Manasquan Reservoir

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Manasquan Reservoir

Easy and scenic stroll around the Manasquan Reservoir.

6.9 or 5.1 miles. Easy; level; small crushed gravel. Perimeter is a multi-use gravel trail. Cove and Bracken are hiking trails but not hard.

  • Short: do an out-and-back section along any part of the loop
  • 1.7 miles – Loop from Enviro Center using Perimeter and Cove [estimated].
  • 5.1 miles – Perimeter Trail
  • 5.9 miles – Loop using both the Perimeter and Cove trails.
  • 6.9 miles – Loop using Perimeter and Cove plus Bracken.
  • 8.3 miles – Add an out-and-back on the Bear Swamp connector (1.4 miles total) to a loop with Perimeter, Cove, Bracken trails.
  • Nearby: Turkey Swamp County Park; Allaire State Park; Shark River Park; Forest Resource Education Center.

Our two cents:

Easy but packs in a lot of nice scenery all along the way. Perimeter trail is more of a walk than a hike in our opinion but very worthwhile.

You may be sharing the trail with bikes and horses. Nice displays and critters in the Enviro center.

We’ve always started at the Enviro Center and gone clockwise to put the road adjacent section out of the way first.

This hike is a circle so adjust accordingly if you want to go counter and/or start at the visitor center or Chestnut Point lot.

Updated: 4/2020: Page refreshed, not re-hiked. 12/2016 – Photos, description, and GPX added; loop option mileages adjusted.

Parking: N40.17760° W74.22020°

Enviro Center lot. 331 Georgia Tavern Road, Howell 07731.

Rt 9 south from Freehold to Georgia Tavern Rd. Take the jughandle to turn left onto Georgia Tavern Rd. for a mile. Enviro Center parking is on right.

Or turn R on Windeler Rd to start at the main visitor center. Just a bit further down Georgia is the Chestnut Point lot.


Print out ahead from the park site, or may be in the kiosk in the lot if the center isn’t open.

Hike Directions:

Overview: Clockwise on Perimeter Trail – Cove Trail – Bracken

Shorten as needed; options noted below. Note: trails here are marked by difficulty and not blaze color, green is easy, blue is moderate.

0.0 – From the Enviro lot, walk back out the driveway towards Georgia Tavern Road. Turn RIGHT and start following the Perimeter Trail.

Perimeter Trail runs along Georgia Tavern Rd at first
Perimeter Trail

0.7 – Continue following the Perimeter trail as it turns right and heads away from the road.

There are no other trail intersections for awhile  – just keep truckin’ around the reservoir.

Perimeter Trail
Perimeter Trail

The trail varies between forested and open areas with views of the reservoir.

2.1 – Continue following the Perimeter trail as it turns right and starts to parallel Manassa Road.

3.2 – Continue following the Perimeter trail as it turns right near a trail kiosk. [for Bear Swamp Connector trail, across the road]

3.9 – Pass the main visitor center.

4.8 – Cove Trail. Before getting on Cove, continue to the right a bit on Perimeter for view of the reservoir.

Turn LEFT to now follow the Cove trail. [Perimeter goes to the right].

[Option – stay on Perimeter to cut Cove and about a mile off the route].

Cove Trail
Cove Trail

5.4 – Continue following Cove. Turn RIGHT and follow a short unmarked trail out-and-back to a wildlife blind and views of the reservoir.

Wildlife blind on Cove

6.0 – Cove ends at the Perimeter trail, start following Bracken. Continue ahead out to the water’s edge on Bracken (not marked as such) and then over to the Enviro center.

Bracken Trail
Bracken Trail

[Option – stay on Perimeter to go directly back to the lot]

6.5 – Back in the parking lot, pick up Bracken again to the left of the large sign for the Enviro center.

Bracken Trail

Take this short trail down to the water’s edge. We walked through the center on the way back to the parking lot.

[Option – skip Bracken and end the hike in the parking lot, reducing the hike by 0.5 mile]

Hiked: 11/16/16.
Hiked: 3/26/11. Trail Blog: “Manasquan Reservoir in March