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Round Valley Recreation Area Trails

Skylands Region, NJ

Directions & description

Location: Lebanon Twp - Off of State Hwy 22 near Clinton, New Jersey

Length/Configuration:

Three marked trails:
Cushetunk Trail: 9 miles (one-way). Out and back
Pine Tree Trail: 1 mile loop
Family Hiking and Biking Trail: 1/2 mile loop.

Terrain/Surface: Cushetunk Trail is mostly a rocky, hilly, expert trail. Gravel, cinder and logs.

Technical Difficulty: Cushetunk Trail is for advanced experienced riders only. The Pine Tree and Family Biking Trail are suitable for beginners and childen.

Elevation Change: Hilly with steep climbs and descents to and from mountain ridge.

Trail Use: hiking, mountain biking, horseback riding

Caution: Cushetunk is a multi-use trail so mountain bikers should expect hikers and horses. Take it easy on downhills your first time. Fast and sudden. Stay on the trails. Ride safely and considerately.

 

 

 

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Round Valley 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:

Take I-78 west to exit 20 A to Route 22 west, follow signs to the park.
Take I-78 east to exit 18 (Route 22 east), follow signs to the park.

 

General Description:

Named Round Valley due to its bowl shaped appearance, the reservoir with it's expanse of pristine blue water covers approximately 5,291 acres. Green eastern woodlands and parkland surround the lake. A system of hiking, biking, and horseback riding trails along the western shoreline provide scenic views of the lake and surrounding hillsides. The trails can be accessed from several locations around the reservoir and travel through dense foliage. In late July, raspberries grow in abundance beside the trails.

The reservoir provides excellent wildlife habitat. An amazing variety of birds can be spotted here during the various seasons including herons, ring-billed gulls, broad winged hawks, ospreys, loons and even eagles.

The brisk blue waters of Round Valley Reservoir are very inviting after tackling the challenging Cushetunk Trail or after an outing with the family on the Pine Tree Trail. Swimming is permitted at Round Valley in the Day-use Area only from Memorial Day through Labor Day while lifeguards are on duty. Visitors will find a beach complex containing changing areas, restrooms, showers, a first-aid station, and a concession building where food and beach supplies are available for purchase.

There are two playgrounds and volleyball nets on the beachfront. Picnic areas are located on tree-shaded grassy spots at each end of the beach.

 

The Trails:

There are three marked trails at Round Valley: the Cushetunk Trail, which accesses the campsites, the Pine Tree Trail and the Family Hiking and Biking Trail. All trails can be accessed from the South Parking Lot within the Day-use Area. An unmarked Water Trail can be accessed from the campers boat launch area.

The Pine Tree Trail is approximately a one mile hiking only loop. Suitable for beginners and families with young children. The Pine Tree Trail connects the day-use area with Division of Fish and Wildlife property.

The Water Trail {hiking only) is unmarked. It follows the Reservoir shoreline for about 1.5 miles.

The Family Hiking and Biking Trail is 1/2 mile loop trail marked with White Blazes that takes you through pinewoods and hardwood forest. It passes a blackberry patch and travels along the shore of the Reservoir for a short stretch. This bike ride is ideal for children, birdwatchers, and seniors.

The Cushetunk Trail: 9 miles one way (Moderate/Advanced)

The Cushetunk Trail and the three-mile lower service road are multi-use trails that pass through open and heavily wooded areas. The Cushetunk trail traverses the Cushetunk Mountain which rises 500-feet above the shoreline of the Round Valley Reservoir, peaking at 835-feet above sea level.

The trail begins at the Trail Information Kiosk (first right turn after the park office). Trail markers are brown signs with red blazes. The first quarter of a mile seems deceptively easy as you bicycle past rabbits and woodchucks serenely nibbling grass at the edges of meadows and fields dotted with Bluebird boxes. A side trail leads up a hill for scenic views from a strategically placed bench overlooking the deep sapphire blue water.

Then, just as I was thinking, "This doesn't look so hard", I got a taste of what mountain biking the Cushetunk Trail is all about as a series of steep climbs and descents loomed immediately ahead and took us past the South Dam of the Reservoir and over Prescott Brook.

For the most part, the trail surface is rugged, rocky and steep in places which makes it more suitable for experienced hikers, mountain bikers, and horseback riders. Tight turns and logs in the trail bed, steep rocky climbs and descents make this some of the most fun technical and single track riding in NJ. The trail does not completely circle the reservoir and ends at a locked gate in about 9 miles. So plan your time (and energy) accordingly as you'll have to come back along the same route making for a total of 18 miles out and back.

 

 

Insiders Tip:

The park gets really crowded on summer weekends and the parking lot fills up really fast at which point cars are turned away. Get there early.

 

 

Nearby:

Cushetunk Nature Preserve

The 380 acre Cushetunk Nature Preserve is adjacent to Round Valley on the northern side of the Cushetunk Mountain. Direct sunlight is not received, making it a wetter habitat. Hiking trails only.

106 Old Mountain Road, Lebanon, NJ 08833

 

 

For more New Jersey Mountain Bike Trails

 

 

For more information:

Round Valley Recreation Area:
1220 Lebanon-Stanton Road
Lebanon, NJ 08833-3115

Phone: (908) 236-6355
TTY Users: (800) 852-7899 (New Jersey Relay Service) or 711 (AT&T National Relay Service)
Website: Round Valley Recreation Area

 

 

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