January 2011: Hacklebarney State Park

Chester, New Jersey

In the 1800s settlers mined this area for veins of iron ore exposed by the retreating glaciers. It is believed by some that the colorful name for the park came from workmen in a mine who heckled a petulant foreman named Barney Tracey. “Heckle Barney eventually morphed into Hacklebarney. Others believe the name has Lenni-Lenape Indian origins based on the word for ground, “Haki.” Park staff apparently buy into this theory since there is a Haki Trail and no Tracey Trail. Adolph E. Borie (who also has no trail) donated the first 32 acres of land in 1924 as a memorial to his mother and niece, a Titanic survivor. The Civilian Conservation Corps helped develop the park during the 1930s and today it consists of nearly 1000 acres of Black River glacial valley.  

There are some five miles of sporty canine hiking in Hacklebarney State Park to enjoy with your dog. Most of the park can be experienced on the red-blazed Main Trail that sweeps down the ravine to the Black River and comes back up the opposite side. The trail drops about 200 feet in elevation to the water and this is negotiated on wide, graded gravelly footpaths.Along the rollicking Black River the trail is narrow and rocky with a different angle of footfall on every step. Your dog can take a misstep here as easily as you can so take care. 

If you are looking for a place to picnic with your dog in New Jersey this is it! Picnic tables and benches have been spotted on spectacular locations throughout the park, perched on rocks atop racing river waters or tucked deep into secluded wooded grottoes. Some of these sites are quite a hike away from the parking lot so try and avoid cooler duty!

From town follow Route 24/513 west for one mile to State Park Road for two miles. Turn right onto Hacklebarney Road and travel 1/2 mile. The entrance is on the left. From Pottersville, take Pottersville Road (partially paved) right of the Black River and turn left on Hacklebarney.