The first was "off-trail use of bicycles," the second "off-trail use of vehicles," the third "trampling." ~ 30 miles round trip. The Landsdown Trail runs 1.8 miles between Lower Landsdown Road and W. Main in Clinton. Looking for the best Bike trails around New Jersey? Join TrailLink (a non-profit) to view more than 30,000 miles of trail maps and more! I want bicycle wheels, not the wilds of the Reservation, to revolve predictably around a static point. But I fear future fires, which would have the potential to spread out of control in the 2,047 acres that have never, to my knowledge, seen controlled burns. LIke I said its a really cool place and has some grat mountian bikeing.The Reservation is very Mountian bike friendly on like other Reservations in Essex County. Spring and Summer Book Talks to be Rescheduled. Also, if this gentleman were familiar with the Reservation, he might have noticed that the trails do have rocky bases; on many trails, the sharp "trap rock" is the predominant feature of the terrain. I didn't stop riding for a moment, but fears of a cop confiscating my bike changed the tenor of the experience. From the bikers' perspective, these tactics indicated that the arguments about damage to the trails and bikers' recklessness were a smokescreen. The West Essex Trail follows a short distance (just under 3 miles) of the former rail bed of the Caldwell Branch on the old Erie-Lackawanna Railroad. Essex is one of the smallest counties in New Jersey, but it is distinct for counting among its municipalities Newark, East Orange and Irvington - some of the poorest, roughest urban areas on the east coast - in addition to Short Hills, Essex Fells and North Caldwell - some of the richest towns in New Jersey, with median incomes well over $100,000. His History of the South Mountain Reservation will be published later this year. Hilltop Reservation is a recent addition to the Park System, composed of former Essex County Hospital Center lands. The only partial acknowledgement of the issue is in a section detailing policy issues/goals to address in the future. Laurel Lake, NJ Intermediate. The original purpose of the railroad was to allow local farms and dairies... United States Avenue Trail, which is also know locally as the "Green Trail" travels through a primarily wooded landscape between Foster Avenue and Egg Harbor Road in Gibbsboro, New Jersey. GBH The best & most popular mountain biking trails in Essex County. West Essex Trail, Essex County Department of Parks (973) 268-3500 : Access: Farview Avenue, Verona and Cedar Grove Community Park off Little Falls Road : Surface: Cinder and gravel : Distance: 2.8 miles: Other facilities : None: Type of facility : Multi-use trail, family friendly, biking The simple fact that county parks have never been the exclusive domain of taxpaying county residents was never a factor in the discussions. But the threat of violence and the cyclists' young age were crucial to the hikers' invidious depiction of the bikers. I saw the best riders of my generation destroyed by madness: college, jobs and trail closures. ESSEX COUNTY, NJ — The rules about off-road biking in Essex County’s parks aren’t new. Great trail, super smooth to ride on and got a chance to see some great wildlife on the lake as well. While you’re there, don’t forget to check out the Fairy Trail NJ, where the tiny fairy houses will enchant your littles along the trail and in the trees. The tree-lined 22.5-mile Henry Hudson Trail is the definition of scenic variety. South Mountain Reservation, in addition to being known for its trails, is famous for its drug dealers, its pick-up spots for the closeted rich of the county, its headless/handless/footless corpses dumped in garbage bags, its grandfatherly public masturbators, its springs which fill jug after jug for local immigrant families despite the "non-potable" sign, its goats sacrificed to Satan in deep fire pits, as well as its awesome views of New York City and the surrounding suburbs, its scout camps, picture-perfect waterfalls (as long as you don't mind a little graffiti in your pictures), equestrian paths, barbecues, reservoirs, diverse trees, egrets, deer, chipmunks and wild turkeys. And in my memories, the gilding on those teenage years turns red at the point when the county declared mountain biking illegal in South Mountain. What really upsets me is when I think about the community that disappeared. Location: North Park Drive, Pennsauken. Furthermore, the political fight for the trails catalyzed a local political consciousness in many who may have never known about the Board of Chosen Freeholders, for example. Bikes have much less ability to erode trails than rushing water, and trail maintenance could fix this problem. In South Mountain, for example, the effects of bikes during a drought are completely different from those during a rainstorm. Today, ten years after the ban went into effect, signs at the trailheads read: "Mountain Bicycles and Motor Bikes are forbidden on woodland trails because of soil erosion" - one has been helpfully emended here with the word "bullshit" - "Violators are subject to a $100 fine and vehicles are subject to confiscation.". Among us were wild teenagers, with dyed hair and facial piercings, as well as staid middle-age executives, who could find some escape from the non-stop hustle of everyday life in such a wealthy and competitive county. Linking the communities of Palmyra, New Jersey and Tacony (a historic neighborhood within Philadelphia) is the over 3,600-foot-long Tacony-Palmyra Bridge. In the spring of 1995, a vituperative hiker reminded officials in Essex County, New Jersey of a nearly forgotten ordinance forbidding cyclists from venturing off paved paths in county parks. Today, so few people dare ride in South Mountain that generating the momentum to overturn the ban seems far more difficult than stealing past the trails-closed signs. Find the top rated bike trails in New Jersey, whether you're looking for an easy short bike trail or a long bike trail, you'll find what you're looking for. Along New Jersey's coast, a pathway atop a concrete sea wall provides a popular place for North Wildwood residents and visitors to enjoy ocean views. The Sandy Hook Multi-Use Pathway travels 8.7 miles alongside the picturesque beaches and historical monuments of the Sandy Hook peninsula. There was one truck parked on a nearby fire road, presumably with firefighters monitoring the conflagration. The most popular trails are Harold Parker Road, Yellow Diamond Trail and Common Road. Until the rediscovery of this ban, South Mountain Reservation had been the premier dirt destination in northern New Jersey. Rode Matawan the Highlands this past Saturday. This multi-use trail can be used both directions and has a easy overall physical rating with a 252 ft green climb. Essex's neighbor to the west, Morris County, also flirted with a bike ban, especially after one NORBA race in Tourne Park, which sent about a dozen bikers to the emergency room. Ironic, considering that one cliff in South Mountain, near which sits its most well-known overlook, was rather obviously mined into existence. The Woodbine Railroad Trail occupies the right-of-way of a former Pennsylvania and Reading Railroad line. Had to really look thru all the shrubbery and trees to get a view of anything, otherwise just a narrow path to the end and back. Intermediate. South Mountain's hikers commissioned a report on the damage mountain biking does to trails, but it was, as an article on the IMBA website reports, "a shady, biased environmental study performed by a USDA county extension agent who was clearly predisposed against bikes on trails." The Pleasantville to Somers Point Bike Path connects four cities along 8.2 miles of trail: Pleasantville, Northfield, Linwood, and Somers Point. Essex County has 62 mountain-biking trails. Despite this, the benefit of losing South Mountain was that I began to ride elsewhere, expanding my range, and I was able to return to the Reservation on foot, to appreciate it in a new light. Find More Places in Essex County: Cliff (1) Summits (4) Essex County, New Jersey is home to 5 summits, ridges, ranges, trails and other mountain features. The original plan for solving the impasse between bikers and hikers, floated by two Freeholders, was to allow hiking seven days a week, but allow biking only Thursday through Sunday. Details: Cooper River Park spans nearly 350 acres, running through Pennsauken,… I don’t recommend road bikes as there are a lot of street crossings on this end of the trail. The South Mountain Recreation Complex is nestled along Northfield Avenue and Cherry Lane in West Orange. Years ago, probably around the time of the ban, I stumbled onto a low, smoldering forest fire on the yellow trail above Stonehenge. 523 Miles 842 Kilometers of Trail 10 Recommended Routes ... 4.8 mi 7.8 km #1 Camden County College Trails. The Patriots' Path covers roughly 35 miles of terrain and is open to mountain biking, horseback riding, cross-country skiing and hiking. The Calhoun Street Bridge spans 1,274 feet across the Delaware River, connecting Trenton, New Jersey, on its east bank with Morrisville, Pennsylvania, on its west bank. If you’re looking for a change of luck on your gambling getaway to Atlantic City, try visiting the 7.6-mile Atlantic County Bikeway. I wondered how it had arrived there without getting stuck in a rut or behind a fallen tree. The best part is between Atlantic Highlands and Highlands. The paved pathway running through West Hudson Park offers a scenic, tree-lined escape between Harrison and Kearny, NJ. In 1998, three years after the reaffirmation of the mountain biking ban, the county started a trust fund for the parks as well as an Open Space Advisory Committee. Like almost all of Essex County's parks, South Mountain was designed by the Olmsted family. The trail can be