Short hike with a butterfly garden plus a side trip for viewpoints over pretty marshland.
2.5 miles, roots and a little hilly but mostly easy.
- Shorter: Only do the WHITE Trail: 1.7 miles or only Arrowsmith: 0.8
- Longer: Drive to the New Landing and Sandpit picnic areas for unmarked trails to more marshy viewpoints. Adds about 0.8 each.
- Longer: Head over to the hikers parking lot and add in another hike such as the Green Trail or a loop with Yellow, Blue, and Green.
- Nearby: John A. Phillips Preserve; Julian Capik Preserve; Henry Hudson Trail; Holmdel Park.
Our two cents:
Nice short hike with some minor hills to keep it interesting. Arrowsmith has a few pretty views over the marshes and is very short and easy.
The WHITE Trail is the only bike trail in the park, so you may be sharing the trail – but we’ve never run into bikes.
Downside: prominent road noise on both trail due to the proximity of the Parkway.
Updated: 1/2021 – Re-hiked, opposite direction. 2/2020 – Reorganized description; re-hiked.
Ranger station and interpretive center should have park maps or print it out ahead from the park site.
Note: The WHITE trail is slightly longer on older maps. The trail kiosk at the trailhead showed the longer version but the trail is blazed for the shorter version.
These trails aren’t in any book we know of.
Restrooms at ranger station at park entrance and seasonally at picnic areas like Spring Hill.
White Trail Directions:
Parking: N40.43851° W74.26085° [WHITE trail lot]
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.
Pass the gate and the ranger station, then the hikers parking on the left. At the T, turn right and the small WHITE trail lot will be on the right shortly. It holds about 7-8 cars.
WHITE trail – There is only one trail in this area, follow the WHITE blazes.
Shortly after starting, the trail splits left and right but it’s a loop so either way is fine.
[1/2021 – NOTE: There was just one WHITE arrow pointing LEFT here, it’s likely the park wants to keep the loop one-way for now so reverse the directions for the hike. ]
The trail continues across the road and to the left. To do the older, now-unmarked route you’d need to turn right down the road.
There are a few wooden footbridges.
The butterfly garden requires a side trip off the trail. There may not be much to see out of season.
The WHITE trail skirts very close to the Garden State Parkway…
So close that there is a property marker for it.
The WHITE trail continues to loop back around.
Spring Hill lot: N40.44289° W74.26144°
For the 2nd hike, drive to the Spring Hill picnic area parking by turning RIGHT out of the WHITE trailhead lot and follow signs for Spring Hill picnic area.
The parking area is on the right side just past a restroom building.
Arrowsmith Viewing Area – The trail starts at the far end of the parking lot. The wide easy path has views over the marsh and an osprey nesting platform.
At the end, it branches off left and right – both are short dead-ends to more viewing areas.
The photo below has a seagull in it but when we hiked here in January of 2020 a pair of bald eagles took off as we approached this end point.
We’ve seen bald eagles a few times in Jersey but this was the first time we’ve spotted them at Cheesequake. They were too quick for us to to get a photo but it was very cool to see.
Retrace the path when done.
But wait, there’s more:
Optional short jaunts if you want to explore more of the park. Note: These two areas are currently named on the park area map – but not the trail map.
New Landing lot: N40.44317° W74.26794°
New Landing picnic area – An unmarked trail leads past the bathroom towards picnic areas and a pavilion for more marsh views.
Sandpit picnic area – Another short unmarked trail past picnic areas for yet more marsh views.
Hiked: 1/10/21. Reversed. Hiking almost exactly 1 year later = coincidence.