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Princeton Hiking Trails

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Autumn Hill Reservation

The park contains 78 wooded acres, with about 1.8 miles of well maintained trails. The most striking characteristic is the complete solitude it offers, with only occasional traffic or airplane noise. Several old stone walls, one of which runs along the border with Somerset County, mark pre-existing farms in the area. Three pairs of benches built by Boy Scout Troop 43, some old logs and two picnic tables, one of which is at the parking lot, offer opportunity for rest.

     Hiking Trails  

Carson Road Woods

Carson Road Woods offers a network of walking routes. Most follow the margins of open fields along the edge of the woods or along hedgerows. One trail wanders through a forest of tall beech trees, and one section of trail hugs the course of a small brook that is a tributary of the Stony Brook.

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Cedar Ridge Preserve

This property is a combination of meadow, forest and streams covering approximately 30 acres at the edge of the Sourland Mountains. The Cedar Ridge Trail is a preservation project of D&R Greenway Land Trust. The land includes a stream corridor to the Stony Brook, wetlands, woodlands and habitat for wildlife.

     Hiking Trails     Nature Reserves  

Curliss Lake Woods

The land of this nature preserve formerly belonged to Howe Nursery. It was used by Mr. Howe to hold his plantings (many from the Southern Appalachians) until they were to be used. Many species along these trails are not usually found in this area. The Green, Howe’s Lane and Redwood trails all tunnel through thickets of wild rose, shrubs and young trees. The trail is broad and easy to follow. Periodically, as at the redwood trees, there is a clearing and sturdy bench.

     Hiking Trails  

D & R Canal State Park

The trail is made of fine textured crushed stone and is for hiking, jogging and biking. No horses, motorized vehicles, or ATVs are permitted. The trail can be entered at 21 points in this segment of the park, 10 of which have Park-designated parking space. Walks or bicycle rides can begin and end at these various points (remember to double the distances!), or be made one-way by leaving a car or arranging pick-up at the completion point.

     Biking Trails     Hiking Trails  

Greater Mountain Lakes Open Space Area

The Greater Mountain Lakes Open Space Area, a “central park” in Princeton, consists of some 400 acres just north of the center of town, with a wide variety of hiking and biking trails, some connecting to other trails outside of the area described here. Along with views of Tusculum, the estate built by John Witherspoon, and historic Coventry Farm, it features open fields, several small streams and lakes, old stone walls, boulder fields, and old growth pine and hardwood forests. The area may be divided into three sections: Mountain Lakes Preserve/Mountain Lakes North; John Witherspoon Woods and parts of Tusculum; and Community Park North. Most of the remainder of Tusculum, to the east, and Coventry Farm, to the west, is private open space.

     Biking Trails     Hiking Trails  

Hamilton-Trenton Marsh/Watson Woods

This trail system, part of John Roebling Memorial Park and the Mercer County Park System, offers an easy walk along the Watson Wood Trail and Abbott Bluffs trail, past the oldest house in Mercer County, to a viewpoint over the marsh by the Abbott house site. The Abbott Brook trail is a loop through the wooded swamp and wet woods bordering the tidal marsh.

     Hiking Trails  

Herrontown Woods

Herrontown Woods, lying across the eastern end of the Princeton Ridge, offers more than three miles of trails through pleasant woods. An open right-of-way for the underground Transco Gas Pipeline bisects the property southwest to northeast, crossing several of the trails, and offering longer views. Intermittent streams come down from the ridge to join a creek near the parking lot. The 142-acre property is owned by Mercer County and managed by the County Park Commission.

     Hiking Trails     Nature Reserves  

Hopewell Borough Park

Hopewell Borough Park is owned and managed by Hopewell Borough. In some literature this park is also called Gazebo Park. The park contains several walking trails that wind along the Beden Brook and into old farm pasture. There is a small playground at the north end of the park by Columbia Avenue, as well as a gazebo that hosts music during the summer months. A combination of walks can be put together from 10 – 60 minutes in length.

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Institute Woods

A coalition of nonprofit organizations, with support from the New Jersey Green Acres program and Princeton Township, in 2000 preserved as open space a 550-acre property owned by the Institute for Advanced Study. With the cooperation and ongoing financial contribution of the Institute, the coalition protected the Institute Woods and adjacent farmlands. These lands remain under Institute ownership and are not a public park, but the Institute graciously allows members of the public to use the Institute Woods. Flat trails, ideal for leisurely walks, jogging, and cross-country skiing (no wheeled vehicles), lace through the majestic woods, skirting farmlands that offer vistas unchanged since the American Revolution, and running along the Stony Brook past the Charles H. Rogers Wildlife refuge. Walkers can go from the Institute Woods to the D&R Canal towpath by crossing an arm of the Stony Brook on stepping stones.

     Hiking Trails  

John A. Roebling Park, Island Trails

This island was very likely used by the Lenape Indians as a hunting and fishing area. Later it was used as a residence and base for trapping muskrats. The northern part of the island near the beaver dam was used as a construction dump and as a car and truck repair site. Piles of rocks and other industrial artifacts are a reminder of this part of the history of the island.

