The brisk blue waters of Round Valley Reservoir and scenic Cushetunk Mountains frame a recreation space for boating, camping, fishing, picnicking, and lifeguarded swimming.
Round Valley Reservoir covers 2,350 acres and reaches approximately 180 feet deep, making it the second-deepest lake in New Jersey and largest reservoir. At full capacity the reservoir holds up to 55 billion gallons of water. The lifeguarded swimming impoundment provides a place for summertime visitors to enjoy the water. Round Valley is also the only New Jersey state park that offers wilderness camping. The campsites on the south-eastern side of the reservoir are only accessible by backpacking 3 to 6 miles along a steep and rugged trail or by boating. The park is open year-round, hikers enjoy fall foliage, cross-country skiers and sledding enthusiasts congregate at Round Valley in the winter months, and birders flock to the shoreline to watch the return of birds in the spring.
Round Valley’s reservoir covers 2,350 acres and reaches approximately 180 feet deep, making it the second-deepest lake and largest reservoir in New Jersey. At full capacity the reservoir holds up to 55 billion gallons of water.
The erosion of soft sedimentary rock carved the natural Round Valley out of the surrounding mountains. In 1960 the New Jersey Water Authority constructed three large dams and flooded Round Valley with water pumped in from the South Branch Raritan River, establishing the reservoir. The Cushetunk Mountain, lying on a bed of igneous rock at the reservoir’s east end, still stands over Round Valley, rising 500 feet above the reservoir’s shoreline and 834 feet above sea level.
The name “Cushetunk” possibly comes from the Lenape meaning “place of hogs” in reference to the wild hogs that once lived here. Interpretations of the name “Cushetunk” vary, within the Munsee language places that contain an “–unk” suffix often refer to mountains where as “–ink” or “–ing” names would refer to valleys.
Today the New Jersey Water Supply Authority manages the reservoir, monitoring water levels and carrying out construction work as part of the Round Valley Reservoir Project. The NJ Division of Fish & Wildlife historically stocked the reservoir with lake trout from 1977 through 1995. The population is closely monitored by the Bureau of Freshwater Fisheries and it the population is currently self-sustaining through natural reproduction in the reservoir and modifications in fishing regulations in response to changes in the population dynamics.
The Cushetunk Mountain, lying on a bed of igneous rock in Round Valley at the east end of the lake rises 500 feet above the shoreline and 834 feet above sea level. The Lenape called the mountain "Cushetunk" meaning "place of hogs" after the wild hogs found there.
Round Valley Recreation Area is the only NJ state park that offers wilderness camping, each campsite is in a secluded clearing in the woods along the south-eastern shoreline of the reservoir at the base of the Cushetunk Mountain.
Campers must check-in at the Park Office. Check-in is required by 4:00pm* so that campers can obtain their permits, prepare for the trek ahead, and arrive at their campsite before dark. Wilderness campsites are only accessible by boating or by hiking/mountain biking 3-6 miles along the steep and rugged Cushetunk Trail. THERE IS NO VEHICLE ACCESS TO THE CAMP. Campers boating to their sites need to bring their own boat and understand the wind warning system (details are provided in the Boating section). If any of the four wind warning lights turn on, then boating will be prohibited and campers must make alternate plans hike to/from their sites or delay/extend their reservation.
* Camper check-in time: 4:00pm April 1 - Friday before Memorial Day
* Camper check-in time: 5:00pm Memorial Day Weekend - Labor Day
* Camper check-in time: 4:00pm Tuesday after Labor Day - October 31
Wilderness camping is a challenging experience that is recommended for experienced backpackers and boaters, these campsites are not recommended for very young children or for the elderly due to the difficulty and distance. There is no vehicle access to the Round Valley campground, for drive-in camping please visit nearby Spruce Run Recreation Area.
Reserving a Campsite: The wilderness campground at Round Valley is open from April 1st through October 31st. Camping reservations can be made up to 11 months in advance. All advanced camping reservations must be made online at www.camping.nj.gov. Same-day and one-night reservations can be made in-person on the day of the reservation if space is available. To confirm campsite availability please call the Park Office or check the camping website’s "availability view" tab on the day of your intended arrival.
Wilderness Family Campsite
NJ Resident: $17/night
plus a $5 transaction fee
Picnic table / fire ring may not be included, this is a wilderness campsite.
