Hiking and walking tips

  • Know your physical condition
  • Choose an appropriate trail for your ability before you begin hiking
  • Know the latest weather forecast so you can dress and plan accordingly
  • Estimate your hiking time. Know when the sun will set.
  • Proper dress – wear layers. Hike in sturdy, comfortable, over-the-ankle footwear.
  • Proper food- bring high energy food for snacking and plenty of water (a pint an hour under 90 degrees; a quart an hour, over 90 degrees). Carry a day-pack.
  • Allergies- if you have them please remember to bring your medication.
  • If park rules are posted, read them and adhere to them. If you are asked to sign a “roster of visitors” at the trail entrance, do so –both are for your safety.
  • Communication – inform family or friends where you are hiking and when you will return.
  • Observe hunting signs. Hunting may be in progress from September through February in many areas.
  • Carry identification and let someone know where you are going.
  • Carry your cell phone if you have one.
  • If you’re new to exercise, check with your doctor before starting any fitness program.
  • Use appropriate walking form. See Walking Form.
  • If walking vigorously, warm up and cool down by walking slowly for 5 minutes at the beginning and end of your walk to avoid injury.
  • If crossing busy streets is problematic on your walking route, walk at AM and PM times when there are school crossing guards.
  • Walk different routes and trails to enjoy different natural and architectural environments.

Advance preparation for conditions and weather will help assure a safe and pleasant outing. In New Jersey, any activity that involves walking along or through fields, woodlands or trails brings the potential for exposure to deer ticks. The best way to dress when walking outdoors is to wear light-colored clothing, long sleeves, and long pants tucked into socks. Insect repellent is helpful and some varieties may offer some protection against ticks. Check throughout the day to see that you and your walking partners are free of ticks. Brush off clothing, socks, and shoes when exiting the woods or fields. If you find a tick on your skin, remove immediately by using tweezers and grasp from the top or head to remove the entire tick. For more information on deer ticks, please consult one of the following websites:

When walking trails and through parks, one should also be aware of poison ivy. Some helpful websites for identifying and avoiding poison ivy are:

New JerseyTrails Association Resources

Other Resources for Hiking:

Guided/Docent Led Walks or Activities

Trail Etiquette

When you walk the trails described on this site, please observe basic trail etiquette: Stay on the trails. Leave no garbage behind. Be quiet and respectful of nature and other walkers.