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It’s really hard to miss the beauty of the Princeton area in the fall. Tree lined streets in a myriad of colors, fall festivals at local farms, and crisp clean air that makes the outdoors bearable. When you live in a region like ours, with housing developments and shopping centers surrounded by preserved land, you’re bound to find walking trails and great hiking spots within minutes from a bustling town center. If you want to get out for a walk or go exploring, but you’re not sure where to start, I did some research and found 3 great spots to start with right here in Princeton. Take advantage of the trails now too before they’re covered in snow!
Greenway Meadows Park - Rosedale Road across from Johnson Park Elementary School. A 55-acre park on the grounds of the D&R Greenway Land Trust Estate. I’ve always passed this park on the way from Great Road to Province Line, but never stopped to explore. I’m so glad I did since I discovered the paved walking paths and pieces of art on the property. There's also a playground and soccer fields that the kids will enjoy. Register to join their planned walks on the 2nd weekend of every month from 10am to Noon. http://www.drgreenway.org/walks.htm
Institute Woods - Entrance points from Princeton Battlefield Parking Lot (by Clark House) or at the Institute for Advanced Study. The Institute acquired 589 acres of woods, wetlands, and farmland, with the woods providing a tranquil space for their scholars. The woods are a favorite spot for bird watching, running, walking and even cross-country skiing. I took my 3 girls exploring one afternoon right before sunset. They loved running through the leaf-cored paths, but we unfortunately didn’t make it all the way to the suspension bridge which I had seen in a lot of Instagram pictures. However, all was not lost since when we emerged from the woods, the sun was setting in the most beautiful way. The girls enjoyed running and twirling across the Battlefield on our way back to the car. Learn more and get there campus map at https://www.ias.edu/about/campus-lands.
Mountain Lakes Preserve - Entrance off Mountain Road off Route 206. I am familiar with Mountain Lakes for two things: weddings and the old Mountain Lakes Ice Company that supplied Princeton with ice that was harvested in the “ice pond” dam on the property. This was the first time I explored the trails which led to the pond. Consult the color-coded map before you start - or at least have your phone charged to access it. The trails are well marked, with the green one leading to the dam. At the site of the "ice pond" is some historical background on the ice harvesting and the rehabilitation of the ice dam. It’s a beautiful, peaceful place if you want to come, sit and think without the noise of Rt 206 getting in the way. Learn more at http://www.nynjtc.org/park/mountain-lakes-nature-preserve
Do you have a favorite walking path or trail? Comment below!
Hilary Morris is the community manager for Princeton Online. Get a peek into her life as a marketer, NJ influencer, girls fashion blogger and mom of 3 girls at @mrsmonj
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