Woosamonsa Ridge Preserve

Woosamonsa Ridge is possibly the most beautiful, small hiking preserve local to the Princeton-Trenton corridor, and compares to more distant favorites like Zega-Lockatong and Wickecheoke Creek. Those other preserves provide access to much larger and more dramatic streams. Woosamonsa Ridge … Read More

Mount Rose Ridge

On its own, this is a charming, fairly steep little climb of about 120′ vertical elevation up and over the southernmost ridge in the Sourlands. It is the northernmost section of the Watershed Preserve’s main trail, but except for the … Read More

Fiddlers Creek Preserve

Fiddler’s Creek Preserve is a 120 acre parcel directly south of the Baldpate Preserve, on the opposite side of Fiddler’s Creek Road. It provides two miles of Beginner to Intermediate trails, none with more than 80 feet of vertical elevation change, through fields, woods, and (most interestingly) Fiddler’s Creek Ravine. Kids will enjoy the rock walls of the ravine and the historic ruins.

Point Mountain Preserve

The Point Mountain Preserve is one of the nicest hikes in NJ. Yes, it’s over an hour from Trenton, but it’s well worth the trip. Why? It’s a bit more challenging, and frankly fun, than most NJ hikes, and takes you through diverse habitat including corn fields, woods, a trout stream, and an ancient rock fall. Kids will love the scrambling and the views. (Driving time is about 75 minutes, Rated for Intermediate to Experienced hikers depending on the trail selected)

Witherspoon Woods / Mountain Lakes

In recent years, Princeton has gotten serious about preserving open space. Recently, Princeton added Witherspoon Woods to its park system and trail network. It’s only 40 acres, but it adds charming terrain and a slightly more challenging way to access the Mountain Lakes Preserve. I stumbled upon it by accident and fell in love with it. A wonderful introduction to “real hiking” for beginners, and a charming walk for everyone. (Driving time is about 25 minutes. Rated Beginner though the footing is rocky in places and can get muddy in wet season)

Tohickon Valley Trail System

Just 45 minutes from Trenton, across the river in Bucks county, is a spectacularly-scenic ridge-hike along Tohickon Creek. This is a moderately strenuous walk… most of the climbing (a couple of hundred vertical feet) is in the beginning along a well-graded road. To truly enjoy the hike, explore the side trails along the valley. (Driving time about 50 minutes; Rated Intermediate to Experienced, depending on how adventurous you feel in exploring the side trails)

Clayton Park

Part of the Monmouth County Park System, Clayton Park is an easy 25-minute shot from Trenton (off I-195 Exit 11). It’s absolutely lovely, featuring 8 miles of trails through a mixed habitat of mature hardwood forest, wetlands, and fields. The topography is rolling hills…there’s no more than a hundred feet or so of elevation gain at any one climb, but you can string together a few of those climbs to improve the aerobic value. More popular as a MTB trail than as a hiking trail, but both activites are lovely. (Driving time is just about 30 minutes, Rated for Beginner to Intermediate cyclists or hikers depending on where you go).