Unlike other guides that merely list all campgrounds, Best Tent Camping: New Jersey is full color and profiles in detail only the 50 best sites in the state for campers who seek the serene and secluded.
You'll find essential information about each campground (including season, facilities, rates, directions, GPS coordinates, and websites), as well as a description of the campground; the best sites within the campground; and nearby activities such as hiking, canoeing, fishing, and mountain biking.
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About the Author
Originally from Northern Virginia, Marie Javins was dragged as a child all over the Shenandoah Valley and surrounding mountains. Back then she hated camping, fishing, and looking at wildlife, and after college she immediately moved to New York City. She did not learn to love camping again until, as an adult, she camped around Africa as a matter of financial necessity. Since then, she has tent-camped her way across the United States and New Zealand.
Marie was an editor and colorist for Marvel Comics for 13 years before taking up travel writing. She currently lives in downtown Jersey City, New Jersey, where she is authoring Slow Boat to Everywhere, a book about her trip around the world by surface transport (for more details, go to MariesWorldTour.com).
Matt Willen is a writer, explorer, and photographer. He spends much of his time exploring little-known and remote places around the globe, most recently in areas above 50 degrees north latitude and below 50 degrees south. Matt is also the author of 60 Hikes Within 60 Miles: Harrisburg and Best Hikes of the Appalachian Trail: Mid-Atlantic. He lives seasonally in Pennsylvania and Nova Scotia.
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Camp Glen Gray
address: Camp Glen Gray 200 Midvale Mountain Road Mahwah, NJ 07430
operated by: Friends of Glen Gray Camp Operating Committee
information: (201) 327-7234
open: Year-round week-ends by permit; weekdays by special reservation
sites: 150, plus unlimited wilderness sites
each site has: No amenities in wilderness sites; picnic table, fire ring, some platforms
assignment: In advance
registration: In advance, by phone or website
facilities: Latrines, showers, water (limited in winter)
parking: Central lot, hike-in
fee: $3 per person for weekend; $40 for entire clearing per weekend
elevation: 635 feet
restrictions: Pets: Prohibited
Fires: By permit only
Vehicles: At parking area
Other: Use dumpster near office; licensed fishing only; no hunting; swimming only with certified lifeguard; no bikes
Rustic and conveniently located, Bergen County’s newest campground is also its oldest. Camp Glen Gray was established in 1917 and developed over the next decade. For the next 85 years, it operated as a Boy Scouts of America camp. Genera- tions of boys learned to boat, fish, respect nature, and cooperate on its 750 wooded acres.
Bergen County acquired the camp from the Boy Scouts in 2002, with help from the Trust for Public Land and a group of volunteers. The county provides mosquito control and snow removal, but for the most part, Camp Glen Gray is self-funded and managed by the Friends of Glen Gray Camp Operating Committee.
Ramapo Valley County Reservation is only 4.5 miles from Camp Glen Gray, and while both are wooded, primitive environments with great hiking trails, they serve different needs and different clienteles. Ramapo Valley is the top dog-walking and dog-camping destination in the region, and hundreds of people take their dogs through the park every day. Camp Glen Gray, however, does not allow visitors to bring dogs. Also, campsites at Ramapo are located near the entrance to the park, so every hiker passes by them. Wilderness camping at Camp Glen Gray is usually done in the North Quad, where campers who leave the trail are unlikely to see another human for the entire weekend. Ramapo Valley sites are well manicured, whereas Camp Glen Gray sites are more rugged.
All camping at Camp Glen Gray is hike-in, and the North Quad wilderness sites are ideal for solo campers or those hiking with a partner. Campers must leave their cars at the headquarters and hike to the backcountry along Old Guard Trail. It is also possible to hike in from other public lands via Cannonball Trail. All campers must check in and buy a permit at the headquarters. Wilderness camping at Glen Gray offers no amenities, so campers must familiarize them- selves with the basics of backcountry etiquette and bear behavior. Food should be carefully stored away from tents and campsites, preferably in bear-proof containers. Inquire at the office about the current bear population. All gear and garbage must be packed in and out.
