Tag Archives: Poorly Blazed

Trail markings are poorly maintained, inconsistent, or non-existent. Inexperienced hikers may have difficulty following the trail.

On the Beech (Carson Road Woods)

Carson Road Woods is a superb, 183 acre swathe of preserved farmland less than 15 minutes from downtown Trenton. Unlike many such preserves, the land has several miles of walking trails, and some stunning stands of trees. The preserve is a mix of woodlands and open fields, with mowed walk-ways along the margins. In a few places, trails are cut through stands of trees, including, notably, a stunningly beautiful stand of beech.

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Buried Treasure and Sights Unseen (Goat Hill Park Bushwhack)

Goat Hill Park was acquired in 2009 by the State of NJ, and is managed as a satellite park of Washington Crossing. It is potentially one of the most spectacular hiking destinations in central NJ, but budget and regulatory constraints have blocked the state from developing it. It’s a pity. Of course, if you’re willing to bushwhack, you can still go exploring.

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Nocka-Rocka Scramble (Haycock Mountain at Nockamixon State Park)

Haycock Mountain is an entertaining, short hike (only about 0.75 mile from the trailhead to summit). You gain 460 vertical feet in this distance, which puts the average gradient about 12%, though the hike gets a fair bit steeper as you approach the summit. The payoff is the scramble: from roughly the midpoint of the hike to the summit, you’re picking your way through giant boulders. The short length and scrambly nature of the hike makes it particularly entertaining for experienced hiker-kids. It does require experienced hiker-adults to accompany them because the trail is poorly blazed, and appears as if it was never officially marked. (Driving time is just about an hour; rated for experienced hikers for elevation gain, scrambly nature, and poor blazing).

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Cushy It’s Not (Cushetunk Mountain Preserve)

Cushetunk offers two different hiking options. If you park at Old Mountain Road in Lebanon, it’s an intense 2.4 mile loop hike that includes a fairly strenuous scramble along a 0.9 mile ridgeline and an elevation gain of about 450 feet. If you park on Mountain Rd, in Whitehouse Station, the hike is about 7.5 miles and 1,100 cumulative vertical feet. (Driving time is about 70 min, Rated for Experienced hikers for elevation gain, rugged footing, and poor blazing)

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Dry Run Hop (Dry Run Creek and RockHopper Trails)

Just north of Mercer-Hunterdon County line is the Dry Run Creek trailhead, 20 minutes or so north of downtown Trenton by car. Maintained by the D&R Greenway Land Trust, it’s a delightful, 1.2 mile trail that descends into Dry Run Creek* and then climbs about 230 feet to 518 and another parking lot. There, if you look directly across the road, is the RockHopper Trail, which adds at least another 1.8 miles through the woods (Driving time 30 min or less; Suitable for Intermediate hikers due to elevation gain and occasional problems with trail blazes on the Rockhopper Trail)

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