NEW JERSEY — Tuesday is National Take A Hike Day, so grab those hiking shoes and find a trail to get away from it all. The American Hiking Society established National Take A Hike Day, each year falling on November 17, as a way to encourage families and individuals to get outside, and to connect with nature. 

Here are three options not that far from home for you explore. Be sure to follow leave no trace principles — pack it in, and pack it out — bring water and snacks, and dress appropriately for the weather.

Watchung Reservation

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The 2,200-acre reservation includes the Trailside Nature & Science Center, Watchung Stable and the Feltville's Deserted Village. Take a leisurely stroll around Lake Surprise, or park near the Sky Top picnic area and hop on the Sierra Trail for a more challenging walk.

Download the trail map.

South Mountain Reservation

This 2,112-acre nature reserve is part of the Essex County Park System. Discover Hemlock Falls, a 25-foot waterfall, and Washington Rock, a Revolutionary War historic site. Young ones can even search for fairies on the half mile Fairy Trail, too.

Download the trail map.

Sourland Mountain Preserve

The 4,000-acre preserve is owned and operated by the Somerset County Park Commission.

According to its website, "the name Sourland is believed to be derived from “sorrel-land” which describes the sorrel (reddish-brown) colored soils encountered by the pioneering German farmers."

Download the trail map.

Check the websites before you go, and follow park regulations on social distancing and wearing masks. Share pics on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter with @AmericanHiking.

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