Biking: Henry Hudson Trail and the Bayshore Bike Trail

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Pass through shady forests and marshlands, past backyards, over boardwalks, with views of Sandy Hook Bay, the Verrazano bridge and the NYC skyline.

24.9 miles. Keyport to Atlantic Highlands to Popamora Lake Park, and back.

Interactive Map

GPS note: we cut over on Bay Ave based on our map planning, but the signs direct you on Center… we went there on Bay and returned following the signs on Center.

Parking lot (Gerard St): N40 25.374 W74 12.724

20 Gerard Ave. Matawan, NJ 07747. The parking lot is at a ball field and there is a porta-john in the lot (which was not listed on the trail map).

There are other lots, check the trail maps for directions. The Trail Center in the Atlantic Highlands parking is: N40 24.793 W74 02.988

Books

Rail-Trails New Jersey & New York and The New Jersey Walk Book.

For resources/maps, see our Henry Hudson Trail overview page.

Out two cents:

While this is not our favorite rail-trail due to frequent stops for street crossings, we did really enjoy the shady route and the beachy scenery for a change.

I’d totally forgotten about the Henry Hudson Trail until being recently reminded of it by some photos.

Many years ago I’d biked part of this with a friend who lived near it, but I hadn’t thought of it since. With only one morning available this weekend we wanted something no more than 30-minutes away… and this fit the bill.

The north section of the Henry Hudson Trail runs for about 10 miles from Keyport to Avenue D in the Atlantic Highlands.

A little road riding through a neighborhood connects it to the Bayshore Bike Trail, for an additional 2.5 miles or so.

The southern Henry Hudson Trail contains two 5-mile sections, with several busy road miles between them (it’s not recommended to connect them).

We haven’t tried either section, but they could be an option for a 10-mile round trip. [Update: we’ve now done Henry Hudson Trail – Marlboro to Freehold]

Unlike most rail-trails, the Henry Hudson is paved and not dirt. It still can be a bit of bumpy ride with all the roots that have buckled the asphalt along the way.

The scenery runs from marshlands to shady forests, to backyards and a few industrial areas, to views of Sandy Hook Bay, the Verrazano bridge and the NYC skyline.

There are many bridges and boardwalks…. and the smell of salt air.

Henry Hudson Trail
One of several bridges and boardwalks

It also runs right next to Route 36 for a bit and there are a LOT of street crossings.

About 80% or more of these are little-trafficked streets, but the frequent crossings are the biggest negative of this trail.

Street crossing on Henry Hudson Trail

The road riding from Avenue D to connect to the Bayshore Trail is not bad at all, though it is a hill.

The Bayshore Trail then travels past a parking lot with 2 tight blind turns along a fence before switching to packed dirt and running along the water’s edge.

Bayshore Bike Trail

The Bayshore Trail ends at Popamora Lake Park where there are restrooms, and a bike rack lets you lock up your ride and walk down to the beach.

Beach at Popamora Lake Park

It’s not the prettiest beach by any means… but hey, it’s always nice to sit on the beach.

Bayshore Bike Trail on the way back

Henry Hudson Trail on the way back

Henry Hudson Trail on the way back

Randomness: We were waiting to cross one of the busier intersections when we heard a bike flying up behind us and not slowing down.

We watched in amazement as he flew right out into the street without even a pause or a glance for oncoming traffic, causing a car to slam on its breaks and just miss him. He sped off without a missing a beat. Yikes.

Biked 8/19/12.

1 thought on “Biking: Henry Hudson Trail and the Bayshore Bike Trail”

  1. Parking lot (Gerard St): N40 25.374 W74 12.724 or “20 Gerard Ave. Matawan, NJ 07747”
    This starts the worst part of the Trail where it goes over Highway 35 Keyport through Union Beach. This is the worst part of the trail. Hazards are tree roots protruding as much as four inches through the black top. can’t ride your Bike over them, saw a lady fall while running as she hit one of many hazards, Contacted Monmouth County Parks System and they may get to repairing parts of the trail in 2016, MAYBE! Terrible that you can not enjoy this trail because of the lack of maintenance!
    New Jersey highest taxes in the Country…

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