Small parcel of old growth forest with a network of easy, scenic trails near Rutgers New Brunswick campus.
3.8 miles, compact red clay / shale, roots. Somewhat hilly with a few somewhat steep ones. A rock hop over a small stream on BLUE. Well maintained trails.
- Shorter: Do only an individual loop like YEL, RED, BLUE, etc
- Longer: Overlap in a YEL or WHT or the new BLACK loop, or go a bit on the East Coast Greenway (which runs in Johnson Park but is mainly paved)
Our two cents: Nice easy park that is suited more to short loops from one of the parking areas. For avid hikers, this is a quick but pleasant leg-stretcher that is worth a stop if in the area.
Updated 3/12/17 – Updated map and park links; description edits, added winter photos.
Map: Print the map ahead, none at the park. Most major intersections had laminated “you are here” trail maps.
Parking: N40° 30.483′ W74° 26.631′ [Johnson Park lot; River Rd.]
We parked in Johnson Park and walked to the southern most trail head. This lot is not one of the ones marked on the trail map.
For those, check the notes on the trail map about permit parking (certain lots are permit but OK on the weekend).
Restrooms: In Johnson Park; possibly seasonal. Not at the other parking lots.
Hike Directions: To make the longest route without overlapping we turned or veered RIGHT at each intersection. With such a tight network of trails and intersections with trail maps posted, doing a turn-by-turn mileage description would be overkill.
BLUE* – WHITE at Road 1 trail head – RED at Road 3 trail head – ORANGE near wooden trail kiosk – GREEN – ORANGE – BLUE
*BLUE right and left and ORANGE straight all end up at the same spot.
The first short section of BLUE to the right was very overgrown.
It’s worth including the inner trails around Buell Brook (YELLOW, BLUE) as they are probably the most scenic. However, it’s hard to make a logical long loop to get them all in, so one time we just meandered all around and overlapped trails here and there to see the whole park.
The remnants of a WWII-era Camp Kilmer ammo bunker are along the WHITE trail but mostly amount to a large cement barrier and a pile of fragments.
Hiked: 10/21/18. Wildlife Loop; Trail Blog: “Rutgers Ecological in the Fall”
Hiked: 3/12/17. Variation with inner trails, overlapping. 4.8 miles.