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Hartshorne Woods Park Trails

Shore Region, New Jersey

Historic
Directions & Trail Description

Location: Middletown, NJ. Monmouth County

Length/Configuration: 11 mile trail system. Perimeter loop ride about 9 miles. Access additional miles at Huber Woods Park.

Terrain/Surface: Dirt, sand, gravel. Paved surface around the Rocky Point Section.

Technical Difficulty: All levels. Trail classification system: Green circles are easy (mainly walking). Blue squares are moderate multi-use trails. Black diamonds are challenging with steep grades and obstructions.

Elevation Change: ride is hilly, but no appreciable elevation gain.

Caution: These are shared use trails. Mountain biking, hiking, horseback riding. This is a popular family destination. Dismount and walk your bike in the specially marked dismount areas at the trailheads. Stay on the trails.

 

 

 

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Hartshorne Woods Park Trail Map

Note: The free trail maps on this website have been simplified to provide an overview with approximate locations of trails and special features. Read Full Disclaimer.

Directions:

State Hwy. 35 to Navesink River Road and continue 4.7 miles. Turn right onto Locust Road. Cross Clay Pit Creek bridge to five way intersection. Bear right onto Navesink Ave and continue to Park.

 

Hartshorne Woods Park Overview

Hartshorne Woods Park, located at the eastern end of the Atlantic Highlands, arises 245 feet above and overlooks the Navesink River Bay. This hilly Park features steep slopes covered with Mountain Laurel (blooms in May) and steep cliffs adjacent to the Navesink and Shrewsbury Rivers. A network of multi-use trails for hiking and mountain biking wind through 736 acres of mostly mature deciduous forest composed of oak, hickory, beech, and maple. The trails traverse the ridges providing occasional scenic views of the Navesink River Valley between the trees.

In the summer, after exploring the trails, head for nearby Sandy Hook, a 2,044 acre barrier beach peninsula at the northern tip of the New Jersey shore. It is part of the Gateway National Recreation Area. See our Bikes & Beaches feature Article for more details.

Mountain biking takes on added dimensions in the fall when the maples explode into brilliant reds, and when the trees are bare, you can enjoy unobstructed views of the river.

 

Trail Description

The trail system includes about 15-miles of well-maintained and marked double-track and some fire roads. 3 miles of paved paths closed to vehicular traffic are located in the Rocky Point Section. The trail classification system was designed with mountain bikers in mind. Green Circles are easy (mainly walking), Blue Squares are moderate multi-use trails. Black Diamonds are challenging with steep grades and obstructions. Although, this is one of the most popular biking parks in this region, we didn't feel "crowded". The trail traffic flowed smoothly.

We were impressed with park maintenance and helpful Park Rangers on duty. Note: (Do not park where it says "DO NOT PARK" - you will get ticketed).

Suggested Moderate/Advanced:

A 9 mile perimeter loop of the park begins by turning right from the parking area onto the Laurel Ridge Trail and using the Grand Tour Trail, Battery Loop (option to do Rocky Point Trail which follows around the outside of the Battery Loop) and Cuesta Ridge Trail. If you're an experienced moderate/advanced rider, it's a fun loop with quite a variety of terrain and scenery. You'll pass through forest, mountain laurel thickets and tangled vines. The hilly trails with some steep grades and descents travel along ridges which afford spectacular views (obstructed by dense foliage in the summer) of the shore and river. There are technical sectional sections with log beds, drops, rocks and roots.

Design your own ride depending on your level of ability. Know your limits. If you get in over your head you can bail out onto a fire road.

Hartshorne & Huber Connection: You can access the Huber Woods Park Trails via Navesink Ave and Claypit run.

 

Suggested Beginner / Easy Moderate:

For an easy beginner or less strenuous moderate ride, start at the north parking lot and turn left onto the Laurel Ridge Trail. You will be using the Laurel Ridge and Cuesta Ridge Trails. The word trails may be a little misleading as both travel on wide gravel forest roads (no cars). This fairly level road with gently rolling hills, travels along the northern boundary of the park and leads onto a paved road. Turn left and proceed to the paved Battery Loop. There are additional small loops that go around historical World War II bunkers and the site of the old HAADS Command Center (see Historical Notes below). At the southern end of the Battery Loop, look for the paved access road that descends rather steeply to a scenic point where the Navenink River meets the Shrewbury River. There is a small beach and a pier. The beach is a nice scenic spot to relax and have lunch. Return to your car the way you came.

 

Easy Trails

King's Hollow Trail - 0.7 miles through the oaks and wildflowers of the hollow.

Candlestick Trail - 1.5 miles up the ridge to the overlook and back.

 

Moderate Trails

Laurel Ridge Trail - 2.5 miles throughout the Buttermilk Valley section of the park. We found this to be more of a moderate to advanced trail due to many steep hill climbs. You'll need to be in good physical condition.

Cuesta Ridge Trail - 1.6 mile trip one way along the backbone ridge of the park on a dirt/gravel access road. This is one of our favorite trails for fairly easy riding.

Battery Loop - 1.3 miles on a paved surface that tours Rocky Point and connects to other trail opportunities. You can see many of the old WWII bunkers fortifications on this loop.

Command Loop - 0.4 miles paved trail to the site of the old HAADS Command Center.

Bunker Loop - 0.3 miles on a paved surface into the wooded hollow and one of the two remaining bunkers on the site.

 

Challenging Trails

Grand Tour Trail - For serious biking. Up to 3.1 miles of primitive trail in the Monmouth Hills section of the Park.

Rocky Point Trail - 2.6 miles that explores the hills and valleys of the Rocky Point section of Hartshorne Woods Park.

 

Historical Note

Hartshorne Woods Park was named for its original owner, Richard Hartshorne, who purchased the tract from the Lenne Lenape Indians for only thirteen shillings in the 1670s.

During World War II, the Rocky Point Area of the Park was part of the Atlantic Coast Defense System, with concrete bunker fortifications facing the ocean. Many of the old fortifications still exist and can be seen along the Rocky Point trail or Battery Loop.

 

 

For more information

Hartshorne Woods Park:
805 Newman Springs Road
Lincroft - New Jersey 07738

Phone: (732) 842.4000
(TDD): (732) 219-9484 (The Monmouth County Park System) or 711 (AT&T National Relay)
Website: Monmouth County Park System