By Liz Johnson
Hunterdon County’s parks and recreation department has recently compiled new maps for hiking or biking in the county, offering more than 25 routes varying in difficulty. Here are a few ways to spend the day outdoors, enjoying the scenery and sustenance the county has to offer.
Located in the shadow of Route I-78 off Baptist Corner Road, Hoffman Park offers more than four miles of trails that were old farm roads. The main challenge at this park is the slope from the parking area to Manny’s Pond Road. At the end of your walk, you will have an uphill climb, which could leave you with a mighty thirst. You may want to stop off to quench it at the Clinton House, a 2019 Hunterdon Happening List Winner for Best Steak or Finagel’s, known for its wings, according to 2019 Hunterdon Happening List voters.
Charlestown Reservation off of Charlestown Road near Hampton offers more than 2.5 miles of compacted trails that start with a moderate climb up a hillside to a field. It continues to change grade throughout the hike. Afterwards, treat yourself at Mama G’s Treats and Sweets in Hampton, voted 2019 Hunterdon Happening List Best Dessert.
For a more challenging hike, try Teetertown Preserve which is accessible from Pleasant Grove Road or Hollow Brook Road in Lebanon Township. There are trails around the fields in the Mountain Farm Section and woodland hiking in the Ravine Section. Both areas constantly change in grade with the Ravine Section being the more challenging area because of slope and rocks. Afterwards, stop in a Chelsea’s Restaurant and Pub, voted 2019 Hunterdon Happening List Best Burger and Cheesesteak.
Columbia Trail offers 7 miles of converted railway between High Bridge Borough and Vernoy Road in Lebanon Township. Views are breathtaking. Start the day with breakfast at Hunterdon Happening List Winner Gronsky’s Milk House in High Bridge. End with a martini at Hunterdon Happening List Winner Fox and Hound Tavern in Lebanon.
Bike alongside the South Branch of the Raritan River on trails designed for fishing access but open to cyclists. The Stanton Station Section, accessible from the Echo Hill Park on Route 31, offers a moderate ride along a cliff face, before ending at a popular fishing hole. On either side of the trip, stop for nourishment at the Flemington-Raritan Diner on Route 31, a Hunterdon Happening List finalist.
An old driveway serves as a biking trail in the Miquin Woods off Boy Scout Road in Lebanon Township. The ride is just shy of a mile, giving you plenty of time to stroll the shops in nearby Califon, Hampton, Glen Gardner or High Bridge.