Pleasant hike over rolling hills and through beautiful marshlands with the assistance of numerous boardwalks.
Updated 11/7/14 – New video, and photos added that show the trail through the seasons. Description and GPX updated to reflect that the detour around the cedar swamp is gone, and include the green trail reroute from early 2013.
3.2 Miles. Easy to moderate, some minor elevation change.
- Shorter: Just YELLOW or RED loops.
- Longer: 4.0 miles – Add YELLOW to the GREEN
- Longer, variation: 4.3 miles – YELLOW, BLUE & GREEN loop
Our two cents: This park is a great intro to hiking, with a nice variety of trees, plenty of boardwalks, a lake, and a crabbing bridge. Different length loops allow everything from short jaunts to stitching together a 6-8 mile loop. Nice nature center, plus a swimming area in season (though the playground only had swings – the jungle gym was gone as of 11/2015 – bummer).
Map: Ranger station and interpretive center should have park maps or print it out ahead from the park site.
Restrooms: Restrooms at ranger station and interpretive center, and comfort stations near the campground (seasonal).
Fees: From Memorial Day through Labor Day an entrance fee is charged. You can also purchase an annual NJ Park Pass.
Parking: N40 26.165 W74 15.932
From the Garden State Parkway, take exit 120, follow brown state park signs. Or take Rt 34 to Cheesequake-Morristown Road and turn onto Gordon Rd, and follow into park. There is a gate, and the ranger station on your right. Shortly after is the hikers parking on your left. There is another lot further in the park for the beach and lake.
The GREEN, RED, BLUE and YELLOW trails from this lot are foot traffic only. The WHITE biking trail is another area of the park.
Hike Directions: Overview: This route is entirely on the GREEN trail but RED, BLUE and YELLOW will join and leave along the way.
0.0 – Start at the huge wooden TRAIL HEAD arch near the trail kiosk and map sign. Follow GREEN. Almost immediately the trail splits: bear LEFT and follow the stepped boardwalk down. [YELLOW veers right at another huge arch]
At the end of the stairs, turn LEFT (The YELLOW trail continues straight).
Walk over a small bridge and head up the hill to the Interpretive Center, continuing on GREEN.
0.3 – Long set of steps up a hill.
At the T-junction turn left and follow RED/GREEN. [BLUE leaves to the right].
0.6 – Cross the park road (Perrine Road, on the trail map), and turn RIGHT to follow GREEN [RED leaves to the left]. There is a bench and a sign about the RED and GREEN trails..
The trail continues down a hill and some steps, and over a long boardwalk over a seasonally wet area.
1.0 – After a short set of steps up, turn RIGHT, following the trail as it zig-zags over a boardwalk through a cedar swamp… really nifty and our favorite spot in the park. This area was extensively damaged by Hurricane Sandy and closed for over a year.
Cross the wide dirt park road (called Museum Rd on the trail map), continuing straight on GREEN. On the right you will pass an area that is recovering from a fire several years ago.
1.4 – The GREEN trail bears left and goes up a slightly steep hill on a set of stairs.
The trail runs along the back of several business properties and over some bridges. Keep following GREEN when it bears sharply left – there are a few unmarked paths in this area that lead off.
1.9 – Follow GREEN to the RIGHT when approaching the park road.
2.0 – Turn LEFT on to a long boardwalk and then cross a wooden bridge over a stream.
2.3 – After a somewhat marshy area (it used to be more so) with a lot of roots and a small observation platform, the trail heads uphill to the right.
2.6 – GREEN joins the park road near the campground. Turn LEFT and walk along the park road, passing the group campgrounds and comfort stations.
2.7 – Turn RIGHT at the wooden trail arch off of the park road and on to trail again, now following GREEN/RED. Continue past the campgrounds on the right before arriving at the park road.
2.8 – Turn RIGHT on to the park road (called Museum Rd on the trail map) and follow it back to the parking lot.
Hiked: 11/3/15. Variation; Yellow, Blue, and Green trails.
Hiked: 9/20/14. Variation; Green and Blue trails.
Hiked: 1/6/14. Trail Blog: “Snowy Green Trail”
Hiked: 12/14/13. Trail Blog: “Green Trail in the Snow”
Hiked: 2/18/13. Trail Blog: “Yellow, Red, Green”
Hiked: 1/5/13. Trail Blog: “Green and Yellow Trails”
Hiked: 11/23/12. Trail Blog: “After Hurricane Sandy”
Hiked: 4/21/12. Trail Blog: “Steamboat Landing”
Hiked: 9/10/11. Trail Blog: “After Irene”
Hiked: 1/16/11. Trail Blog: “Winter Hikes: D&R Canal, Cheesequake S.P.”
Hiked: 4/4/09. Trail Blog: “Green Trail”