Celebrating 100 Years of Service
Welcome to New Jersey’s first state park and historic landmark destination for outdoor recreation and leisure activities. Swartswood was established as New Jersey’s first state park in 1915 to ensure public access to the State’s third largest freshwater lake. Swartswood Lake is the park’s main attraction, welcoming visitors from all around to its calm waters for canoeing, kayaking, sailing, fishing, swimming or simply relaxing.
Whether you prefer land or water, winter or summer, the park is open year-round with something to do every season.
Swartswood State Park is located in Northwest New Jersey in the Ridge and Valley region of Sussex County, five miles west of Newton.
Through the Carry-In/Carry-Out Program you can help us keep the parks clean
and beautiful by carrying out the trash you carry in. Bags are provided
throughout the site. Thank you for your cooperation and remember to recycle.
Open daily sunrise to sunset
Office Hours: Open daily 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Swartswood State Park Area Map
Duck Pond Multi-Use
This 0.6 mile-paved path provides a level surface
for walking, biking, roller blading, skate boarding and is
accessible for persons with disabilities. The trail meanders
through a forested area along Duck Pond. Wayside exhibits
found along the trail provide information on the unique natural
features found in the area. A bird blind has been constructed
to allow visitors to view birdlife in the area with little
disturbance to their habitat.
This 2.8-mile trail
begins at the end of the paved Duck Pond Trail. Follow the
white markers along the natural hilly terrain through a secondary
succession forest to the secluded Spring Lake. We consider
this to be a moderate level hike.
Bear Claw Trail
This 0.8 mile trail is marked in yellow and begins
at the Duck Pond parking area just to the right of our kiosk.
This is an easy to moderate hike on an earthen, hilly path.
The trail ends where it meets the paved Duck Pond Trail allowing
you to combine the two trails for a full loop back to the
This 1.5 loop trail can be found at the most southern
end of Swartswood Lake by the dam. The steep rocky terrain
makes this a moderate to difficult hike with rewarding views
of Swartswood Lake.
Alcohol is prohibited. Pets are prohibited in overnight facilities.
Campsites: 65 tent and
trailer sites with a fire ring, picnic table and lantern holder.
Maximum occupancy is six at each site. Flush toilets and showers
facilities are within walking distance. Trailer
sanitary and water stations available. Campsites 1-21 open all year round. Campsites 22-65 Open April 1 to
October 31. Fee: NJ Resident $20 per night;
Non Resident $25 per night.
Group Campsites: Three group
sites with picnic tables, a fire ring and lantern holder. Water and sanitary
units are within walking distance of each site. Campsites accommodate a maximum of 20 people. Open April
1 through October 31. Fee: NJ Resident $40 per night;
Non Resident $80 per night.
Shelters: Six shelters are located on top of a shady ridge. They are cabin-like structures with a wood stove for heat, two double deck bunks and a picnic style table. The shelters sleep a maximum four people, including children. Each site includes a fire ring, picnic table and lantern holder. Flush toilets are nearby and shower facilities are located in the main campground bathhouse .Additional tents are not permitted on shelter sites. Check in time is 3 p.m. and check out time is 12:00 Noon. Accessible to persons with disabilities. Open April 1 to December 15. Fee: NJ Resident $48 per night; Non Resident $60 per night.
Campground Map (Low resolution for viewing purposes)
Campground Map (High resolution for printing purposes) File
Special Use Permit Application
Special Use Permit Application Package
A Special Use Permit is utilized to accommodate a specific activity or event being conducted over a short duration. There are two types of special use permits: Non-Commercial and Commercial and fees are based on NJ residency and Non-residents. A completed application must be submitted to the park/forest area where the activity or event is being held at least 90 days prior to the event. If the special use or event is extremely large or complex, at least one-year’s prior notice is recommended.
The freshwater angler can enjoy year-round fishing in Little Swartswood and Swartswood Lakes. The lakes are stocked with brown, rainbow and brook trout in the spring. Summer and fall catches include bass, sunfish, catfish, walleye, perch and pickerel. Fishing is available along the shores or by boat. Fishing also is permitted in the mill pond near Keen's Grist Mill. Fishing is subject to the New Jersey Division of Fish and Wildlife regulations.
State Park Service areas open to hunting
Tree Stands and Blinds Policy
Most of the area east of County Route 619 is open to hunting. Game commonly found in the park includes ring-necked pheasant, ruffed grouse, wild turkey, gray squirrel, eastern cottontail and white-tailed deer. Hunting is subject to the New Jersey Division of Fish and Wildlife regulations.
Secluded picnic areas overlooking the lake can be found throughout the park with picnic tables and grills available at each site. Charcoal fires must be contained to the metal grills provided at the site. Visitors are free to bring their own metal grills. Wood fires are not permitted. Food and refreshments are also offered at the concession stand. View the menu.
A playground and open playing fields are located near the picnic area. Volleyball and basketball courts and open areas for frisbee, golf and softball are located in the day-use area of the park.
Swartswood also offers a group picnic are for larger groups. It holds a capacity of 100 people, provides shelter, play fields and playground equipment. It may be reserved for a fee:
New Jersey Resident $55
per day, plus applicable parking fees.
per day, plus applicable parking fees.
Day weekend through Labor Day
New Jersey Resident $80
After Labor Day to Friday Before Memorial Day
percent of Fee
Picnic Cancellation Fee
• Groups of 20 or more people shall
reserve picnic facilities at least five days in advance.
Such group use is not permitted on Holidays except as authorized
by the Superintendent. Reservations for picnic areas are
handled by the individual park area offices.
Reservations can be made over the telephone using a credit card, or by mail using the Group Picnic Reservation form* downloadable here. Payment in full of the appropriate group picnicking fee must accompany this application.
*To view this form, please download the most recent version of Adobe Acrobat
Boat rentals are available in the park on a seasonal basis. Please call for hours of operation prior to your visit. The rental facility is typically open weekends only from May to the end of June. They are open seven days a week from July through Labor Day. For more information visit the Swartswood Lake Boat Rentals web site.
From Memorial Weekend to Labor Day, while lifeguards are on duty, visitors can swim in Swartswood Lake. Swimming hours are 10 am to 6 pm. Adjacent to the beach visitors can access facilities with changing areas, restrooms, showers, a first-aid station, and a concession building where food and beach supplies may be purchased. View the concession menu. The facilities are accessible for people with disabilities.
tubes, rafts and other flotation devices are not permitted
in the swimming area. Only Coast Guard approved life jackets are permitted. Pets are prohibited on the beach.
• Swartswood Lakes and Watershed Association: an Officially
Recognized Friends Organization of Swartswood State Park and
an active partner in our ongoing efforts to improve the quality
of our lakes and in the protection of the surrounding watershed.
For additional information, or to become a member write to
SLWA, PO Box 44, Swartswood, NJ 07877
Fish & Wildlife: license fees and regulations on fishing
and hunting, and information on fish stocking
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