52 Hike Challenge for New Jersey Kids

Posted on: January 8th, 2021 by

If you’ve been a fan of Jersey Family Fun for any period of time you likely know how much I love hiking and being outdoors. It’s always such a great way to mentally reset and clear my head. Last year, I participated in my first solo hiking challenge and while I didn’t reach my goal I definitely enjoyed it. Hearing from all of you on our Facebook page, I realized A LOT of you like to hike with your kids as much as I do. YAY! Recently, I learned there was a 52 Hike Challenge for New Jersey kids. I wasted no time signing up my boys.

Hike with us!

The 52 Hike Challenge is a hiking challenge anyone can participate in. You don’t have to be in New Jersey. There’s also a kids series to reward and motivate your kids to join you on the hiking trails.

L L bean hike

Why should kids hike?

There are so many benefits to kids hiking. Here are just a few:

  • It’s a chance to get them off screens and recharge their minds in a new way
  • Hiking lets kids explore nature and some of New Jersey’s most beautiful places
  • It’s an opportunity to connect with their family members and friends (in their pod). Kids can have some great conversations on the trails.
  • Kids can boost their memory, concentration, and attention span
  • Hikers burn off energy while also increasing their energy levels in healthy ways
  • Fresh air helps kids sleep better at night.
  • Kids who hike learn different ways to get exercise.

Those are just a few reasons kids should hike.

Trail markers make it easy to find your way while hiking Parvin State Park trails.

What is the 52 Hike Challenge Kids Series?

The 52 Hike Challenge Kids Series wants adults to make it a goal to get outdoors a minimum of once per week with kids for the next year! We have partnered with @52HikeChallenge because we believe in this goal and want to get more families outdoors seeing New Jersey.

Think of all the places you can explore in New Jersey. Think of all the ways you can show your kids New Jersey is beautiful. Make 2021 a year of exciting outside adventures! It’s FREE to join. If you choose to buy one of the packages or a medal for your kids who participate, we’ll earn a small commission.

What can kids earn in the hike challenge?

Hikers who complete the finisher form with the 52 Hike Challenge earn a yearly chance to win an awesome prize pack and get listed on the Official 52 Hike Challenge Finishers Page! You can also purchase a finisher medal on their site for each of your children who complete the challenge.

Jersey Family Fun will also have their own prizes and incentives throughout 2021 for our families that participate in the hike challenge for New Jersey kids. Keep reading to find out more.

snowmen bunnies on the nature trail at the Tuckerton Seaport
The snow characters will great you as you start you hike on the Tuckerton Seaport Nature Trail.

What counts for a hike?

For the purpose of the hiking challenge for kids your ‘hike’ can include a walk, hike, or a snowshoe adventure in New Jersey. Hikes don’t need to take place in New Jersey to count. They can happen anywhere a local park, an urban hike, a traditional hike, a walk over a bridge (with a pedestrian path), etc.

How long does a hike have to be?

There is a 1-mile minimum distance for all hikes.

Do we have to hike every week?

No, you can hike more than once a week within 52 weeks to catch up. You can also plan to do more hikes on weeks the kids are out of school.

Can we repeat hikes?

While we’d love to see families explore a different location every time, we know that’s not always possible. There are also so many great locations in New Jersey with multiple hiking trails. If you return to the same location, challenge yourself and the kids to see how you can make the return experience new and exciting.

How do we log our hikes?

Logging your hikes with the kids doesn’t have to be complicated. You can keep a list in a spare notebook, download one from the 52 Hike Challenge website, download the Jersey Family Fun printable hiking log (coming soon), or purchase one of these hiking journals for kids with our affiliate links.

Previous hikes, done before signing up for the challenge, do not count.

What other activities do kids have to do for the 52 Hike Challenge Kids Series?

What’s great about this hiking challenge for kids is that the 52 Hike Challenge has built in additional activities to get kids engaged in their hikes. Their suggested list includes ideas like:

  • Hike in a state park.
  • Hike outside your city.
  • Go on a geology hike.
  • Hike to a waterfall.
  • Enjoy a meal on the trail.
boy sits inside log
Trailside Nature Center

While some of the 52 hiking challenge activities are going to require particular kind of trails, not all of them do. Here are some examples of the challenge activities that you can do on almost any hike or walk you take with the kids.

  • Find a heart-shaped item on the trail.
  • Bring a book and read on your trail break.
  • Observe the flowers and draw them.
  • Watch the animals you see and make a picture.
  • Journal about your hike.
  • Touch 5 trees, while staying on the trail.
  • Scout for wildlife.
  • Have someone take a photo of you at your hiking destination.

