There are several state “recreational” parks out in West Jersey that are available for anyone. One well known park is the Round Valley Reservoir, and another is the Spruce Run Recreation Area.
A bunch of things the “outdoor types” can do. Camping and boating seem to be the most popular other than just “hanging out” and enjoying the outdoors in the middle of the most densely populated states in the country by far (20% more than the next state – Rhode Island).
We’ll share some relevant info, links, maps, videos, and photos in this post to give a general overview of this recreational area along Route 22 area.
Spruce Run Drone Footage 1
For one, you can get the whole scoop over at the NJ Division of Parks and Forestry website. But here is their introductory summary of what this place is:
“Surrounded by the rolling hills of Hunterdon County, Spruce Run Recreation Area is popular with picnickers, swimmers, fishermen, boaters and campers. The reservoir was one of the first water supply facilities to be constructed and operated by the state and covers 1,290 acres with 15 miles of shoreline for recreation. Spruce Run is the third largest reservoir in the state after Round Valley and Wanaque reservoirs.”
The park, in general, is officially open as a full-service operation from April Fool’s Day through the Friday before Memorial Day weekend, from 8am to 7pm. However, the facility is open in limited-capacity all year round.
Here’s a park map you can futz around with. Click for PDF zoomable version.
Not free: Spruce Run costs money to use
Important to note that Spruce Run isn’t a free open space. Even if you want to just visit for an hour to get some fresh air – it will cost you money just to pull your car in. $5 for NJ residents – $10 for everyone else. Even if you try to get crafty and park down the road – it STILL costs $2 just to walk in.
But hey, someone has to keep up the over 2,000 acres of land, right?
Spruce Run Recreation is a camping community
This recreation area sure has their camping spots covered. Exactly 70 of them – each with fire pits. There are even three “premium” shelters that can be reserved for hotel-room rates.
“Standard” spaces are $20-$25 per night, while any of the three “upgraded” spaces are between $48-$60 per night.
The campground has two “flushable” restroom facilities with showers. We’re uncertain of the ongoing cleanliness of those – but we reckon they’re better than relieving yourself in the bushes. Then again, the rash you might get from the bushes will go away.
Note that NO alcohol is permitted in the park. We can only ponder what the violation rate vs. enforcement rate of that policy is. Who goes camping without alcohol? Takes all the fun out of it.
Dogs ARE permitted – but only on a leash, and NOT overnight.
Spruce Run Drone Video 2
Host a large outdoor event at Spruce Run
The park can also accommodate much larger gatherings – of up to 200 visitors. You know, such as birthdays, weddings, and other reasons people have to get together.
Fees for those range from $100 to $175 per day, depending on the time of year and residency status. They request a minimum of 5 days notice.
And if you want to go “all out,” they even make the park available for mega-events for commercial or non-commercial purposes. Such as reserving practically the whole complex for some kind of major event. Those require between 90 days and one year notice depending on the complexity and scale.
Fishing and Hunting at Spruce Run
Fishing and Bowhunting (in specified areas) is permitted at Spruce Run.
You can see the Division of Fish and Wildlife Hunting website for the do’s and don’ts with that activity.
Boating and swimming and trails
You can bring your own boat (kayak, sailboat), and they even allow small outboard motor boats of 10hp or less, or rent one on scene at various costs. They even allow you to store you boat there year-round for a fee ($200-$375 per “season” summer or winter).
Swimming is allowed – but only when monitored by an on-duty lifeguard. (We hate rules like that – as they are insulting to people).
And no park would be complete without one official trail. Spruce Run has a 2.6-mile path you can walk on which is part of The Highlands Trail (150 miles long!)
That’s it. The phone number for human contact is (908) 638-8572. Map below.