Most of us will never through hike the Appalachian Trail and only a small group of us will even hike the New Jersey section of the AT, but there are many smaller and short trails in the state that are good for beginners, parents with kids and a day's outing.
I have written about the Columbia Trail which is a Rails-to-Trails project which in Morris County follows the South Branch of the Raritan River. It ends to the north at Long Valley near the nearby Patriots' Path trail.
When in the 1990's the Columbia Gas Company constructed a gas line under the rail bed, the surface rights were transferred to the Hunterdon County Division of Parks and Recreation for use as a recreational trail.
There are a number of other smaller trails near sections of the Columbia Trail.
- The Landsdown Trail is 1.8 miles of concrete, crushed stone, dirt and gravel in Clinton.
- The Capoolong Creek Wildlife Management Area has a 3.7 mile trail that parallels the creek in Pittstown.
- The Oxford Bikeway is just under 1 mile of asphalt surface and the
- Pequest Wildlife Management Area Trail is great for walking. It gives you access to the Pequest River which is stocked with trout from the hatchery located there.
The Columbia was the Trail of the Month last October on the TrailLink website. They discovered that the Columbia Trail "had the highest user rating that a trail could have: five out of five stars, as well as 70 firsthand reviews when most trails on the site boast only a handful. It ranks number 21 on the list of TrailLink's most-viewed trails in the entire country."
|Columbia Trail along the Ken Lockwood Gorge, photo © Sean Blinn via railstotrails.org|
Information on Rails-to-Trails via http://www.traillink.com