What are some other ways to make hiking with kids fun?

We’ve included some links to our articles and Amazon affiliate links to help you with ideas to make your family hikes even more fun.

What does it cost to sign up?

Sign your kids up for the 52 Hike Challenge Kids Series at the 52 Hike Challenge site here. There is no fee to participate.

What’s included for free

  • Access to the challenge resources page and challenge guide download. The resources page include tips for finding trails, F.A.Q.s, and hiking logs.
  • The 52 Hiking Challenge is offering a portion of their 52 Hike Challenge Kids Activity book for FREE while kids are mandated to stay home for the next few weeks and possibly the remainder of the school year. The activity book contains a list of 52+ outdoor activity ideas, a log, 12 workbook pages from the original e-book and a finisher certificate you can award your child once they complete the 52 activities! The full book is included with the paid plans.

There are three upgradable package options that include swag, booklets, and other goodies for your young hikers.

Starter package

  • One 3-inch 52 Hike Challenge Kids Series Patch
  • 2-pack of 3-inch 52 Hike Challenge Kids Series Stickers
  • Kids Series 52+ page activity printable download

Standard package

  • High-quality 3″ Official 52 Hike Challenge Finisher Medal
  • One 3-inch 52 Hike Challenge Kids Series Patch
  • 2-pack of 3-inch 52 Hike Challenge Kids Series Stickers
  • Kids Series 52+ page activity printable download
  • Exclusive discounts from AllTrails, Sawyer, Skratch Labs, Noso Patches, Munk Pack, Tailwind, MPOWERD, Technu, Tosi Snacks and Cairn App! Coupons updated often with over $50+ in savings!

Ultimate package

  • High-quality 3″ Official 52 Hike Challenge Finisher Medal
  • One 3-inch 52 Hike Challenge Kids Series Patch
  • 2-pack of 3-inch 52 Hike Challenge Kids Series Stickers
  • 52 Hike Challenge Journey Journal
  • Kids Series 52+ page activity printable download
  • Exclusive discounts from our partners: AllTrails, Sawyer, Skratch Labs, Noso Patches, Munk Pack, Tailwind, MPOWERD, Technu, Tosi Snacks and Cairn App! Coupons updated often with over $50+ in savings!

Is there a 52 Hike Challenge for adults?

Absolutely! Adults are encouraged to participate. You can learn more about the 52 Hike Challenge for adults here.

Anthony's Nose Hiking Trail in New York makes for a good New York hiking trail for kids

Best places to hike in New Jersey for the 52 Hike Challenge Kids Series

Island Beach State Park

At Island Beach State Park visitors can expect miles of sand dunes and white sandy beaches that stand as magnificent habitats to maritime plants and diverse wildlife. Hikers will find outstanding examples of plant communities such as primary dunes, thicket, freshwater wetlands, maritime forest and tidal marshes.

  • Located in Ocean County
  • View the trail map.
  • Read more about Island Beach State Park at the New Jersey State Parks website.
  • There are a total of 8 trails, each under one mile. There is also an Ocean View Trail of 7.6 miles.
  • Does not have loop trails.
  • Parking is available at several different lots along the main roadway.
  • Meets these requirements of the hiking challenge for kids
    • Hike near a body of water.
    • Hike in a state park.
    • Hike an out and back trail.
Jenn with boys at Island Beach State Park

Hike the Pyramid Mountain National Historic Area in Boonton

Pyramid Mountain National Historic Area in Boonton, NJ is a must-do for all NJ families looking to explore the great outdoors. The park offers an educational visitors center, clearly marked trails of varying difficulties, views of Manhattan, and rock formations. Rock outcrops may not necessarily inspire awe and fascination, yet the ones at Pyramid Mountain will do just that.

  • Located in Morris County
  • View the trail map.
  • Read more about the Pyramid Mountain hiking trails in Hike Pyramid Mountain with Kids.
  • Offers trails from 1.5 – over 5 miles
  • Has loop trails.
  • Recommended parking is available at visitor center.
  • Meets these requirements of the hiking challenge for kids
    • Adventure to an iconic spot.
    • Hike a loop trail.
girl with rock structure at Pyramid Mountain National Historic Area in Boonton nj
Pyramid Mountain National Historic Area in Boonton

Stairway to Heaven Trail in Wawayanda State Park

The ascent to the Pinwheel Vista on the Stairway to Heaven trail in Wawayanda State Park is an extremely rewarding and enjoyable hike that leads to one of the most stunning views in the state. 

