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Round Valley Reservoir Campground
Round Valley Recreation Area
Lebanon, Hunterdon County, NJ

Address: 1220 Stanton Lebanon Rd, Lebanon, NJ 08833

Coordinates: N 40° 36.307 W 074° 49.944 (where the trail enters the camping area)

Directions: Drive to the park offices to register, then it’s a paddle or a hike to get to the campground.

Access: NO CAR ACCESS, paddle or hike only.

Website for official info: https://www.njparksandforests.org/parks/roundvalleyrecreationarea.html

Website for campsite booking and pricing:
www.camping.nj.gov

Campground Map: Click here for full sized map 

Pet friendly?: From website (as of 7/3/21… always check for most current information) – “Every campsite at Round Valley is a Pet friendly site. Current license and inoculation paperwork is required and an additional cost applies.”

Rules:

Write-up:

When NJ announced at the beginning of the year that campsites would reopen April 1, we got very excited. Until we learned it was car camping sites with real bathrooms only… boo! But in the fine print, it said the only backcountry camping would be Round Valley. Yay!

So, as soon as the system opened up in February, I snagged one at Round Valley for our first trip here.  It would be the 9 year old’s first backpacking in 1 1/2 years (and first with a full pack) and 7 year olds first backpacking since he was 1 out at Isle Royale National Park (he rode on my wife’s back then)! BACKPACKING!

The big thing is to know that YOU HAVE TO GET HERE BY BACKPACKING IN OR COMING ON A BOAT!  The closest that you car can get to the camping area is 3 miles (although I think this is probably closer to 4 miles), and if you have a campsite on the farthest end of the lake, it can be 6 miles or more of walking one way to get to your campsite.  The trail in was not an easy walk, as there are some ups and downs to navigate.

While the hike in was not as nice as I had expected, the campgrounds are amazing.  They are a little rocky and uneven, but they are spaced out better than any other sites I’ve camped at in New Jersey.  Our neighbors to the one side were far enough away that we only occassionally heard them (they probably heard us more), and the campsite in the other direction wasn’t easy to spot either. A campsite two sites down wasn’t visible at all from our site… amazing!

Our campsite from the campsite trail… hard to see, isn’t it?

The kids had a great time hanging out by the water.  It was very buggy by the water, but the bugs weren’t the biting kind (at least now when we were there in late April), so it was pleasant to skip stones, build rock piles, and wait for the stars to come out.  Pretty much ever campsite has a little path down to the water.

Facilities (campground):

Water: 7 water pumps scattered along 3 miles of campground trail.  When we were there, only two of the pumps were working.

Bathrooms – 9 non-plumbing pit toilets scattered through the campground (over 3 miles)

Trash – trash cans near the outhouses
Food protection – no bear boxes, take appropriate precautions.

Facilities (each site):

Group campsites – 8 group campsites on the eastern end of the reservoir

Regular campsites – 77 family wilderness sites.  Each one has a fire ring and picnic table.

Seasons: open April 1 to October 31



Other tips:

As with all sites in the New Jersey State Parks – no alcohol is allowed.  They can and will write tickets.

Positives – The most private campgrounds I’ve ever found in New Jersey

Negatives – The walk in was rough at times.

Nearby trails and things to see:

Explore the trails here at the reservoir!

Experiences at the campground?  Helpful hints for folks?  Please leave them in the comments for folks to see, or e-mail them to southjerseytrails@gmail.com and we’ll tack them onto the bottom here!
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  • July 12, 2021 at 11:47 am

    Thanks for posting this. The hike is definitely not a breeze. I got to the first campsite and said to myself, 3 miles? No way.

    Planning a trip there for beginning of sept. Thanks for the info!

  • Brian Sniatkowski
    July 16, 2021 at 7:36 pm

    It’s such a nice place to camp. I first started hiking in about 30 years ago, then I bought a canoe and was able to load it up and paddle to my sites. Depending on wind, it takes about an hour to an hour and a half to paddle across the reservoir.

    Now I have a small motor boat for fishing. I fill it with camping gear and I’m at my campsite in 15 minutes.

    Whether you walk, paddle, sail or use a motor to get there, it’s one of the best places to camp in New Jersey. It has a semi wilderness feel to it and as a bonus, you’ll see some of the prettiest sunsets ever.

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