We only had time for a short hike today, so we headed over to the Manasquan Reservoir in Howell. It was chilly – only 20 degrees when we left the house – making us question our choice of a park near open water. It was very, very brisk and we needed our winter hats/gloves still. We keep trying to put them away for the season, but this winter just keeps hangin’ on.
It’s been quite some time since we’d been to this very pretty park, as it’s more of a stroll around the reservoir rather than a hike. But by adding in the Cove Trail we managed to get in about 5.9 miles.
For 5.1 miles, just do the Perimeter Trail and skip Cove. You could tack on another mile and make it 6.9 if you take the Bear Swamp Connector trail out and back (it just goes to a small park, so we skipped it).
This is a popular place, with tons of joggers and handful of bikers/walkers. The trail surface is small crushed gravel and level. It’s easy to navigate as the unmarked loop simply follows around the reservoir.
We parked at the Environmental Center, but there is a smaller lot just past that (Chestnut Point) as well as a main visitor center lot. Bathrooms and trail maps are available at Enviro and the Main lots, and we noticed a portable toilet as we walked by the Chestnut Point lot.
The Perimeter Trail can be picked up from any of those lots. We took it from the entrance of the Enviro lot and turned right, following along the road and over the dike. Near the end of the hike, we turned left onto the Cove trail, which is pedestrian only and we had that to ourselves. This leads back to the Enviro Center lot.
Parking: N40 10.656 W74 13.212
Manasquan Reservoir Park Site - info, directions
Manasquan Reservoir Trail Map – updated Oct 2011
Manasquan Reservoir Trail Map – the online map was slightly older than the one at the trail kiosk, which shows a few changes in the cove trail as well as marking it green, and shows the connector path to Oak Glen Park.