"Is there any doubt that New Jersey is an urban hiker’s paradise?"

Though New Jersey is a small state, ranking 47th in size and with the country’s highest population density, it retains surprisingly lush rustic scenery, including rugged mountainous terrain, rivers, and the Atlantic coastline. It enjoys favored status as a hiking region of choice for people from within and out of the state. Estes’ detailed guide is arranged by region with color photos. Each hiking site includes directions to the trail, a detailed trail description, a “Did You Know?” segment pointing out nearby attractions and local history, and “Other Activities” in the area. Themed for both experienced and first-time adventurers, the thorough trail descriptions note mileage, signposts, and vistas, along with alerts denoting narrow passages, steep drop-offs, essential turns, bathroom facilities, and helpful suggestions, such as “linger on a lopsided bench” or “look for toads.” An “At-a-Glance Trip Planner” offers information on costs, pet-friendliness, and a general rating of the trail’s difficulty, while an appendix lists even more hiking venues.

Estes has explored, photographed, and cataloged these fifty best New Jersey hikes. She recounts her hiking companions waiting patiently for her while she photographed notable landmarks—a ruined hay barn converted to a statuary garden, an old mine entrance, a log building that housed soldiers in the Revolutionary War—that might have been missed without the pictures. The author is experienced at hiking (though she prefers John Muir’s term, “sauntering,” as she explains in her introduction). She has been a hike leader, a former chair of the Appalachian Mountain Club Delaware Valley Chapter, and summited Mt. Kilimanjaro in 2012. Her practical manual is highly descriptive, almost to individual rocks and trees encountered along each trail, while offering a fine sense of the wider region and the many experiences available through hiking.

RECOMMENDED by the US Review

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