Cheesequake State Park – After Hurricane Sandy

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Hiking Cheesequake State Park after Hurricane Sandy.

Cheesequake State Park is one of our favorite places to hike in New Jersey. It’s our nearby go-to park when we want to get in a nice short hike without having to drive far.

We’d read that it had been hit particularly hard by Hurricane Sandy, but didn’t have a chance to check it out until the day after Thanksgiving.

Miles: 4.0 (roughly… didn’t GPS it)

Route: GREEN to parking lot, then YELLOW to the lake and bridge, and back.

For a detailed hike guide, visit our main Cheesequake State Park- Green Trail page

The park staff and volunteers had already made quick work of clearing most of the trails, and marking detours around really damaged areas.

Closed BLUE Trail
Signs are posted for any trail detours

It was hard to see so many large trees down or snapped in half – but such is the cycle of nature.

Large blow down on the GREEN trail

With some large blow-downs, new trail sections have been blazed around them.

With some large blow-downs, new trail sections have been blazed around them.

Our absolute favorite spot in the park has always been the twisting boardwalk that snakes through the cedar swamp.

Uprooted section of boardwalk in the cedar swamp section of the GREEN trail

This area had seemed to be taking a beating with storms in recent years, but we were really bummed to find out the boardwalk had been completely uprooted and many trees toppled onto each other.

Closer look (we walked over to see the damage, the trail is re-routed away from this)

The trail is now diverted to a side trail as travel through the area is blocked off. It may be like that for a year or so.

Trail rerouted away from the cedar swamp

Since we’d last been to the park, a long section of boardwalk that had been destroyed by Irene was replaced, and a whole new section of trail was open (both on the GREEN trail).

New boardwalk that replaced a washed out section from Irene

This new section now skirts an area that was often seriously wet, even with the boardwalks that had been added. It was fun hiking through a whole new area of the park we’d never been to.

Uprooted section of boardwalk on the GREEN trail:

Uprooted section of boardwalk on the GREEN trail

Large blow down on the GREEN trail:

Large blow down on the GREEN trail

After doing the GREEN trail, we headed back out on the YELLOW and over to Hooks Lake and the crabbing bridge.

New section of the GREEN trail

We’d seen photos of the crabbing bridge area totally submerged right after the hurricane, but this area seemed to bounce back just fine.

Hooks Creek Lake, off the YELLOW trail

Comedy Routine Missed Opportunity: Coming back on the YELLOW trail, we passed a family out hiking.

Their adorable young girl stops us and goes – with a slight breathless excitement – “Just up ahead, you’re going to come up to the number 7!”.

(there are numbered plaques throughout the park to mark various plants/trees).

So, a little surprised, we laughed and said “oh, ok, thank you!”.

We continue on and about 15 seconds later Tom goes “ugh! I just realized I should have told her I was a little scared then, because 7 8 9.”

Ba dum bump.

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