Frequently Asked Questions

Find our full list of frequently asked questions below, or click to browse by FAQ topic:

Hiking

Volunteering

Shop

General

 

Hiking FAQs

I have a question about getting started hiking.
Our Trail Resources page is an excellent place to start for information on hiking in our region. If you’re looking for a hike recommendation, try our Top Trails page. If you're interested in exploring nature with other people, many of our member clubs offer guided outings and other events.

What should I bring on a hike?
It’s important to be prepared on your hike. That means knowing where you’re going and carrying a physical and/or digital map, as well as wearing weather-appropriate clothing and sturdy shoes. Bring plenty of water and snacks and a bag to carry out your trash. It’s always a good idea to carry a first-aid kit and knife or multi-tool as well. 

We also recommend carrying a small boot brush to clean your boots and gear before and after your hike. Why? Invasive species love to hitchhike in the dirt that gets stuck in your gear. And these weeds and pests are massive threats to our native habitats. Give invasive species the brush off! Remember: Play, Clean, Go.

How can I find a great hike recommendation?
You’ve come to the right place! As caretakers of the region’s parks and trails for 100 years, the Trail Conference community is made up of lots of hiking experts happy to assist in finding the right hike for you! One of the best pieces of advice they’ll offer: Avoid popular trails, particularly during peak days, such as weekends. We have several webpages and articles on finding underutilized trails that are still fun and rewarding. Check them out on our Top Trails page. Our How to Hike a Trail Less Traveled article gives recommendations on great hikes in Morris, Passaic, and Sussex counties in New Jersey and Orange, Putnam, and Westchester counties in New York. It also includes free map downloads!

Or use the Hike Finder tool, which allows you to search for hikes by difficulty, length, and features, such as accessible trails or waterfalls. You can also view a list of all hikes or list of all parks to find your next adventure.

How do I find an easy hike?
This link to our Hike Finder tool has the “easy” and “moderate” filters already applied to help you get a jumpstart on finding the right hike for you.

I have a question about trails or hiking in a specific park.
Use our Hike Finder tool or view a list of all parks in our database. Select the park you are interested in. Click the Description tab for more information about the park and its trails. Select the Contacts, Dogs and Fees tab to find contact information for the park. Please note that the Trail Conference is a volunteer-powered nonprofit that partners with parks throughout the region to help care for the land and trails. We do not own or manage any parks.

Links to some of the most popular parks in our database are found below:

Where can I find the latest trail alerts, such as information on trail closures or trail conditions after a storm?
We provide information on major trail changes and closures on our Trail Alerts page. Your fellow trail users provide updates on things like trail conditions and hike recommendations on our Trail Forums. You can also find updates on our Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter accounts.

Where can I find information about long-distance trails, such as the Long Path and Appalachian Trail?
Information about the Long Path, Appalachian Trail, Highlands Trail, and other long-distance trails in our region is available on the Top Trails page.

How can I print my hike page?
Each hike, park, and destination page features a Printer-Friendly Version button under the Let’s Go section. The resulting page contains the complete information for the respective page, ready for your outdoor adventure.


Volunteering FAQs

Where can I find the forms that I need to use as a volunteer?
All volunteer resources, including Volunteer Service Agreement forms, trail maintainer forms, and other documents are located on My Dashboard, accessible from the main menu. You must log in to gain access to My Dashboard.

Can my friends and I volunteer together?
Yes! Share your love of trails by giving back either as an individual or a group. Our trail work days and projects are great for a group of friends or a corporate outing. Email [email protected] for details.

What is the minimum age to volunteer?
There is no minimum age to volunteer with the Trail Conference, however not all volunteer opportunities are appropriate for younger children. All volunteers under 18 must be accompanied by a signed parental permission slip or a parent. We obey the two-adult rule: adult leaders must have prior background checks and no child is ever with only one adult. Because of this rule, some work trips may not be able to accommodate youth volunteers.

Can I help out for a day?
Yes! Take a look at our Events page to find a list of volunteer projects and dates that need your help. Or fill out our Volunteer Interest Form, and we’ll help find the right opportunity for you!

Do I have to get dirty and sweaty to volunteer?
Nope. If you don’t want to volunteer outside, the Trail Conference has many important and meaningful opportunities that can be done from our headquarters at the Darlington Schoolhouse in Mahwah, N.J.—or even from your own home. Fill out our Volunteer Interest Form, and we’ll help find the right opportunity for you!