  • Located in Passaic and Sussex County
  • View the trail map.
  • Read more about Stairway to Heaven trail in Hike the Stairway to Heaven Trail in Wawayanda State Park.
  • The trail is about 3 miles in length.
  • This is not a loop trail.
  • There are parking spots along the side of the road (use the address 441 New Jersey 94, Vernon Township, NJ).
  • Meets these requirements of the hiking challenge for kids
    • Hike in a state park.
    • Adventure to an iconic spot.
    • Hike an out and back trail.
    • Hike in a forest.
Stairway to Heaven trail hike in New Jersey highlands
Stairway to Heaven trail hike in New Jersey highlands

NJ Hacklebarney State Park Hiking Trails

Hacklebarney is a perfect park to try out hiking with the family. This gorgeous park appeals to the whole family with its well-marked trails, peaceful forest setting, and cascading Black River. It is one of the New Jersey hiking trails with waterfalls.

  • Located in Morris County
  • View the trail map.
  • Read more about Hacklebarney State Park Hiking Trails in Hike NJ Hacklebarney State Park Hiking Trails with Kids.
  • Offers trails from 1 – over 3 miles
  • Has loop trails.
  • The Hacklebarney State Park does have a decent size parking lot. Keep in mind though, with capacity limits, the parking lot can fill quickly on a day with beautiful weather.
  • Meets these requirements of the hiking challenge for kids
    • Hike near a body of water.
    • Hike to a waterfall.
    • Hike in a state park.
    • Hike a loop trail.
    • Hike in a forest.
Hacklebarney State Park in Long Valley New Jersey

Mount Tammany of the Kittatinny Mountains

Mount Tammany, a peak of the Kittatinny Mountains on the New Jersey side of the Delaware Water Gap, is a hike best meant for those with older kids and experienced hikers. It is a particularly popular, albeit challenging, loop in the Delaware Water Gap. Despite being one of the more difficult hikes, the views are definitely worth the effort.

  • Located in Warren County
  • View the trail map.
  • Read more about hiking Mount Tammany in Hike Mount Tammany of the Kittatinny Mountains in NJ With Kids.
  • Offers trails from 1.5 – over 6 miles.
  • Has loop trails.
  • Recommended parking is available at the visitors center.
  • Meets these requirements of the hiking challenge for kids
    • Hike near a body of water.
    • Hike a loop trail.
    • Hike in a forest.
Mount Tammany of the Kittatinny Mountains
Mount Tammany of the Kittatinny Mountains

Cape May Point State Park in Cape May

Cape May Point State Park is a 244 acres state park located in Cape May Point, New Jersey. If you need a hiking trip that offers a lot to do and see while also not being overwhelming, this is a South Jersey hiking trail you must visit.

  • Located in Cape May County
  • View the trail map.
  • Read more about hiking at Cape May Point in Visit Cape May Point State Park.
  • Offers trails from 1/2 – 1 1/2 miles.
  • Has loop trails
  • A large parking lot is available at the visitor center.
  • Meets these requirements of the hiking challenge for kids
    • Hike near a body of water.
    • Hike in a state park.
    • Adventure to an iconic spot.
    • Go on a birding hike.
    • Hike to or in a historical place.
    • Hike a loop trail.
Cape May Point State Park Zoom Background of World War II Bunker

Liberty State Park in Jersey City

One of my favorite state parks, allow yourself a few hours or more to explore Liberty State Park. From the railroad terminal to the two DIFFERENT playground areas, from the soon-to-be-opened nature centers to the views from the Hudson River Walkway there is to much to see, do, and explore.

  • Located in Hudson County
  • View the trail map.
  • Read more about hiking at Liberty State Park in Visit Liberty State Park NJ with Kids.
  • While Liberty State Park doesn’t offer your traditional hiking trails, there are still plenty of trails to be explored.
  • The main trails run from one end of the park to the other, as does the Hudson River Waterfront Walkway. Other trails loop and twist a little.
  • Parking is available at a few different lots at the state park.
  • Meets these requirements of the hiking challenge for kids
    • Hike near a body of water.
    • Hike in a state park.
    • Adventure to an iconic spot.
boy on train at Central Railroad of New Jersey Terminal at Liberty State Park in Jersey City
Jenn’s son on train at Central Railroad of New Jersey Terminal at Liberty State Park in Jersey City

Ocean City Bridge in Ocean City

The Ocean City Bridge at 9th street dates back to 1933. Its origin was as a wooden bridge that spanned over the bay. It has been called the World War Memorial Bridge, the Route 52 Causeway, and the Ocean City 9th Street Bridge. Whatever you call it, walking across a real working bridge should definitely be a part of your hiking challenge with kids.

