New York and New Jersey
Hikers can find safe and exciting places to walk, even when hunters are in the woods (click here for exact schedules). The following parks and preserves are or include no-hunting areas. Trails are maintained by Trail Conference volunteers or our member organizations.
Wherever you hike, it's a good idea to wear blaze orange when you go into the woods at this time of year. You can find descriptions of recommended hikes in most of the parks in our hikes database. Click here and scroll to the park you are interested in.
Bear Mountain/Harriman State Parks (Orange and Rockland Counties)
Most of this region, with 235 miles of marked trails, is a safe haven for hikers during deer hunting season. Hunting areas in Harriman State Park (as well as Sterling Forest State Park) have been expanded to include essentially all park areas west of NY Route 17. Click here to learn more about hiking at Bear Mountain/Harriman.
Minnewaska State Park Preserve (Ulster County)
A vast portion of this favorite hiking destination--basically, the area south of Fly Brook and Sanders Kill--is off-limits to hunters. A hunting map provided by the park shows the zones. Click here to go to our page for Minnewaska, where you can download a pdf of the map.
Ward Pound Ridge Reservation (Westchester County)
There is no gun hunting in all of Westchester County, so all parks and preserves are relatively safe havens for walkers. Ward Pound Ridge Reservation is the county's largest open space: 4,700 acres with nearly 42 miles of hiking trails. Learn more about Ward Pound Ridge Reservation.
(NOTE: Bow hunting is permitted in season in some areas of Westchester. In Ward Pound Ridge Reservation, bow hunting is only permitted Monday through Friday from 4:30 a.m. to 10 a.m. Ward Pound Ridge will also be closed to hunting on Monday, Oct. 12 and Thursday and Friday, Nov. 26 and 27).
Staten Island Greenbelt (New York City)
This is a good time to explore new places. Visit this unique network of trails (28 miles all totaled) in New York City's outer borough. Learn more and find links to trail information and a Staten Island Greenbelt trail map.
Walkway Over the Hudson (Dutchess County) & Franny Reese State Park (Ulster County)
Accessible by public transportation (Metro North to Poughkeepsie), this newer state park offers a good stretch of the legs over the Hudson River. A loop hike of almost 4 miles is possible by adding the Mid-Hudson Bridge. You can even include a walk in the woods by hiking the trails in the connecting Franny Reese State Park. Fall is a good time to visit this hillside park along the Hudson; the leaves are down and there are excellent views over the river and bridges. Click here for Walkway info and links and here for Franny Reese State Park info.
The pressure of the growing deer herd is prompting limited hunt seasons in many, if not most, New Jersey open space areas. The following recommendations include notes about hunt days, if they are scheduled.
New Jersey Section of Palisades Interstate Park (Bergen County)
Enjoy more than 25 miles of trails at this stunning linear park, which connects to more miles of trails on the New York side of the border. Learn about hiking along the Palisades.
Campgaw Mountain and Ramapo Valley County Reservations (Bergen County)
Combined, these two parks in north Jersey offer more than 5,000 wooded acres and nearly 30 miles of trails. Click here for Campgaw info; click here for Ramapo Valley info.
Pyramid Mountain Natural Historic Area (Morris County)
Thirty miles of trails, two mountains, and interesting rocks, including the ever popular Tripod Rock. Click here to learn more about Pyramid Mountain. Hunting is permitted on several days, December through February: 12/3, 12/8, 12/10, 12/17, 1/8, 1/15, 1/22, 1/29, 2/5, 2/11. On days when hunting is allowed, trails are closed to hikers. Visit the Morris County Parks site for more details on hunting dates.
Garret Mountain Reservation (Passaic County)
Explore four trails and a castle and enjoy outstanding views of the New York City skyline and High Mountain. Learn more about Garret Mountain Reservation.
South Mountain Reservation (Essex County)
The park's 2,047 acres contain five marked hiking trails, many miles of carriage roads and bridle paths, views of falls, millponds, and--off in the distance--Manhattan. Learn more about South Mountain Reservation.
Bonus Hike Area!
Watchung Reservation (Union County)
Miles of trails, Surprise Lake, plus a deserted village. Learn more about Watchung Reservation.