Open daily, dawn to dusk
(908) 782-1158 Website Google Maps Trail Map
Gravitas: Hiking: Proximity:
The Point Mountain Preserve is one of the nicest hikes in NJ. Yes, it’s over an hour from Trenton, but it’s well worth the trip. Why?
It’s a bit more challenging, and frankly fun, than most NJ hikes. The trail climbs about 500 vertical feet. Some of the clearly blazed trail wends through an ancient rock fall. It means you have to scramble, though many of the steeper sections helpfully provide stone steps.
If you hike the central loop of the trail (which we would recommend) it’s probably best to hike it in a counter-clockwise direction. That way you’re walking up the steepest bits, and descending the more gradual gradients.
Point Mountain is not a great hike for beginners. The trail up and over the ridge requires careful foot placement. It’s not treacherous, per se: traction is generally good if you have proper hiking footwear (very few of the rocks are loose), but it does require confidence.
Also, unusual for a NJ hike, there’s an outstanding viewpoint from the top of the ridge, which is especially rewarding during fall. There’s also a tremendous diversity of habitat, including fields which are being actively farmed, and one of the state’s nicest trout streams (the Musconetcong).
The core of the hike, from the parking lot marked 1 on the trail map, through the corn fields, and then around the central loop that borders the Musconetcong on one side and the ridge on the other, is just under 3 miles. There are many side trails and extensions to explore that can more than double the distance if you prefer.
On hot days you can take a dip in the stream (though stay well clear of the fishermen).
Note that if you put the address of the first parking lot in your GPS, it may want to take you to a location up the road a ways (mine did). I had to track back and search. The gravel road to the preserve parking lot is just 0.1 mile past the bridge over the Musconectcong, on the right, if you approach the lot on Penwell Road heading E from Rt. 57.