Woosamonsa Ridge Preserve

Woosamonsa Ridge Preserve

D&R Greenway Land Trust & Friends of Hopewell Valley Open Space
270 Woosamonsa Rd, Pennington, NJ 08543
Dawn to Dusk | Stays open during hunting season (wear orange M-Sa)
(609) 924-4646 (D&R) | (609) 730-1560 (FoHVOS)   Website    Google Maps     Trail Map

Gravitas:   Challenge:     Proximity:

Special notes for parents
This is a lovely hike with multiple, easy stream crossings, wrapping over dramatic ridge-lines. Cumulatively you gain and lose about 250 vertical feet over the 2.1 mile main circuit, divided among 2 main climbs, and a few little ones. Most of the trail system is laid out on old woods-roads. They’re fairly wide and well-graded, though footing is occasionally rocky.

Woo, woo, woo!

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 conserves some of the headwaters of Jacob’s Creek, but here it is little more than a rill. The blue-blazed Creekside Trail that parallels it delivers interest but not stunning beauty.

Crossing Jacob’s Creek at the northern (upstream) end of the Ridge Trail. All of the crossings (which includes even smaller tributaries) appear well designed and should be relatively easy to cross except when the streams are in flood.

On the other hand, Woosamonsa Ridge Preserve offers superb woodland views, and a compact, nicely designed trail system that provides loop hikes with variations. The principal loop consists of the Ridge Trail (white blazes) and the Hollow Brook Trail (red blazes). This combined loop is 2.1 miles long and enjoys 260 feet of cumulative elevation gain, with the longest, single pitch gaining about 120 vertical feet. In combination with the yellow-blazed Valley Trail, and the Creekside Trail, you can shorten or extend your walk in multiple combinations. Moreover, in November 2021 an additional trail appeared to be under construction, climbing another 100 feet in elevation. When completed, this will certainly improve an already enjoyable trail network.

Diversity of colors on the Hollow Brook Trail. (click to enlarge)

We had the distinct pleasure of walking the Preserve in mid-November. Many leaves had fallen, opening mid-distance views of the surrounding slopes, and long-distance, partial views of neighboring ridges. What leaves remained on the trees were delivering peak colors, and a diversity of trees and bushes translated to an unusually varied color palette.

Beginners will certainly enjoy these trails, which appear to be mostly converted woods roads rather than purpose-built hiking trails. They are (almost absurdly) well-blazed and easy to follow. Footing can be touchy in spots, as the trail surfaces are rocky. Generally trails drain well, but we had to tip-toe around and through a few low-lying, muddy patches (nothing serious, however).

After a snow fall, the relatively wide trails should deliver excellent back country skiing opportunities for intermediate to expert level skiers who are comfortable with the moderate slopes and turning requirements.

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