Wilderness Group Campsite
NJ Resident: $50/night
plus a $5 transaction fee
Picnic table / fire ring may not be included, this is a wilderness campsite.
Wilderness Waterfront Campsite
44 sites of 85 sites total.
Same price as a wilderness family campsite or as a wilderness group campsite
Access to waterfront.
Campers accessing their site by boat are required to book waterfront campsites.
Wilderness Pet Friendly Campsite
Plus $5/night per pet
Pets with up-to-date licenses and rabies vaccinations are welcome in the Round Valley campground and must be on-leash at all times.
Cancellations & Refunds:
Current reservations can be transferred to a future date, up to 11 months in advance.
All cancellations will incur a cancellation fee. The cancellation fee for a campsite is $40 for NJ Residents, $50 for Non-Residents, or a two-night use fee (whichever is less), this fee will be deducted from any refund due.
Drinking Water is not always available and we encourage campers to bring their own water. The drinking water spigots can be found near campsites 7 and 77, all other water spigots are closed. Campers who choose the middle campsites (sites 30 to 50) need to be prepared to walk up to 3 miles round-trip to access drinking water.
Dumpsters are available at the restroom buildings, carry-in/carry-out is encouraged. Please do not leave trash at the campsite.
Restrooms are primitive pit toilets. Showers are not available.
Alcohol is prohibited.
PARK ADVISORY:Due to variable water levels at Round Valley Reservoir, larger boats may have trouble utilizing the earthen boat launch and/or accessing the wilderness campsites and the shoreline may be significantly muddy after rain. Please plan accordingly and call the Park Office for current conditions.
Swimming is only permitted at the Round Valley Swimming Beach the summer months when lifeguards are on duty from 10:00 am to 5:30 pm. Swimming is never permitted in the main reservoir/camp/from boats.
Round Valley’s swimming area was created by the construction of an earth dam across a narrow waterway on the west side of the reservoir, separating the swimming water from the main reservoir.
During the swimming season visitors will find a beach complex containing a first-aid station, changing areas, restrooms, showers, and a concession building where food and beach supplies are available for purchase. Please call ahead for concession hours of operation. The beach also includes two playgrounds and beach volleyball nets.
Inner tubes, rafts, and other flotation devices are not permitted; only Coast Guard approved life jackets are permitted. Grilling is not permitted along the beachfront and you must bring your own trash bags and take all your trash and belongings home with you. Boating is not permitted within the swimming area. Pets are not permitted on the sandy beach; pets on-leash are welcome along the sidewalk, in the picnic areas, and on the trails.
Every trail within the park is ideal for observing birds and wildlife. During the quiet morning hours belted kingfishers and blue herons can be spotted along the Beach Promenade, the hiking trails are home to a surprising array of species, and boaters might be fortunate to spot the eagles that call Round Valley their home. Guided bird walks are offered in the autumn, winter, and spring. View the calendar of events online or on the sign at the park entrance.
The Public Boat Launch at Round Valley Reservoir is administered by the New Jersey Division of Fish & Wildlife and this boat launch is located outside of the park. Launching is permitted with the ownership of a current fishing license, hunting license, trapping license and/or annual boat ramp permit. Permits can be purchased online by visiting the NJ Fish & Wildlife homepage and following the links for licenses and permits; a log-in is required to access the permit purchasing platform. Permits can also be purchased at local bait shops.
The Camper Launch located within Round Valley Recreation Area is reserved for registered campers who are boating to their campsite, all other boaters must use the Public Boat Launch located down the road.
Boating Overview: Round Valley Reservoir is open to traditional motor boating (electric and gas, 10 horsepower limit), sailing (mast height limit: 30 feet above the waterline), canoeing, kayaking, and paddleboarding. Motorized jet skis are not permitted. Inflatable boats are required to have at least three separate air chambers. All watercraft (except for campground access) must launch from the Public Boat Launch, which is equipped with a cartop launch and a trailer launch with ramps and docks. A Coast Guard approved personal flotation device (PFD) is required for each person on board a watercraft. Boaters are responsible for knowing and obeying all State Park Service, NJ State Police Marine Service, and New Jersey State Boating Regulations. Boats must comply with all New Jersey State Boating Regulations. Bring your own boat, rentals are not available.
