Laurie Chauncey Trail

The Laurie Chauncey Trail (“LCT”) is a gorgeous, 2 mile loop around the fringes of the ETS Campus. It stands next to the Ettl Farm Trail (“EFT”), a second loop, which adds some scenic variations and another mile or so of hiking. Both trails track along Stony Brook, a fairly considerable stream that drains much of Hopewell Township and Princeton before joining up with the Millstone in West Windsor. These trails are relatively flat with just enough undulation to be interesting.

Hacklebarney State Park

For beginning to intermediate hikers, Hacklebarney gives you a taste of what wilderness hiking is all about. The Park is truly beautiful, with trails that overlook tiny, pristine brooks that still support wild native trout (the brook trout), and descend through dense woods towards the Black River. Kids will love the streams and the rock formations. (Driving time is a little over an hour; rated Beginner to Intermediate depending on the trails you select)

Hartshorne Woods Park

Hartshorne Woods is a magical place for walking or mountain biking (or fishing or birding), located on the highest coastal escarpment on the Atlantic seaboard south of Maine. A little over an hour from Trenton, east of Red Bank, and opposite Sandy Hook, it makes a wonderful half-day excursion in its own right, or combined with a half-day at the beach. Kids will love the lush terrain so close to the ocean, and the military anachronisms such as the WWII pillboxes (Driving time is about 75 minutes; Rated Intermediate for cumulative elevation gain)

Bowmans Hill Wildflower Preserve

Bowman’s Hill has changed my life. Truly. If you read these pages at all regularly, you know I am an avid outdoorsman and hiker. But until I spent a couple of hours getting a guided tour of the Preserve in mid-April, I’d never focused on wildflowers. Now, whenever I go out for a walk (which is often) I can’t get them out of my consciousness. (Driving time is about 25 minutes; suitable for Beginner walkers)

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).

Washington Crossing State Park

What’s the closest place to Trenton to get in a reasonable hike? The answer’s simple: Washington Crossing State Park (the NJ Park, not its counterpart on the PA side). It’s only about 8 miles from downtown, a straight shot up Rt. 29 (or you can cycle up the D&R canal, if you’re truly ambitious). (Driving time is about 15 minutes; Rated for beginner to intermediate hikers depending on where you go).

Morisville Levee Walk

This is the only urban walk on this website, and it’s really quite beautiful It’s about 2.7 miles, and for most of it you can look out on the Delaware River. You will cross two bridges, and check out some of the best sights Trenton has to offer, including the Capitol, the Old Barracks, the downtown revival on Warren Street, and much more.

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