With mountains to its north and beaches to its east, New Jersey makes for a very diverse state for mountain biking. And while it may not be the richest state when it comes to singletrack trails, as a part of one of the more densely populated parts of the country it’s bike trails see a tremendous amount of use.
The majority of the state’s mountain biking trails are located in the upper half of the state with many of them within an hour or so drive (pending traffic, which can be horrible) from New York City.
New Jersey is even home to a quite large lift-served downhill park, Mountain Creek Bike Park, which boasts some downhill 40 trails for skill levels ranging from beginners to experts.
Here are 10 of the best mountain bike trails in New Jersey.
1. Six Mile Run, Middlebush
Widely considered to be one of the most popular single track trails in New Jersey, the nearly-flat Six-Mile-Run offers fast flowy singletrack with opportunities for jumps and some fun wood features.
The trail’s name is a misnomer, as it spans some 14 miles one way. What makes this trail so popular? It winds through farmland, which is actually more picturesque than you might think. It also features several swampy sections covered by long winding boardwalks.
Six Mile Run is also accessible to a wide variety of skill levels. It’s flat and non-technical with the exception of the narrow bridges and a few optional log features.
2. Stephens Backcountry Loop, Stanhope
The route for this rugged cross-country style mountain biking loop is pretty balanced: you spend the first half of this 7-mile loop going up and the second half going down.
The first mile is flat before the trail turns sharply upward. The terrain is best described as technical with some rocky sections.
The climb becomes gradual until you reach a small peak at just over 1,200 feet. It’s heavily wooded, so you won’t be rewarded with views. You will; however, enjoy a long 3-mile descent with plenty of flowy sections. It’s the perfect balance of work and play.
3. Ringwood, Ringwood
This figure-eight loop in mountainous northern New Jersey area offers rugged cross-country mountain biking terrain.
This trail is rocky and technical with ascents that will reward you with stunning views. Just be prepared to work for them because this trail is rugged.
You’ll have to navigate rocks both large and small on the way up and down on singletrack that is narrow and windy.
The defining portion of the trail comes the summit, on which you follow a spine of granite rock, riding up and down massive rock faces and through boulder-strewn paths before descending into the trees. This is hardcore technical cross-country mountain biking.
4. Rancocas State Park, Willingboro
The trails at Rancocas are a bit rough. Some are overgrown, some washed out and some are just difficult to follow.
But, for raw beauty, this trail is tough to beat. You’ll get beautiful views of the creek that runs through this state park along with forests of tall pine and old hardwoods and beautiful flower-filled meadows.
There are more than a few places to dismount and snap a few selfies or glamor shots of your bike.
The trail profile is flat with very little climbing, although there is enough of a grade to enjoy some fun downhill sections. The terrain is rocky and rooty adding some nice technical elements to the ride.
5. Black Run Preserve, Gibbsboro
Sometimes mountain biking is more about the experience of riding through nature than it is about technical terrain, jumps and speed. Such is the case with Black Run Preserve, which is set in a protected wetlands area.
The terrain ranges from mildly technical to easy, making this an excellent trail for novice and intermediate riders alike. With its easy terrain and minimal elevation changes, Black Run gives you an opportunity to look up and enjoy the natural beauty and wildlife the preserve has to offer.
And, if winter riding is your thing, this is also a popular destination for fat biking in the snow. With its location in southwestern New Jersey, Black Run Preserve is easily accessible from Philadelphia, making it a popular location on the weekends.
6. Batsto Trails, Egg Harbor City
Some trail systems are about technical rock gardens, steep climbs, exhilarating downhills, and big jumps. Others are about experiencing nature. Batsto is the latter.
This system features 10 miles of trails with easy-to-ride terrain and little elevation change, making it doable for intermediate riders and beginners who have some experience already under their belts.
And while this may sound dull to some MTBers, the terrain is beautiful as it takes you through pine forests and over undulating hills around Batsto Village, a preserved 18th century historic village.
A few roots and logs create some challenges along the way, but this trail is more about connecting you with nature verses challenging your abilities.
7. Brendan Byrne State Forest, Presidential Lakes Estates
Despite its proximity to the intimidatingly-named Mount Misery, there is little in the way of elevation change or technical challenge with this mostly flat trail in the Byrne State Forest.
Located in southern New Jersey, this is one of the longer trails you can find in the entire state at 17 miles. This trail is not far from Philadelphia, is a mix of mainly sand and dirt roads with a few easy single track sections.
You’ll log just a couple hundred feet of climbing over the entire loop. With its wide trails and moderate terrain, it’s a system ideal for beginners learning how to mountain bike or even drop bar gravel bike riders.
8. Pine Trail, Ramtown
Take a tour of the largest remaining Atlantic coastal pine barrens ecosystem with the Pine Trail. This mostly flow trail in southeastern New Jersey is located in New Jersey’s Pine Barrens.
You’ll find little in the way of elevation on this coastal trail; however, the terrain will challenge you. Much of the trail is packed sand offering tremendous flow rides through groves of pine.
While there aren’t many elevation changes on this trail, there are enough challenging climbs and fun descents to make things interesting. The most challenging aspect of the terrain though is the deeper sand sections, which can be tough to power through.
A wider mtb tire profile is recommended for this trail.
9. Camden County College Trails, Turnersville
Located just a short drive from Philadelphia, Camden County College trails offer a five-mile loop for beginner and intermediate riders through mostly wooded areas. These mostly smooth and wide trails offer easy non-technical riding.
Rooty sections, optional log rides and punchy climbs create technical challenges for intermediate and expert riders. Though the Camden County College Trails are mainly flat, there are enough elevation and straights to pick up speed for an excellent flow experience.
You’ll even find a few jumps big enough for catching air. With its location just south east of Philadelphia this is a popular trail system on the weekends.
10. Frost Woods Park, Spotswood
The roughly five miles of mountain biking trails at Frost Woods Park have been around for quite some time. The trails were initially created for BMX dirt bikes back in the 1970s.
While the effects of urban development, neglect, and a few hurricanes have taken their toll on Frost Woods over the years, this is still a popular trail with the locals. The trail takes you on fast runs through wooded sections of East Brunswick over terrain that is mainly hard-packed sandy soil.
Though you won’t face challenging climbs on this trail, it is surprisingly rolling with very few totally flat sections. You’ll either be hitting punchy climbs or zippy descents through most of this trail.
Stronger riders will like the challenge of the trail’s well-placed jumps and log rollovers.