Easy wooded trails with rolling hills and a meandering stream.
2.4 miles. Easy, dirt with roots.
- Shorter – Many interior trails can be used to cut this short.
- Longer – 3.5 – add GREEN to WHITE and then follow the park road back to the lot (noted below).
- Longer: About 8 miles – connect to Thompson Park Conservation Area for up to an additional ~4.6 there. Requires a short walk along Schoolhouse road.
- Nearby: John A. Phillips Preserve, Julian Capik Preserve.
Note: There are also trails south of this section, below Schoolhouse Road, called “Thompson Park Conservation Area” (…and the sections now all connect which allows for loops up to around 8-ish miles).
Not to be confused with the Thompson Park in Monmouth County.
Our two cents:
Really nice short trail plus the option to continue on into the conservation area to up the mileage.
In addition to an off-leash dog park near the trailhead, the main area of Thompson Park contains a lake, a small zoo, playground, and picnic areas.
Updated: 7/2020 – minor updates, re-hiked 5/2020. 8/2016 – Video added. 7/2016 – Summer photos added; minor adjustments. 3/2016 – Updated page to reflect that a longer route is now possible and that the trails/blaze colors changed. (ORANGE used to be GREEN). Added photos, GPX, and a more detailed description. 1/2016 – Added link to updated trail map.
Usually nice large printed maps in the trail kiosk or print ahead in case.
None that we know of.
Parking: N40° 20.071′ W74° 26.135′
This trailhead is next to the dog run area (Perrineville Road to Fir Drive), near the trail kiosk.
A restroom building is near the dog run parking lot.
Overview: RED to almost to its end, where its meets BLUE for a 2nd time. BLUE to a right onto YELLOW. ORANGE back to the lot.
0.0 – At the trail kiosk, start following RED. Shortly, keep following RED as it turns RIGHT. [ORANGE starts, and continues straight]
0.5 – Continue on RED [YELLOW goes left]. Shortly, pass YELLOW on the left again.
0.6 – Continue on RED [Pass BLUE].
0.8 – Pass connector trails on the right that lead to Thompson Park Conservation Area. These trails were marked blue, though they appear purple on the trail map.
1.4 – Manalapan Brook will start coming into view.
Continue on RED [BLUE comes in from the left and is co-joined briefly].
Soon, start following BLUE to the RIGHT [RED leaves to the left].
1.7 – Start following YELLOW, straight, at a slightly confusing intersection. [BLUE continues to the left; YELLOW also goes sharp left].
2.0 – Continue on YELLOW – don’t go cross the bridge. [GREEN starts to the right, down wooden stairs.]
Longer Variation: Turn right and start following GREEN instead, cross a wooden plank bridge.
When we hiked this in summer, there were tons of butterflies in the bushes on either side of the plank boardwalk a few steps down on GREEN.
Turn right on GREEN, keep right at the split to start on WHITE, which ends at a parking lot by Manalapan Lake, and then take the dirt park road back to the lot]
Continue on YELLOW. Soon, turn RIGHT to start following ORANGE over a small bridge [YELLOW continues left].
After the bridge, turn LEFT and continue on ORANGE [ORANGE also goes straight, and an unmarked trail goes right].
Pass RED on the left, continuing on ORANGE to return to the lot.