ROUND VALLEY STATE PARK
The brisk blue waters of Round Valley Reservoir attract swimmers, boaters, fishermen, picnickers and campers to its scenic shore. The Round Valley Reservoir swimming area was created by the construction of an earth dam across a narrow waterway on the west side of the reservoir, separating it from the main part of the reservoir. The reservoir covers over 2,000 acres and is approximately 180 feet deep, the deepest lake in New Jersey. It has a water capacity of 55 billion gallons. The reservoir is stocked with lake trout.
Round Valley is one of the few parks that offers wilderness camping. The campsites on the eastern side of the reservoir are accessible only by hiking or boating. The campers' parking lot is three miles away from the nearest site, reachable by a steep and rugged trail. Cross-country skiers and sledding enthusiasts congregate at Round Valley in the winter months.
Wilderness: Wilderness family campsites 85 wilderness tent sites with fire rings (no trailers and no vehicle access), drinking water and pit toilets are within walking distance. Access to campsites by boat, canoe, or backpacking. Three-to six-mile hike from parking lot and from most facilities including swimming area. Each family site accommodates up to 6 people. Open April 1 through October 31. $17 per night.
Group wilderness campsites: Eight group wilderness sites with fire rings. Running water and pit toilets are within walking distance. Each group site accommodates up to 25 people. Open April 1 through October 31. $25 per night.
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Swimming is permitted at Round Valley in the Day-use Area only from Memorial Day through Labor Day while lifeguards are on duty. Swimming is not allowed in the main reservoir. Visitors will find a beach complex containing changing areas, restrooms, showers, a first-aid station, and a concession building where food and beach supplies are available for purchase. Grilling is prohibited along the beachfront. There are two playgrounds and volleyball nets on the beachfront. Inner tubes, rafts and other flotation devices are not permitted in the swimming area.
A public boat launch is located north of the day use area, which is regulated by the New Jersey Division of Fish and Wildlife. Sailboats, canoes, kayaks, motor boats (up to 10 horsepower) and three chambered inflatable vessels are permitted on the reservoir and must be registered through Motor Vehicle if over 12 feet in length. NJ Boating Rules & Regulations pertain to Round Valley Reservoir at all times. Each person must have on a wearable Coast Guard approved Personal Flotation Device (PFD). Alcoholic beverages are prohibited.
A parking permit must be obtained through the New Jersey Division of Fish and Wildlife to access the reservoir at the public boat launch, or a copy of your fishing, hunting or trapping license must be placed on the dash board of your vehicle.
Round Valley State Park is located near Basking Ridge, Belle Mead and Bound Brook
There are three picnic areas within the recreation area; two are located on tree-shaded grassy spots at each end of the beach, and the third is on a hill overlooking the reservoir and park. At each picnic area the visitor will find tables and grills, restrooms, and playgrounds. Alcoholic beverages are prohibited.
There are three marked trails at Round Valley: the Cushetunk Trail, which accesses the campsites, the Pine Tree Trail and the Family Hiking and Biking Trail. All trails are accessed from the South Parking Lot within the Day-use Area. Trails are opened year-round. Visitors should plan their trail activities so that they will be out of the park by closing and are reminded to stay on the path. Wandering off causes erosion, damage to vegetation and may, in some areas, result in trespassing onto private property. Fires are not permitted along the trails. Pets must be leashed at all times, and owners are responsible for picking up after their pets. Drinking water is available along the lower service road located in the campground.
The nine-mile Cushetunk Trail and the three-mile lower service road are multi-use trails that pass through open and heavily wooded areas. The Cushetunk trail surface is rugged, rocky and steep in places which makes it more suitable for experienced hikers, mountain bikers, and horseback riders. Users must follow the same trail back as it ends at the Water Supply Authority's Restricted Area and therefore, has no outlet.
The Pine Tree Trail is approximately a one mile loop and the Family Hiking and Biking Trail is 1/2 mile loop. They pass through pinewoods and are ideal for young children, birdwatchers, and seniors. The Pine Tree Trail connects the day-use area with Division of Fish and Wildlife property.
There is a fourth unmarked water trail that is approximately 1 1/2 miles. You can access it from the campers boat launch area.
There are no trails that completely circle the reservoir.
Scuba and Skin Diving
Water clarity and rich aquatic life make Round Valley Reservoir one of the best freshwater lakes in New Jersey for scuba and skin diving. Diving is permitted from April 1st through October 31st depending on water conditions. Scuba divers must be certified. All divers are required to register at the area office, have a dive buddy, inflatable vest and a dive flag. Divers must check-in prior to, and checkout after, each dive.
Take I-78 west to exit 20 A to Route 22 west, follow signs to the park.