Cheesequake State Park – Steamboat Landing

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Steamboat Landing makes for a scenic hike destination along Cheesequake Creek.

Sometimes you get so familiar with a place that areas go overlooked.

I was flipping through 60 Hikes Within 60 Miles: New York City, yet again, but this time a spot on their Cheesequake hike map caught my eye – “Steamboat Landing”.

We’ve been to Cheesequake at least a bajillion and a half times – it’s our go-to park when we need a quick good hike nearby – so I never paid much attention to entries on Cheesequake in hiking books.

I pulled up the relatively new Cheesequake park map to take a look and realized to get to Steamboat Landing meant a right turn onto a boring looking park road that we’d always ignored as we headed straight on the green trail.

Miles: 5.7

Route:  YELLOW – GREEN/RED – BLUE – GREEN – Unmarked park road (“Museum Road” on map) – Steamboat Landing then backtrack to GREEN. This route can be found in 60 Hikes Within 60 Miles: New York City.

Check our main Cheesequake State Park page for park info and a trail map.

Part of the allure of Cheesequake for us is that we can go without having to plan a route or look at the map and just hike… but here we’d missed something.

For years.

Hunh.

Lately our weekends had been taken up with trip planning and then being away (see “Hiking Mt. Vesuvius, Italy” if interested… or just bored at work…), and we needed a quick hike to get back into the swing of things… so it was off to Cheesequake. 

RED, GREEN, and YELLOW start a few steps from the parking lot. This route takes the YELLOW first.

RED, GREEN, and YELLOW start a few steps from the parking lot. This route takes the YELLOW first.

Hooks Creek Lake on the YELLOW trail.

Hooks Creek Lake on the YELLOW trail.

Steps on the BLUE trail.

BLUE trail

Long cool wooden boardwalk through a marshy area on the BLUE trail.

[Update 4/2021: this boardwalk is long gone now… from being constantly flooded, or storm damage, possibly Sandy… can’t recall. BLUE is routed away from here.].

BLUE trail

Perrine Pond, on the BLUE trail.

Perrine Pond, on the BLUE trail

So this time we made that right turn onto unmarked “Museum Road”.

The big old park sign at the intersection says “Dock Road” is to the right. I cannot tell you how many times I’ve seen that sign but have not really read it.

(The sound you hear is the slap of my hand against my forehead).

The wide woods park road was mostly non-descript as expected.

Museum Road

We passed a trail on the right marked with an orange blaze that wasn’t on the park map (we checked it out on the way back: it just leads to Dock Road.)

In a bit, the trail comes to a metal gate. On the other side of that is another woods road going both left and right, and a path up a hill straight ahead.

The gate on Dock Road.

To the right or up the hill ends up at the same place – but the hill is more scenic and you get an overview of the area.

Approaching Steamboat Landing from the hill

After those paths join, we were in a marshy area that was muddy and had tall reeds around.

It ends at “Steamboat Landing”, a scenic little spot along Cheesequake Creek with a few geese floating along. Just some wooden posts are all that are left of the landing.

Steamboat Landing on Cheesequake Creek

There area itself is just a muddy little patch with nothing but a low remnant of concrete slab to sit on, but the view is nice.

Mmuddy patch and old cement on the right for a seat.

There is an osprey nest off to the side. Bring binoculars or use your camera zoom lens to check it out.

Osprey and their nesting platform

We saw one osprey sitting on a post and another in the nest.

Osprey on a post, seen through the reeds

Heading back on the GREEN trail.

Drought evident along a normally wet-n-squishy crossing on the Green Trail.

Wet trail area with boardwalk

Old Timey Fun: A bit of info and some photos for Steamboat Landing can be found in Old Bridge, NJ – Images of America, and it’s info on Steamboat Landing comes up on Google Books here.

New Fun: Whilst poking around for info, I also found this article on kayak tours that land at this spot for a lunch break: “Human Powered Adventure in Central New Jersey” (article no longer there). Check with the park for current kayak tours offered.

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