  • Located in Cape May County
  • Read more about walking across the Ocean City bridge in Walk Across the Ocean City Bridge.
  • The bridge is 2.2 miles long, but it’s 2.8 miles in length, from Route 9 in Somers Point to West Avenue in Ocean City.
  • This is not a loop trail.
  • Parking is available at the Ocean City visitors center or fishing piers.
  • Meets these requirements of the hiking challenge for kids
    • Hike near a body of water.
    • Hike an out and back trail.

Paterson Great Falls National Park

You wouldn’t expect to find a National Park in a northern New Jersey urban area, but just off Route 80 there it is – Paterson Great Falls National Historical Park!

Paterson was the nation’s first planned industrial city. Alexander Hamilton had a vision spurred by the water power of the falls, to have Paterson rival the Industrial Revolution developing in England in the late 1700s. The plant has been closed for a long time, but what’s left is one of the most beautiful places in New Jersey rich in history.

  • Located in Passaic County
  • View the trail map.
  • Read more about visiting Paterson Great Falls National Park in these articles.
  • There is a loop portion to the trail. The trail can be walked as a .8 of a mile or 1 1/2 miles in length.
  • Parking is available in a small lot at Overlook Park (72 McBride Avenue Extension).
  • Meets these requirements of the hiking challenge for kids
    • Hike near a body of water.
    • Hike to a waterfall.
    • Hike in a nationally designated area.
    • Adventure to an iconic spot.
    • Hike to or in a historical place.
National Historical Park Paterson Great Falls Junior Ranger Badges
National Historical Park Paterson Great Falls

High Point State Park in Sussex

Another not-to-be missed hiking spot in your hiking challenge for New Jersey kids is High Point State Park. Hike to New Jersey’s highest point to take in the view from High Point Monument. At 1,803 feet above sea level, you’ll see is a spectacular scene of farmland, forests, soft hills and lush valleys.

  • Located in Sussex County
  • View the trail map.
  • Read more about High Point State Park at the New Jersey State Parks website.
  • Offers trails from less than a mile – over 6 miles
  • Has loop trails available.
  • Parking is available in different lots throughout the state park.
  • Meets these requirements of the hiking challenge for kids
    • Hike in a state park.
    • Adventure to an iconic spot.
    • Hike near a body of water.
Views from the roadside of Corson's Inlet State Park
Views from the roadside of Corson’s Inlet State Park

Forsythe Wildlife Refuge in Galloway

The Edwin B. Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge protects more than 47,000 acres of southern New Jersey coastal habitats. It offers both hiking trails and a wildlife drive that offer stunning views of nature, wildlife, birds, and more in South Jersey.

  • Located in Atlantic County
  • View the trail map.
  • Read more about Forsythe Wildlife Refuge at their website.
  • Offers trails from .25 – 5 miles
  • Has loop trails.
  • Recommended parking is available at the visitor’s center.
  • Meets these requirements of the hiking challenge for kids
    • Go on a birding hike.
    • Hike a loop trail.
    • Hike with a pet on a pet friendly trail.
Hike with your dog at Forsythe Wildlife Refuge
Hike with your dog at Forsythe Wildlife Refuge

Historic Batsto Village

Historic Batsto Village is a New Jersey historic site in Wharton State Forest nestled among Atlantic County and Burlington County. Like most New Jersey Parks, there are trails for hiking, cabins for camping, grills for barbecuing, a museum and village for learning, and more. You can truly make it a weekend adventure as part of your hiking challenge with the kids. There are about 40 different sites to look at Batsto and three trails to hike with kids or dogs.

  • Located in Atlantic and Burlington County
  • View the trail map.
  • Read more about hiking at Batsto Village in Explore Wharton State Forest Batsto Village with Your Kids.
  • Offers trails from 1 – over 9 miles
  • Has loop trails
  • Recommended parking is available at the visitors center.
  • Meets these requirements of the hiking challenge for kids
    • Hike to or in a historical place.
    • Hike in a state park.
    • Hike a loop trail.
    • Hike in a forest.
    • Hike near a body of water.
boys at Historic Batsto Village
Historic Batsto Village

Fort Mott State Park in Pennsville

If your kids like to have make believe battles with forts and look out towers, this is definitely a place you will want to take them to hike. It was a really neat location. The fort, the gun emplacements, the lookout towers … it reminded me of playtime with my boys and their army men.

