Hiking at the Sourland Mountain Preserve in New Jersey

sourland boulders

The Sourland Mountain Preserve is a great place to hike and climb on 180 million-year-old rocks and boulders that were once underwater. When I wrote about my trip to New Brunswick, New Jersey, I briefly touched upon this preserve, but now it’s time to go into further detail for those who are interested in visiting.

The preserve can be found in Hillsborough and Montgomery Townships in Somerset County. Just pull into the parking lot and start at the trailhead.

sourland trail

This is not a hardcore, hours-long hike for extreme backpackers, nor is it technically demanding. It’s more appropriate for the casual hiker who wants to spend an hour or two observing nature and visiting some insanely old boulders.

There’s a small stream near the entrance, and after that it’s all trees and rocks.

sourland stream

The boulders are sedimentary and igneous rocks of Late Triassic and Early Jurassic age. Many of them are piled together so you can climb to the top and take some imposing photos.

sourland mountain

The main trail is a 5-mile loop within a decent amount of uphill walking. I saw a few people riding mountain bikes up the hill, which was an impressive display of leg power. I just stuck with the walking trail myself.

sourland boulders

Supposedly, deer, fox and even coyote are found in the preserve, though I doubt they frequently come near the designated trails since those areas are so popular among hikers. Overall, the Sourland Mountain Preserve is a decent way to spend an afternoon if you’re looking for a taste of nature in a densely-populated state.


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About Scott Shetler

Scott is a Seattle-based journalist and blogger who puts a quirky spin on travel adventures around the world. He has been featured in Travel + Leisure, Connect Magazine, Matador Travel, and the Washington Post.

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