Wind Warning Lights: Round Valley has four wind warning lights on the north dam, south dam, public boat launch, and at the center of the campgrounds. The white lights flash when the sustained wind speed on the reservoir reaches 25+ miles per hour at which time all boaters must clear the reservoir or beach at the nearest shoreline. To ensure a safe and enjoyable experience, boaters should read the sign posted at the boat launch.
Bus groups with a confirmed reservation are welcome to visit the park on designated weekdays. Bus groups without a reservation are not permitted. Bus groups are not permitted on weekends or holidays.
The Park Staff offer a variety of historical and natural interpretive programs throughout the year. Visit the events listing on the Round Valley Facebook page or contact the Park Office for a schedule of programs and to register. Program fees may apply.
Round Valley Recreation Area also administers the Wallace House & Old Dutch Parsonage State Historic Sites. These historic sites were the location of George Washington’s winter headquarters during the Revolutionary War’s Middlebrook Cantonment (1778-1779) and they were the historic home of the founder and first president of Rutgers University.
Follow Wallace House & Old Dutch Parsonage at Eventbrite and Facebook for upcoming special events and interpretive programs. Email email@example.com or call 908-725-1015 to schedule an historic houses tour.
The crystal-clear waters of Round Valley Reservoir are home to many of New Jersey’s largest fish. More NJ State Records for freshwater sport fish have been set at Round Valley Reservoir than at any other waterbody, record-setting species include American eel, smallmouth bass, brown trout, and lake trout. The reservoir is stocked by the New Jersey Division of Fish and Wildlife.
For fishing regulations please refer to the New Jersey Division of Fish and Wildlife’s Fishing Digest.
Round Valley Recreation Area offers deer and waterfowl hunting opportunities, no small game. Hunting is permitted Mondays through Saturdays during designated seasons and in designated areas; no hunting on Sundays or state holidays. All hunters must register at the Park Office and are responsible for knowing and obeying both NJ State Park Service rules & regulations and NJ Division of Fish & Wildlife rules & regulations.
Deer Bow Hunting Seasons: Hunters must complete an annual registration form at the Park Office prior to bow hunting at Round Valley Recreation Area. There are seven designated hunting sites within the recreation area, one person at a time may utilize each hunting site, hunters will sign-in/sign-out of their chosen sites at the Park Office. For more information, please review the following documents:
Bow Hunting Area Map and Rules
Deer Six Day Firearm Season: Hunters must complete an annual registration form at the Park Office prior to participating in the six day firearm season at Round Valley’s Wilderness Campground. A sign-in/sign-out sheet is available at the center of the campground. For more information, please review the following documents:
Six Day Firearm Hunting Area Map and Rules
Waterfowl Hunting: Waterfowl hunting is permitted at Round Valley Reservoir.
First-come, First-served Picnic Areas:
There are three picnic areas within the recreation area. The East Picnic Area and North Picnic Area are shaded by trees and located at each end of the beach; grills must stay within the picnic area, grilling is not permitted on the beach. The West Picnic Area is located on a sunny hillside overlooking the reservoir.
Each picnic area has several charcoal grills, many picnic tables with benches, one playground, and one covered pavilion that can accommodate 5-10 people on a first-come, first-served basis. Restrooms are open seasonally. Please bring your own garbage bags and carry all of your trash out with you.
Water clarity and rich aquatic life make Round Valley Reservoir one of the best freshwater lakes in New Jersey for scuba diving and snorkeling. All divers are required to register at the park office, have a dive buddy, and have the proper dive gear including an inflatable vest and a dive flag at the minimum. Scuba divers must be certified.
Divers are required to register with the Round Valley Park Office. Divers can register in advance by submitting their registration form in-person at the office; we recommend bringing printed copies of your diver certification cards because the cell/internet reception in the park is limited and digital copies may not be able to load or transmit. Divers are required to check-in prior to each dive, check-out after each dive, and comply with diving hours.
Diving is permitted for registered divers from April 1 through October 31, depending upon water conditions and park capacity. Divers must register at the park office and check-in/out at the office before and after each dive. Dive hours are 10am to 2pm in April, May, and October. Dive hours are 8am to 4pm in June through September.
