When Summer Heats Up, Take A Hike

May 28, 2017
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The Battery Loop is one of the many trails in Hartshorne Woods. Photo courtesy MCPS

By M. J. Alvarez |

You don’t need any special equipment to enjoy an escape from the heat of the sun during summer. A pair of running shoes will be enough to help you enjoy the canopy-covered trails of our area. Here are just a few trails Monmouth County Park System offers.

 

Hartshorne Woods contains trails that provide a more vigorous workout. The Grand Tour Trail running through the Monmouth Hills when combined with the contiguous Rocky Point Trail provides a challenging 5.4-mile hike with a number of ups and downs in a remote part of the park. The Rocky Point Trail will reward hikers with numerous elevated views of the Shrewsbury River and Sea Bright. The Cuesta Ridge and Laurel Ridge trails provide easier walks. Hartshorne trails are multiuse trails. Hikers should expect to share them with mountain bikers.

The Pond Walk is a half-mile wooded walk in Holmdel Park. Photo courtesy MCPS

Holmdel Park offers a number of trails for both casual walkers and serious runners. The Cross Country Trail is a 3.1-mile trail that is especially suited for runners and includes a challenging uphill stretch known locally as “The Bowl.” This trail is also the site of many high school cross-country races. For a more balanced workout, try the 0.8-mile Fitness Trail, a loop trail that includes exercise stations. Families can enjoy the 0.4-mile Pond Walk trail around the lower pond and Beech Glen an approximately half-mile wooded walk.

The southern section of Holmdel Park, also known as the Ramanessin section, includes three trails of moderate difficulty – the Ramanessin Trail which runs along the Ramanessin Brook, the Steeplechase trail and the Homestead Trail and Fern Path. These trails cross less developed parts of the park through fields and wooded areas and are little used.

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Huber Woods in Rumson provides a number of moderate trails through wooded fields and mountain laurel valleys. Valley View, Claypit Run and Meadow Ramble are all moderate wooded trails. The Many Log Run Trail located in the northwest section of the park off of the Meadow Ramble Trail is a challenging 1.2 mile trail with a number of sharp hills to get your heart pumping. As with Hartshorne Woods, all of the Huber woods trails are multiuse trails so expect to share them with mountain bikers.

Manasquan Reservoir in Howell contains the Perimeter Trail, a 5.1-mile flat, dirt trail popular with joggers, walkers and bikers, looping around the entire perimeter of the reservoir and crossing a number of wetland areas. This trail will give the walker a sense of the breadth of the reservoir and may even reward with a view of the bald eagles nest which is alleged to exist near the northwest corner of the reservoir. A shorter 1.1-mile scenic nature trail around the Environmental Center is suitable for families with young children.

Thompson Park, located in the Lincroft section of Middletown, contains both paved trails for bikers and walkers, dirt trails traversing fields and wooded areas and a track loop around a rugby pitch. The Reservoir Loop is the longest trail in the park at 4.8 miles and runs along Marlu Luke located in the northwest section of the park and loops around the Swimming River Reservoir. The Paved Trail is a popular trail for walkers, runners and bikers that runs around the perimeter of the park along Longbridge Road, Cross Road and Route 520.

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Experienced hikers and trail runners know that tick season is in full swing in the Two River area. When venturing into any wooded area, stay on the maintained trails, wear loose clothing with long sleeves and pants and inspect arms and legs after a walk in the woods. Be especially careful inspecting children and pets for ticks. Sunscreen and a bottle of water in a small backpack will also make your day more enjoyable.

 

And hit the trails on June 3 – National Trails Day.


This article was first published Summer Kickoff section in the May 25-June 1, 2017 print edition of The Two River Times.

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