Stephens State Park covers 805 acres in western Morris County in the state of New Jersey. Set on the edge of the Musconetcong River, a 46-mile-long tributary of the Delaware River, campers can enjoy a range of outdoor activities here, from freshwater trout fishing and hiking the Highland Trail, to picnicking in the park’s shady picnic areas.
Maintained and run by the New Jersey Division of Parks and Forestry, the park dates back to 1831 when the Morris Canal was built to transport coal from Pennsylvania to New York City. Today, a section of the towpath as well as the remains of one of the 23 locks can still be seen.
Inside Stephens State Park is a small camping park for standard tents and small RVs and trailers during the summer months. The campground is very basic with limited facilities but the view and tranquility of the park make it well worth a stopover.
Stephens State Park is located off Route 604, two miles to the east of Hackettstown or seven and a half miles west of Route 206 on Waterloo Road (Route 604). Once inside the park, there are no driving restrictions. Parking is available in the upper, middle and lower areas of the park.
Stephens State Park offers 40 tent and small trailer sites with no hookups. There are several pet-friendly sites for campers with well-behaved dogs. Each campsite comes with a picnic table and a fire pit. Water hydrants as well as modern restrooms with flush toilets and showers are nearby.
Facilities inside the park include a children’s playground, picnic areas, and a picnic shelter. Please note that alcohol is not permitted inside Stephens State Park. Campsites can be reserved online in advance for a fee.
Stephens State Park is perfect for hiking, biking and horse riding enthusiasts - the park is home to six miles of marked trails used for hiking, jogging, mountain biking, and horseback riding. The trails range from even surfaces to steep and rocky surfaces. Additionally, a two-mile section of the Highlands Trail runs along the length of the park.
The Musconetcong River is a popular spot for boating in Stephens State Park. Electric and gas motors are permitted on the river, but each person needs to wear a Coast Guard-approved life jacket. The river is also a fantastic spot for trout fishing, particularly for rainbow trout. During the spring, the river is stocked with brown, rainbow and brook trout. Fly fishing is a popular activity here. Please note that all anglers have to have a fishing permit to fish here.
During the summer and fall months, Stephens State Park hosts interpretive nature pogroms. Run by naturalist Lori Tournillon, the programs are informative and educational and a great way for families to learn about the park. The programs are free of charge. Visitors are asked to check the website for the latest schedule of events.
The endless miles of hiking and biking trails are groomed for snow sports in the winter season. While the campground is not open during the off season, day visitors can still enter the park and enjoy miles of groomed trails for cross-country skiing, snowshoeing and snowmobiling.
There are various picnic spots available at Stephens State Park for both day visitors and campers to use. They are set along the pretty Musconetcong River and at the upper picnic area. Guests can enjoy picnic tables, charcoal grills, and modern restrooms as well as a playground and small open play field for kids. Please note that all picnic areas are available on a first come, first served basis, but the group picnic shelter can be reserved in advance. Kindly note that no alcohol is permitted inside the park.
Over 470 acres are open to hunting at Stephens State Park. Please note that you will require a hunting permit to hunt in any New Jersey state park, and that you will have to follow the regulations set by the New Jersey Division of Fish and Wildlife. About 400 acres of the park are designated a 'no hunting area', including the campground and day use area. .