A NJ State Park Service Special Use Permit is required for various types of short-duration, organized activities or events within a state park, forest, or historic site. Examples of organized activities or events that require a special use permit include, but are not limited to: commercial photography and/or filming, concerts, corporate events, demonstrations, fundraisers, festivals, press events, races and walkathons, televised events, weddings, and/or commercial use on State Park Service lands and/or waters.
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.
Cordwood Permit: The Homeowners Firewood Program provides New Jersey residents with an inexpensive source of wood to augment their firewood supplies as well as an outdoor recreational opportunity for many families in the fall and winter months. The cost of the permit for cutting firewood is $25 per cord and the fee is non-refundable. A cord is a stack of wood, four feet by four feet by eight feet. Firewood is available to the public on a reservation basis, which can be made in-person or over the phone. Anyone interested in obtaining firewood through this program should contact one of the participating areas to receive information regarding wood availability and to pay for a Cordwood Permit for a two-day cutting reservation.
Metal Detecting Permit: Metal detecting is permitted on the sandy beach at Round Valley Recreation Area and offers a fun opportunity to search for “buried treasure” and a rewarding chance to reunite people with their lost items. Unclaimed lost-and-found items are available to the finder after 90 days. Annual metal detecting permits are free and may be obtained at the Park Office.
There are four marked trails at Round Valley: Cushetunk Trail (red), Family Hike & Bike Trail (white), Pine Tree Trail (green), and Water Trail (blue). All trails are accessed from the South Parking Lot. Trails are open year-round, visitors should plan their trail activities to be out of the park by closing time and are reminded to stay on the path. Wandering off trail 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 and carrying-out their trash. Drinking water for long-distance hikers is available along the lower service road located in the campground. There are no trails that completely circle the reservoir.
Horseback riding is permitted on two trails: the Cushetunk Trail and the three-mile Campground Trail.
Mountain Biking is permitted on the Cushetunk Trail, and Campground Trail. Biking is permitted on the Family Hike & Bike Trail and the Pine Tree Trail, please ride respectfully on these multiuse trails. Biking is not permitted on the Water Trail.
The Pine Tree Trail and the Family Hiking and Biking Trail are both loops approximately one mile long. These trails pass through a pine forest and are ideal for young children, birdwatchers, and seniors.
The Water Trail is 0.85 miles long and it does not loop, trail users can adventure there-and-back or connect to the Pine Tree Trail at the end of the Water Trail by following the trail blazes up the hill to the left of the gate at the impoundment dike. This trail is approximately two miles roundtrip.
The Cushetunk Trail, which provides access to the wilderness campgrounds, is an 8.35 mile trail that traverses the ridge of the Cushetunk Mountain and passes through both meadow and forest areas. The trail surface is rugged, rocky, and steep in places, which makes it suitable for experienced hikers. The Cushetunk Trail connects to the Cushetunk Mountain Preserve, a Hunterdon County Park. The Cushetunk Trail does not loop back to Round Valley Recreation Area and trail users must be prepared to travel there and back again.
During the winter months many cross-country skiers utilize the trails and slopes throughout the park.
When weather conditions permit, visitors may ice boat on the reservoir.
Ice fishing is permitted on the reservoir and swimming impound. Fishing is subject to New Jersey Division of Fish & Wildlife regulations.
Ice Skating is not permitted.
The East Picnic Area offers an excellent sledding hill that is conveniently located near a heated restroom and an outdoor playground. Toboggan Hill near the Park Office is also a favorite location for sledding during the snowy winter months. Parking space at the office is limited, additional parking is available in the South Lot, a short hike away Toboggan Hill; please do not park on the road.
Access & Restrictions
Round Valley Recreation Area recreational facilities are partially accessible for persons with disabilities. Please contact the park office at 908-236-6355 for 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.
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]
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)]
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.
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.
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)]
Swimming is permitted at the sandy beach, while lifeguards are on duty, from mid-June to Labor Day. The beach area includes changing rooms, restrooms, showers, a first-aid station, and a concession building where food and beach supplies may be purchased. Inner tubes, rafts, and other flotation devices are not permitted in the swimming area. Only U.S. Coast Guard approved life jackets are allowed.
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.
1220 Stanton-Lebanon Road
Lebanon, NJ 08833-3115
1220 Stanton-Lebanon Road
Lebanon, NJ 08833-3115
Gate 8 am – 4 pm
Park Office 9 am - 4 pm, Monday - Friday
Office Closed, Saturday - Sunday