accessed at three points. The articles exhibited the same sort of judiciousness and objectivity when describing the sport of mountain biking itself. It also showed me the resilience of this oasis of untamed forest in a wasteland of suburban sprawl. Boulevard Trolley Line Path. But through determined activism, largely centered around Marty Epstein, owner of two bike shops in Morris County, Morris officials were convinced to continue to allow bikes in the county parks. I enjoyed the different surfaces, the natural areas. Additionally, Essex has a County Executive who is not answerable to the Freeholders - rather, he has the power to approve or squash the ordinances they recommend - and who gets budgetary line-item veto power. The South Mountain Reservation has 19 miles of NJ hiking trails and 27 carriage roads for jogging and horseback riding, leading deep into discovering a 25-foot NJ waterfall at Hemlock Falls. The trail forms a perimeter loop around the 770 acre reservoir... The Maurice River Bikeway Trail provides access to shops, recreational parks, and riverside riding all in one. In a New York Times article, one hiker said of the bikers, "Better they go to quarries, with their rocky bases." This bike path begins along Southwest Boulevard at Harding Highway (US 40). Click on a bike trail below to find trail descriptions, trail maps, photos, and reviews. Reservations like South Mountain, which borders four of these rich suburbs, were part of the area's appeal: hilly, forested idylls where one could find repose as well as recreation. Fun walk across the bridge with beautiful views. In the end, it's not the loss of the trails that is the most irksome. The effect was wide-ranging neglect of the parks. This is the first phase of the proposed Lehigh & Hudson River Rail Trail. Morris County. In the early 1830s the Morris Canal opened across northern New Jersey, from Phillipsburg on the Delaware River to Newark, and later to Jersey City on the Hudson River. The way the weeds, ruts and rocks defined the trail just so, it was my self-appointed task to explore and memorize. Laurel Lake, NJ 9 My home turf was South Mountain Reservation, in Essex County, and I knew it more intimately than I yet knew anyone of the opposite sex. Otherwise very scenic. Otherwise a very nice straight path, flat terrain hike. It is doubtful, anyway, that the Freeholders' compromise would've withstood judicial scrutiny; it reeked of "separate but equal.". Not being a soil scientist, I can speak only from my experience: mountain bikes may damage trails, but in many situations, they are no more damaging than hikers. Not all the singletrack was extremely technical: some was quite fast and smooth, but there were also several steeps, such as Stonehenge or Oh Shit, which had body counts heaped upon their revered names. Considering that the county was in such a dire financial state in 1995, arguments about users of the parks not being taxpayers - and potentially incurring lawsuits against the county if they were injured - were particularly effective. Wining & Dining. In 1979, the Essex County Park Commission was disbanded and replaced by the Parks Department. Worst part is the tick advisory is posted 2/3rds of the (1 mile) into the trail. Just updating the info for this trail, it is now open end to end. Turnersville, NJ Intermediate. I got to ride with Jamaicans and Colombians, as well as people twice my age or older - friendships the average white suburban kid never has the opportunity to make. Lots of them! The reasoning for this shift is somewhat opaque, but surely budgetary concerns were at the fore. It's notable that the issue to address is actually on-trail use of bicycles, which is banned, not off-trail use, about which the trailhead signs have nothing to say. Even though the county's official website extols the park system's virtues, the reality is that the parks have less budgetary priority than urban social services and policing, not to mention the infrastructure necessary to keep Newark Airport and Port Newark humming with commerce (and tax revenue rolling in). To this day, some hikers and bikers work together to fix the trails while the county does almost nothing, and that is the essence of the problem. A lot of deer and chipmunks. Highly recommend any skaters to trail skate here. Instead, he made it seem like the bikers' spokespeople were wingnuts. At the same time Essex County's ban took effect, a similar one was adopted in neighboring Union County, home to the area's other top mountain biking destination, Watchung Reservation. The complex features a variety of recreation opportunities including Turtle Back Zoo, Codey Arena, MiniGolf Safari, the children’s Regatta Playground, Paddleboating, a 1.7 mile walkway, and the Clipper Pavilion picnic shelter. The quality of the trail conditions, layout and maintenance is a testament to the efficacy of a compromise between responsible bikers and caring hikers