Do I need my own tools?
Our trail crews and event leaders will provide you with everything you need for a great day on the trails—from gloves, hard hats, and eye protection, to shovels and pick mattocks. For those who want to adopt a trail and keep their section clear and safe for others to enjoy, you will be responsible for purchasing a few small hand tools to get the job done right.

What does being a trail maintainer involve?
Trail maintainers adopt one or more sections of a trail and walk it periodically to clear debris, check blazes, and generally ensure that the sections are accessible.

Do I need to be a Trail Conference member to volunteer?
Membership dues helps support our ability to keep trails open and trail lands protected. Without support from trail users, we would not be able to do all of the great work that our parks and trails require.  While membership is not required for any of our volunteer opportunities, the support is greatly appreciated. See Become a Member for details on how we use membership funds to create great outdoor experiences for trail users.

Do you offer training or workshops?
To ensure that you have an amazing volunteer experience, we offer both formal workshops that include classroom and field components, as well as “on-the-job training” learning opportunities. Our award-winning Trail University courses, taught by our awesome trail professionals and volunteer leaders, will give you all the skills you need to help improve trails and parks.

Do you have projects suitable for Scout groups?
The Trail Conference encourages youth to participate in trail projects, and we often work with Scout groups. It is the Scout’s responsibility to identify and perform the preliminary planning for a project. To help offset some of the costs, the Elizabeth Levers Memorial Grant is available to support youth projects on trails maintained by the Trail Conference. The best way to start is to contact [email protected].


Shop FAQs

Do you offer any free maps?
Yes, a selection of free maps is available for viewing, downloading, and printing. Many are also available for free through the Avenza Maps app.

Do you have a physical store location?
Yes.Trail Conference Headquarters is located at 600 Ramapo Valley Road, Mahwah N.J.  Our headquarters and store are temporarily closed to the public.

Can I place my order by phone?
Yes you can!  Call us at 201.512.9348 during regular business hours, Monday through Friday (except holidays), 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Are app maps discounted for Trail Conference members?
No. Member discounts are currently not available on digital app maps. Discounts are also not available if you have already purchased a print map.

Are e-Books discounted for members?
Yes, e-Books through our Shop are eligible for the same Member Discount as our print books.  Discounts are further described in our Shop Policies.

What is your return policy?
Returns and exchanges are accepted if they meet our guidelines.  Return guidelines are further described in our Shop Policies.

What are my shipping options?
Three shipping options are currently available through the U.S. Postal Service.  Shipping options are further described in our Shop Policies.

Are your maps sold in other stores?
Yes!  Our retail outlet partners include outdoor stores, bookstores, and even delis.  Be sure to call the store to check availability.


General FAQs

Do you rent your building for events?
Our headquarters at the historic Darlington Schoolhouse in Mahwah, N.J., offers spaces that are available to rent for small events. Parking is limited and our spaces are used on weekdays by our staff and volunteers. Please contact our Membership & Development team at 201.512.9348 for details and availability.

What are your hours?
Trail Conference Headquarters is open to the public Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. When visiting, we invite you to explore our Trail Store, located right in our lobby. Pick up a map, discover a new guidebook, or try on our new logo apparel.

How is the Trail Conference rated as a nonprofit?
America's largest independent evaluator, Charity Navigator, ranks the Trail Conference with its highest possible rating, 4 out of 4 stars. It is an indication of sound financial management, good governance, adherence to best practices, commitment to accountability, transparency, and trustworthiness to the public.

I requested to reset my password but did not receive any emails to do so.
Please check your spam folder. Emails from the Trail Conference sometimes wind up there. Please add us to your “safe senders” list to avoid this issue in the future.

What is My Dashboard?
My Dashboard provides personalized content for our registered website users, volunteers, and staff. To use My Dashboard, you must first log in to the website. Once logged in, you may see event registrations, favorited hikes, and a wide range of volunteer resources including forms, documents, and much more.

How I can find out what my ID/password is?
Passwords on the system are always encrypted and cannot be recovered. You must use the Request New Password form on the Login page. From there, you can use either your username or your email address as your ID. If you are registered with an old email address which you no longer have access to, use the Contact Us form to get us to reset it to your current email address.