  • Located in Salem County
  • View the trail map.
  • Read more about Fort Mott State Park in Visit Fort Mott State Park with Kids.
  • Fort Mott State Park does not offer traditional hiking trails. It does offer nature trails and walking paths. All the paths are less than a mile.
  • Parking is available in the state park parking lot.
  • Meets these requirements of the hiking challenge for kids
    • Hike to or in a historical place.
    • Hike in a state park.
    • Hike near a body of water.
Fire Control Tower at Fort Mott
Fire Control Tower at Fort Mott State Park

Parvin State Park in Pittsgrove

Parvin State Park is another NJ State park rich with history and interesting hiking trails. This park served as home for the Civilian Conservation Corps from 1933 to 1941, a summer camp for the children of displaced Japanese Americans in 1943, a POW camp for German prisoners in 1944 and temporary housing for the Kalmycks who fled their homelands in Eastern Europe in 1952. Signage along the hiking trails serves both to educate and help us understand how Parvin State Park played a role in history.

  • Located in Salem County
  • View the trail map.
  • Read more about hiking at Parvin State Park in Visit Parvin State Park with Kids.
  • There are 9 designated trails ranging in distance from .35 miles to 3.2 miles.
  • Has loop trails
  • Parking is available in the state park parking lot.
  • Meets these requirements of the hiking challenge for kids
    • Hike in a state park.
    • Hike near a body of water.
    • Hike to or in a historical place.
Bridge at Parvin State Park
Parvin State Park

The Great Swamp Wildlife Refuge in Basking Ridge

In the past, the Great Swamp had activities every week. They had tours, information and guides. This location is huge with over 7,000 acres of land and trails. You can stick to the trails but it is recommended that you wear waterproof footwear and long pants. The “Nature Detective Trail” has 11 unique places for you to stop and discuss nature with your kids.

Wildcat Ridge in Rockaway

This hiking trail is a bit more challenging. It’s great for a family who has children ages 7 and up. There are some well-defined trails used by Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts every spring as well as local hikers. A great place to spy some of the Bald Eagles in the area.

Here are a few other sources to turn to for great local hiking trails

black girl with family hiking in national parks gift

Hike with us for prizes and extra fun!

We are really excited for this hiking challenge for New Jersey kids. If things were different and it was safe to have events, we’d be out there WITH you on the trails organizing events for us to hike together. That may have to wait, but we are WITH you in spirit on this hiking challenge.

So we want to reward your kids and motivate you for doing the sometimes hard task of getting your kids outdoors to hike, explore, and spend time off their screens.

What could your kids win?

New-Jersey-State-Parks-Forests-front-cover-as-jpeg

To participate with us in the 52 Hike Challenge for New Jersey Kids

We will use social media to start and to pick weekly winners. We are going to trust our readers and followers to be honest with us as well.

Look for our weekly Facebook post where we ask you to comment by posting your hiking picture of the week along with a hashtag of the hike number you are on. For example, hike one will be #hike1, hike two will be #hike2, etc. You’ll need to tell us where you hiked and what your kids thought about the trail. We may choose some pictures to feature here on this page or our social media channels. We’ll pick one Facebook winner a week for 52 winners in all.

On Instagram you can have a chance to win by posting a picture of your family hiking, telling us where you hiked, what your kids thought about the trail, tagging Jerseyfamilyfun, and using the hashtags #NJKidsHike, #52HikeChallengeKidsSeries and #52HikeChallenge2020. Additionally, tell us what hike number you are on by using hashtags. For example, hike one will be #hike1, hike two will be #hike2, etc. We’ll pick a winner on Instagram once a month for 12 winners in all.

Posted in: All, Things to do in Central Jersey, Things to do in New Jersey, Things to do in North Jersey, Things to do in South Jersey

Jennifer Auer is the hyperlocal mom blogger who runs Jersey Family Fun. From New Jersey, this mom of 3 boys just can’t sit still! Her husband likes to say she’s a work-at-home mom who never stays home. Jennifer started traveling as a child and hasn’t stopped since. Instead of letting her husband and boys slow her down, she brings them along! As her boys transition from tweens to teens there’s still so many places she wants to discover with them both across the U.S. and internationally. She has been a Jersey Girl for 35+ years, and a Jersey Mom for 15+ years and a New Jersey mom blogger for 10 years, although she'd much rather be referred to as an influencer or just by name. She has a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration with a focus on Entrepreneurship from Bryant University in Rhode Island.

One thought on “52 Hike Challenge for New Jersey Kids

  1. […] the kids excited for hiking by signing them up for the 52 Hike Challenge for New Jersey Kids. There’s no charge to sign up and for an extra fee you can purchase patches, rewards, and […]

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