The Black River gorge, woodlands and trails provide a great escape for walkers and anglers.
The freshwater Black River briskly cuts its way through rocky Hacklebarney State Park cascading around boulders in the hemlock-lined ravine. Two tributaries, Rinehart and Trout Brooks, also course their way through this glacial valley feeding the Black River. The Black River gorge provides anglers and hikers a respite from the hustle and bustle of daily life.
In the 19th century, this area was an iron ore mine site, but today Hacklebarney is a favorite place for avid anglers and hikers. The gushing river against the grey boulders and dark green hemlocks creates a majestic beauty in any season.
"Deep in the ravines of Trout and Rinehart Brooks are remote places that one can view the glacial moraine of millennia ago, when an ice sheet covered the region. The rock strewn landscape is all that remains of that major geological event; it is also a place that is endowed with a fascinating history.
It is said that the word Hacklebarney has a Native American derivation. Depending on which source one reads, it may have come from the words haki, meaning “ground” and barney, a variation of bonihen, “to put wood on fire,” or hakiboni, “to put wood on a fire on the ground” or “bonfire.” Other explanations come by way of the area’s iron-mining history. The first concerns an iron mine foreman named Barney Tracey, who was lovingly but persistently heckled by his workmen – hence the name “Heckle” Barney. Another tradition says the name came from the Irish miners and their home village in Cork County. Finally, the land near the Hacklebarney forge may have been owned by a Barney Hackle.
Whatever the origin of its name, we do know that Hacklebarney Memorial State Forest Park Reservation, or Hacklebarney State Park, as it is now called, was established because of the generosity and vision of Adolphe and Sarah Borie. Their vision for Hacklebarney has endured long after their deaths and continues to guide the destiny of the park once described as “the most beautiful park in New Jersey.”
- Peter Osborne, author
Images of America: Hacklebarney and Voorhees State Parks
Nine hiking trails traverse a total of 5 miles in the northern portions of the 465-acre natural area offer breathtaking views of the Black River, which lies deep within a shaded hemlock ravine. Rinehart and Trout Brooks empty into the Black River and several small waterfalls can be seen from the high trails. The diversity of upland and wetland habitats provides excellent birdwatching opportunities, especially during migration. Since the topography of the park is rather rugged, comfortable walking shoes are recommended.
Bikes are not permitted on the trails.
Hiking and COVID
We are not out of the woods yet with the COVID-19 pandemic. Help us enjoy the woods "together" by following the one-way direction of each trail. Everything begins on the red-colored Riverside Trail and ends on the white-colored Main Trail.
Cross-country skiing is permitted. Trails are not groomed. Bring your own skis.
The Black River provides excellent stream fishing year round. During the spring and fall, the NJ Division of Fish and Wildlife stocks the Black River with trout. Anglers have the opportunity to catch fish due to the excellent holdover rate of trout in the river. The Trout Brook and Rhinehart Brook are both designated as Native Brook Trout Streams. Anglers are required to comply with all applicable NJ Fish and Wildlife regulations. For more information about fishing or to obtain a license, visit njfishandwildlife.org.
Hunting is permitted in the southern portion of the park on a 628-acre parcel of land that is separated from the day use area by the Black River. The hunting area is accessible from the four Sportsman's Parking Lots on Pottersville Road.
The park provides ideal habitat for wildlife such as black bear, woodchuck, deer and fox, more than 100 species of bird, and some rare and endangered plants.
A 465-acre portion of the park was designated as part of the Natural Area System in 1978 to preserve the ecosystem. Eastern hemlock dominates the cool shady slopes of this ravine and several trails provide access to this forest and the Black River. Steep ravines along the Black River and surrounding areas of mixed oak-hardwood forest and young woodlands comprise this area, which supports a variety of state endangered and threatened species.
A Special Use Permit is utilized to accommodate a specific activity or event being conducted over a short duration. Special Use activities or events include, but are not limited to: commercial photography/professional photoshoots, litter clean-up days, and scouting events. Groups of 20 or more persons holding an organized event must complete a Special Use Permit Application.
There are two types of Special Use Permits: Non-Commercial and Commercial. Fees are based on New Jersey residency. A completed application must be submitted to the park where the activity or event is being held at least 90 days prior to the event. If the proposed event is extremely large or complex, at least one-year’s prior notice is recommended.
Access for Persons with Disabilities
Hacklebarney State Park facilities are partially accessible for persons with disabilities. Please contact the park office at 908-638-8572 further information regarding disability access needs. Text telephone (TTY) users, call the NJ Relay & CapTel Service at 711 or 1-800-852-7897 for English or 1-866-658-7714 for Spanish.
All-Terrain Vehicles (ATVs)
Recreational use of ATVs is not permitted on NJ State Park Service property. This includes state parks, forests, recreation areas, golf courses, marinas, natural areas, historic sites, and preserves. Thank you for your help in protecting New Jersey’s natural and historic resources. [N.J.A.C. 7:2-3.4(d)]
State law prohibits the smoking of tobacco and use of electronic smoking (vaping) devices in all state parks, forests, historic sites, recreation areas, golf courses and marinas. [N.J.P.L.2005, c.383 (C.26:3D-56)]
Alcoholic beverages are not permitted in state parks, forests, recreation areas, golf courses, marinas, natural areas, historic sites, and preserves. [ N.J.A.C. 7:2-2.6 ]
Keep Your Park Clean and Green
Protect plants and animals and care for your parks by taking your trash with you. Whatever you carry into the park, plan on carrying it out too. It’s like crowdsourcing trash management! Bring a bag or two for trash, recycling and cleaning up after your pet. There are no trash receptacles in this park. Thank you!
Pets must always be on a leash no longer than six feet in length and under the control of the owner. Please clean up after your pets.
Use insect repellent, wear light-colored clothing, tuck pants into socks, stay on trails, check yourself when you get home, shower and wash clothes immediately.
Be Bear Aware
Black bears are found throughout New Jersey. Do not approach or attract bears by making food available. Feeding bears is dangerous and illegal. Never run from a bear! To report an aggressive bear, call 1-877-WARN-DEP (1-877-927-6337) immediately. Please report any damage or nuisance behavior to the park office. Visit the New Jersey Division of Fish and Wildlife at www.njfishandwildlife.com for additional information on bear safety.
119 Hacklebarney Rd
Long Valley, NJ 07853
Hacklebarney State Park
c/o Spruce Run Recreation Area
68 Van Syckles Road
Clinton, NJ 08809
Gate Open Sunrise to Sunset
Park Office Please contact Spruce Run Recreation Area at 908-638-8572
Entrance Fee None