enabled by a fair governmental policy. Anyone who still wishes to ride in South Mountain may do so at his or her own risk. Bike Windsor Essex is a member-based advocacy group representing all bike lovers in Windsor and Essex County, to help make our region safer and more bike friendly. This path is completely paved and runs 2.1 miles along the exact route … It scared me, but it also captivated me and energized me. And eventually, when these conditions combined with the usual upheavals of growing up, I would lose the urge to ride the trails that had been my haven. The Parkside Trail is one segment of the larger Camden Greenways network, a proposed system of trails currently under construction. The Trolley Line Trail is a 2.5 mile paved pathway between Rabbit Hill Road and Penn Lyle Road in West Windsor. It connects Port Norris with Bivalve. They wanted it to remain unchanged, precious and domestic - exactly the opposite of how it was originally envisioned. Riders can begin their journey at US 9/Sandman Boulevard in Lower Township across... It’s hard to believe that a noisy locomotive once ran through here, given that stillness is a defining characteristic of the Middlesex Greenway. Asphalt, Ballast, Crushed Stone, Dirt, Grass, Gravel. Johns Hopkins University faculty pageacademia.eduGoogle ScholarACLS FellowsTwitterMy online music magazine. Only one walkway on the bridge is open but is easily accessible. Traveling north-south through Wall Township is the Route 18 Bike Path. The Lenape Trail is an paved multiuse pathway stretching two miles end-to-end. Less than two years later, Treffinger was under a twenty-count indictment for fraud, extortion and obstruction. The John N. Balis Bikeway is a half-mile paved trail along a former rail corridor that now serves as an electrical transmission right of way in the suburban community of Runnemede. Unlike those who wanted to ban mountain bikers so they could have the public land all to themselves, I am happy that South Mountain is forever changing and that the passage of time will bring with it new opportunities rather than the comfort of repetitive experiences. Not only did the park boast singletrack nearest to New York City, it was some of the most varied trail for at least fifty miles around, with an emphasis on the gnarly, the technical and the off-camber. I will be going back in winter after tick season has passed. Water prevented completion. The paved trail is having tree root problems other than that it was a very good ride. West Essex Trail is a 3 mile moderately popular white rail trail family friendly trail located near Cedar Grove New Jersey. Winery / Restaurants / Food Trucks Intermediate. #98 of 110 mountain bike trails in New Jersey #11,502 in the world The Reservation is located on the First Watchung Mountain where the parkland has been preserved in its natural state, including deciduous woodland and wetlands. We are Essex & Verona Offroad - a Composite Mountain Bike Team for the New Jersey League of … Trail maintenance, horticulture and forest fire suppression all disappeared from the routine. The Johnson Trolley Line has two sections, north and south, which are split by Interstate 95; there is talk of building an overpass to link the two segments. While only a few hikers were likely responsible for these acts, they were a physical manifestation of the selfishness and unwillingness to compromise which characterized the hikers' cause. South Mountain Reservation – Hemlock Falls. Furthermore, although the Open Space Advisory Committee's report argued that South Mountain should not be "gardenized," it seemed that the hikers did not consider the terrain to be dynamic. The Columbia Trail has the distinction of being named for a natural gas pipeline that runs beneath it for 15 miles in rural northern New Jersey. Many bikers are themselves hikers, and a lot of hikers did not support the ban. The Committee produced a 245-page report on the current state of the parks, with recommendations for the future. The Karamac Trail is a short walking trail that starts under the Interstate 80 bridge on the New Jersey side of the Delaware River. Even when some acknowledged that only one or two percent fit that description, they were able to hint that this percentage was on the rise. Hikers, too, use the ramps to easily cross large logs without having to forge a new trail by circumnavigating the obstacles. I noted the seasonal and even diurnal changes in the woods. The ordinance predated the explosion of mountain biking. Luckily for NJ families, there are tons of family-friendly bike trails throughout the state, from the Kittatinny Mountains to the Jersey Shore. Login to your account. The Ramsey Bike Path is a recreational path built on the former Paterson to Suffern trolley line right-of-way. In some cases, this portrayal was accurate, but no one seemed to care, for example, that one of the leaders of the hikers' cause was a Manhattan