Backcountry camping is possible at Camp Glen Gray, but the camp really shines in its offerings for families. The “Family Camp” weekends offer a taste of scouting without the Scouts. Children ages 6 through 12 and their families attend, staying in cabins, Glen Gray tents with cots, or their own tents. Meals are provided in the dining hall, and activities are offered throughout the weekend. Kids can swim, row boats on the small lake, fish, hike, or learn to make handicrafts. No-frills family weekends are also available, where families entertain themselves and cook over campfires.
Regular family camping is available on nonorganized (no workshops or classes) weekends. Campers stay in shady clearings that hold several tents. The entire clearing can be rented for $40 for a weekend, although most people rent cabins, so it’s possible you’ll have the clearing to yourself anyway. North Brook Campsite is one of the most popular clearings. It sits near the lake, close to amenities, and under hemlock trees on a bubbling stream. Swimming is prohibited unless a certified swim instructor is present. Rowboats are available for rent, but personal boats cannot be transported to the lake. Special arrangements with advance notification can be made for transportation for disabled campers.
Seven marked hiking trails wind through camp, in addition to many unmarked paths and trails that lead to other parts of the region. The white-blazed, 2-mile Millstone Trail is the most central. Easily accessed from the lake or office, it loops around camp, providing nice views from the top of Millstone Hill. The 4-mile Teepee Trail is popular for its view of New York City, some 45 miles away. Yellow Trail, Hoeferlin Memorial Trail, Schuber Trail, and Cannonball Trail cross the camp and are part of larger trail systems.
Camp Glen Gray rents out its facilities to groups year-round. It has almost unlimited space for medium- sized groups but limited parking and is at the end of a private road. Campers are encouraged to stay at camp all weekend rather than constantly drive in and out. Bear in mind that the facilities are not new. Campers seeking a rustic outdoors experience will be pleased here, but those who require modern plumbing and drive-in sites will be better served setting up tents at nearby Campgaw Mountain Reservation.
Table of ContentsTABLE OF CONTENTS
NORTHERN NEW JERSEY
Camp Glen Gray
Delaware National Water Gap Recreation Area (Canoe-in)
Delaware National Water Gap Recreation Area (Hike-in)
Harmony Ridge Campground
High Point State Park: Sawmill Lake Camping Area
Mahlon Dickerson Reservation
Ramapo Valley County Reservation
Stokes State Forest: Lake Ocquittunk Camping Area
Stokes State Forest: Shotwell Camping Area
Stokes State Forest: Steam Mill Camping Area
Swartswood State Park
Worthington State Forest
WEST CENTRAL NEW JERSEY
Delaware River Family Campground
Jenny Jump State Forest
Round Valley Recreation Area
Spruce Run Recreation Area
Stephens State Park
Teetertown Ravine Nature Preserve
Triple Brook Camping Resort
Voorhees State Park
EAST CENTRAL NEW JERSEY
Allaire State Park
Bass River State Forest
Brendan Byrne State Forest
Camp Gateway, Sandy Hook
Cheesequake State Park
River Wood Park
Timberline Lake Camping Resort
Turkey Swamp State Park
THE JERSEY SHORE
Adventure Bound Camping Resort
Cedar Creek Campground
Ocean View Resort Campground
Surf and Stream Campground
SOUTHERN NEW JERSEY
Atlantic County ParkEstell Manor and Weymouth Furnace
Atlantic County ParkLake Lenape
Belleplain State ForestMeisle Field and CCC Camp
Belleplain State ForestNorth Shore Campground
Parvin State Park
Philadelphia South KOA Campground
Wharton State Forest: Atsion Family Campground
Wharton State Forest: Batona Campground
Wharton State Forest: Bodine Field Campground
Wharton State Forest: Buttonwood Hill Campground
Wharton State Forest: Godfrey Bridge Campground
Wharton State Forest: Goshen Pond Campground
Wharton State Forest: Hawkin Bridge Campground
Wharton State Forest: Lower Forge and Mullica River Campgrounds