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Kate's Trail

Kate’s Trail is on a 60 acre conservation easement held by D&R Greenway Land Trust. The area of the easement with the trail and public access covers 20 acres. The remaining 40 acre easement does not allow public access but will remain as permanent open space. If you stay on the path you will not trespass on the eased area that is not open to the public. The distance from the road to the Stony Brook is about 1/4 mile. This is a wonderful walk in the woods, just 10 minutes from downtown Princeton. It is not uncommon, in season, to spot a Great Blue Heron, Wood Ducks, an Eastern Box turtle, Scarlet Tanagers and Baltimore Orioles. A Northern Harrier was seen across the river one fine day. Close to 1/4 mile of the trail follows close to the Stony Brook. Take a look at the American bladdernut trees as you take the stone steps down the ridge toward the river.

     Hiking Trails  

Laura Chauncey Trail/ETS

The circular trail winds along the Stony Brook through young and mature woods to the gas pipeline right of way where the trail turns into a mowed path through a meadow. Along the way, there are many bridges over intermittent streams, beautiful views and access to the stream and one area of nice outcropping of red shale and argillite.

     Hiking Trails  

Northern Stony Brook Greenway (McBurney Woods)

The 375-acre Northern Stony Brook Greenway Preserve is owned by D&R Greenway Land Trust and it is an important link in a chain of forested parcels that stretches for 60 miles along the ridge of Sourland Mountain. PICNIC ROCK LOOP: Long sections of this trail wind through high-quality forest with mature trees and a decent understory. This is an excellent birding spot during migrations. It has gorgeous fall color. The trail parallels several sections of old stone walls and has a particularly pretty section along the Stony Brook tributary. DOUBLE CROSSING LOOP: This trail gets its name because it crosses the Stony Brook two times along its route. The double stream crossing is a fun part of the loop, and you’ll find yourself saying, “It doesn’t get any prettier than this” as you hike along the Stony Brook.

     Hiking Trails  

Princeton Day School/Pond View

This trail is primarily intended to be a connector with the Mountain Lakes area and Woodfield Reservation. It connects with the Stuart trail running from the Great Road to Mountain Lakes North. Please put note in your windshield that says you are on hiking trails.

     Hiking Trails  

Sourland Mountain Preserve - Somerset

Sourland Mountain Preserve in Somerset County is 3,025 acres of woodlands, boulder fields, unique wetlands, and steep hillsides.Passive recreational opportunities include hiking, mountain biking, bird watching, orienteering, bird watching, and bouldering. The trails described here are located on the northern most border of Montgomery Township in Hillsborough Township. Sourland Mountain Preserve is part of the Sourland Mountains, a 90 square mile area extending over five townships (Montgomery, Hillsborough, Hopewell, West Amwell and East Amwell) and three counties (Mercer, Somerset and Hunterdon) in central New Jersey. The Sourlands consist of the main Sourland Ridge with an elevation ranging from 300 – 600 feet and several geologically similar adjoining areas, including Baldpate Mountain, Mount Rose and Pheasant Hill.

     Biking Trails     Hiking Trails     Nature Reserves  

St. Michaels Farm Preserve

Now over 400 acres, the St. Michaels property, which was preserved in 2010 and expanded in 2017, is an expanse of farm fields and forests on the edge of Hopewell Borough. From many parts of this preserve the visitor has long views, lending the preserve a wonderful expansiveness which promotes a sense of well-being in anyone who walks its many farm roads and paths.

     Hiking Trails     Nature Reserves  

The Lawrence Hopewell Trail


The Lawrence Hopewell Trail is over 20 miles of multipurpose, recreational trails that run through public and private lands in Lawrence and Hopewell Townships. The idea for the LHT grew out of a commitment to improving the quality of life for all who live or work in Lawrence Township and Hopewell. More specifically, the trail will help provide an active and liveable community with opportunities for recreation, health and fitness, transportation, and outdoor education.

     Biking Trails     Environmental     Hiking Trails     Recreation  

The Watershed Institute


Hours: Dawn to dusk
The 860-acre Watershed Reserve in Hopewell NJ offers outdoor experiences for the entire family. Visitors can enjoy the animals and exhibits of the Buttinger Nature Center, the butterflies and garden habitats of the Kate Gorrie Butterfly House (in season), and more more than 10 miles of hiking trails. The Reserve is owned and managed by The Watershed Institute - central New Jersey's first environmental group. The Watershed Institute protects clean water and the environment throughout the 265-square-mile region of central New Jersey drained by the Stony Brook and Millstone River. For directions or to learn more visit

Veterans Park Trails

The land for this 350 acre park was originally part of the John Abbott II farm. The old farm house (circa 1730), the foundation of the barn, a smoke house, a doctor’s office (1840) and herb garden can all be seen in the historic area at the South Entrance. The land was purchased for the park in 1977. The acreage is about to be increased to 450 acres. There are seven walking trails in addition to the paved bikeways in the park. The trails are named by colors and are marked with thick posts the tops of which are painted the color of the trail. All trails are relatively flat and wide with benches, and outlooks along them.

     Biking Trails     Hiking Trails  

Woodfield Reservation

Woodfield Reservation is an irregularly shaped tract of almost 100 acres. It is a prime illustration of undisturbed land of Princeton Ridge, which has been called an "island of forest" in a "sea of suburban and agricultural development." The Reservation is covered with a mature forest and has many fairly steep slopes, making it suitable for vigorous walkers. Two of the most interesting features of Woodfield are Council Rock, which overlooks a large, heavily bouldered basin, and Tent Rock, a massive boulder.

     Hiking Trails  

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