resident. Located about 25 miles east of Philadelphia, the Pemberton Rail-Trail is an excellent example of grassroots activism resulting in the creation of a community-based rail-trail. Unlike most Olmsted parks, the two reservations in Essex were designed to be left essentially wild. It showed me that the Reservation was dynamic, that I could not take for granted that the next time my tires hit the dirt it would be unchanged, that it would be the same old trails I knew so well. (And you thought the electoral college was silly.) The Gloucester Township Health and Fitness Trail, formerly known as the Blackwood Railroad Trail, is a paved bicycle/pedestrian path in Blackwood, Gloucester Township. The Oxford Bikeway is a .9 mile long pave trail constructed on an abandoned railroad right-of-way. Took my bike for 30 miles on this trail. The map of the Reservation calls it "The Quarry." Two young mountain bikers sporting black stretch shorts and neon-colored jerseys had appeared around a bend." In some cases, this portrayal was accurate, but no one seemed to care, for example, that one of the leaders of the hikers' cause was a Manhattan resident. Click on a bike trail below to find trail descriptions, trail maps, photos, and reviews. Find the top rated bike trails in New Jersey, whether you're looking for an easy short bike trail or a long bike trail, you'll find what you're looking for. He was worried that the program was giving people the wrong idea, that Essex County might seem awash with crooks and thieves. Still, off road cycling as an activity for its own sake was then unthinkable, except, perhaps, as sheer daredevilry. You want to get out there early if your biking, as the foot traffic increases around 11am. Essential to note is that even within South Mountain, there is quite varied terrain, meaning that it's useless to generalize about bikes' effects. This arcane body is responsible for recommending how to divvy up the meager county budget as well as acting as a liaison to various county agencies (the Parks Department among them) and writing ordinances. Brookdale Park is … The Saddle River County Park Bike Path is a beautiful suburban trail that winds alongside the Saddle River. The bike path is nestled at the bottom of the railroad embankment carrying New Jersey Transit's Raritan Valley Line. Flat and beautiful ride. You get a great view of the Philadelphia Skyline. Eco Tours, Train Rides, Whale Watching, etc. You will need it on this trail! Never was biking considered a solitary experience through which one communes with nature, explores, exercises or relaxes. I grew up in South Mountain Reservation, on my mountain bike, always fleet yet always in awe of its challenges. The forest fire through which I rode in South Mountain was like the ban itself. Patriots’ Path. With ruts, loose stones, exposed roots and fallen trees, the trails are in far worse shape than they were in 1995, when mountain bikes were supposedly rapidly ruining the trails. Perhaps most dangerously, the department ceased programs for removal of non-native, invasive plant species and diseased trees. Winery / Restaurants / Food Trucks The second phase will connect Hillside Park to Kittatinny Valley State Park. This colorful panorama is the political background of the mountain biking ban. The Union Transportation Trail follows the path of the former Pemberton & Hightstown Railroad, which began operating in 1868. Treffinger had inherited a county on the verge of bankruptcy after his predecessor was sent to prison on charges of corruption. The report acknowledged that South Mountain's trails needed substantial work, but the report was mostly silent on the topic of mountain bikes (outside of a bike-specific path nowhere near South Mountain). Trails.com member Samantha B. recently completed Harold Parker Road. The hiker responsible for the rediscovery of the ban even went so far as to attempt to get a Superior Court injunction against this plan. The Olmsteds thought South Mountain, in particular, should contain vistas overlooking the untamed natural terrain of forests, streams and rocks rather than nearby urban developments. It rained four days ago. ... As the largest park in the Essex County Park System, the Reservation is a unique 2,110-acre public land. The Randolph Trail system covers 16 miles of pathways through five parks, the Clyde Potts Reservoir watershed and 2,000 acres of pristine open space. 7 talking about this. The trail provides access to the park’s stocked lake, water park, athletic... A short rail trail with two covered bridges occupying a portion of the former Mount Hope Mineral Railroad right-of-way in Wharton, NJ. When complete the Green Brook Multi-Use Trail will meander for 7 miles through the communities of Plainfield and North Plainfield, New Jersey. And yet the bike ban remains in effect. Explore the best rated trails in Newark, NJ. Recent News. 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