Short trails along ponds and on twisty boardwalks through a shady forest, plus garden displays and a butterfly house.
2.5 miles, easy, mostly level trail surface, large roots, plank boardwalks.
- Shorter: leave the perimeter trails and cut through the center field.
- Longer: Also wander around the tree & garden displays, Butterfly House, and eco trail, and/or over to the waterfall on the end of the pond by the entrance.
- Longer: Add the Farrington Lake Trail, near the park entrance.
- Nearby: Ireland Brook Conservation Area; Forest Brook Trail; Tamarack Hollow; Van Dyke Farm.
- Bonus: Boat launch at the pond, and also nearby at Farrington Lake (not connected).
Our two cents:
This is an enjoyable series of short trails in the forested perimeter around a center field area that has garden displays. Ponds, shady forest, and boardwalks keep things interesting.
Recommended for an easy/short hike if you are in the area, but it’s probably not something to drive really far for.
Be sure to pop into the Butterfly House (usually open weekends June, July, August) in the field in the middle of the park. The Rutgers EARTH center is also here.
Print ahead from the park site.
In none that we know of.
Parking: N40° 24.658′ W74° 29.852′
Near the intersection of Riva Ave and Davidson Mill Rd. Detailed directions on the park site.
Porta-john in the parking lot, and a few others around the property.
Overview: Mill Pond (BLUE) – Farm Road (WHITE) – Hidden Pond (YELLOW)
0.0 – Walk down the paved path at the end of the parking lot. Pass a lily-filled pond and the start of the Hidden Pond (YELLOW) on the left.
0.1 – Turn RIGHT to start following Mill Pond (BLUE) at the trail kiosk.
Mill Pond (BLUE) runs along Davidson’s Mill Pond, with several open areas with views of the pond and a picnic table.
0.7 – Turn RIGHT and now follow Farm Road (WHITE). [Mill Pond (BLUE) ends. Farm Road (WHITE) also goes left and leads to the EARTH Center.]
In just a bit, turn RIGHT again when Farm Road (WHITE) splits [both directions connect later]
0.9 – Views of another pond.
1.2 – The trail starts to curve back. Turn RIGHT and now follow Hidden Pond (YELLOW). [Farm Road (WHITE) continues back to where the split was].
This trail has several boardwalks through a shady forest.
1.7 – Cross a small field near a tiny pond. At the end of the pond, turn LEFT to continue on Hidden Pond (YELLOW) (we didn’t spot a marker).
1.8 – Turn RIGHT to continue on Hidden Pond (YELLOW). There was a marker post with no marker. [Option: The unmarked wide park path leads to the center field].
Hidden Pond (YELLOW) continues on many boardwalks.
2.4 – Turn RIGHT onto the paved park path to return to the parking lot.
[Option: Turn left to walk back to the butterfly house and garden displays.]
View of Davidson’s Mill Pond and a cascade over a dam near the park entrance road:
Hiked: 8/7/16. Wildlife: Great Blue Heron. Trail Blog: “Butterflies and Gardens“