Jenny Jump State Forest

Seven trails allow visitors to explore 11.7 miles of pristine forest land at Jenny Jump State Forest in Hope.

Jenny Jump State Forest
Hope (Warren County); 908-459-4366
Size of park: 4,464 acres

Legend has it that long ago, the Minsi tribe of the Lenni Lenape ambushed a young girl, Jenny, and her father along a mountain’s edge. To save his daughter’s purity, Jenny’s father yelled to her, “Jump, Jenny, Jump!” The tale lives on in the name of Jenny Jump State Forest.

The same bluffs that years ago supposedly cost Jenny her life, today offer panoramic views of the Highlands and the Kittatinny Mountain Ridge and Valley to the west and the Great Meadows of the Pequest Valley to the east.

Seven trails provide 11.7 miles to explore. The 1.5-mile Summit Trail starts off steep, but flattens out at an elevation of 1,090 feet and rewards hikers with sweeping vistas. At trail’s end, it meets the 1.3-mile Ghost Lake Trail, which winds down the mountain to Ghost Lake, a man-made body of water teeming with lily pads and weeds. The lake is also accessible by car from the treacherous-sounding (though harmless) Shades of Death Road for car-top boat launches.

The southwest section of Jenny Jump includes a heavily wooded area overlooking Mountain Lake, a residential community. The lake’s eponymous 3.7-mile multi-use trail is a perfect rugged pathway for mountain bikers.

Sixty-five percent of Jenny Jump’s acreage is open for hunting, and opportunities to rough it in the woods are plentiful. There are 22 wooded tent and trailer sites, two group campsites, and eight enclosed shelters that can comfortably sleep four people year-round.

Jenny Jump is one of the few “dark-sky” locations left in the state, so a night time visit to the Greenwood Observatory can be particularly rewarding. Fall programs include “What’s Up With the October Sky?” (October 2) and the “Astronomy of the Ancients” (October 30). Check uacnj.org for details.

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