Mercer
Princeton

Herrontown Woods
Princeton, NJ 08540

Overview of Selected Trail

Herrontown Woods, lying across the eastern end of the Princeton Ridge, offers more than three miles of trails through pleasant woods. An open right-of-way for the underground Transco Gas Pipeline bisects the property southwest to northeast, crossing several of the trails, and offering longer views. Intermittent streams come down from the ridge to join a creek near the parking lot. The 142-acre property is owned by Mercer County and managed by the County Park Commission.

Trail Map
Summary
Full Desc
Flora & Fauna
History
Photos/Videos
  • Herrontown Woods
  • Distance:

    Time:

    1-2 hours for a nice walk around a major portion of the preserve .

    Markings:

    White, red, blue, green, and yellow blazes on trees (may be faint) and in some places small stakes with colored bands. Do not rely on consistent markings to find your way; use the map and orient yourself.

    Trail Usage:

    Hiking/walking

    Elevation:

    140-283 feet above sea level

    Difficulty:

    Moderate inclines, some places where streams are crossed on stepping stones.

    Parking:

    Ample parking lot off Snowden Lane.

    Tips:

    Trails may be wet in some places for much of the year. Future work may relocate some trails and improve others, but in the meantime, be aware of these conditions…and enjoy the beautiful woods.

    Amenities:

    None

    Directions:

    From Nassau and Witherspoon Streets in the center of Princeton, go north on Nassau Street (Route 27) 1.1 miles. Left at light onto Snowden Lane. Go 1.5 miles. Sign on left (before you reach Herrontown Road) marks short lane into Herrontown Woods parking lot.

  • A long “outer loop” can be made by taking the red or orange trails from the parking lot, to the right, to the cottage clearing, then the blue trail to the right behind the abandoned house until it joins the red trail near the northern edge of the park. Continue straight (roughly southwest) on the red trail to the high point of the park, where it bends left (southeast) and returns to the parking lot. Interior trails within this outer loop can be combined to make shorter walks.

  • The woods are a diversified forest of oak, tulip, red maple, and sweetgum trees, the result of natural succession in areas earlier disturbed by farming and timber cutting. There is also a beech grove, with flowering dogwoods in the understory, and a white pine grove near the parking lot, planted in the 1930’s but damaged by a severe wind and snow storm in 1993. Shrubs include spicebush in wet areas, maple-leafed viburnum in better drained areas. Spring sees may apple throughout the forest, and jack-in-the pulpits where it is wet. Woodland asters are widespread in the fall. Warblers and thrushes can be spotted, and the great horned owl and Eastern screech owl are reportedly in residence.

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  • An active farm, deeded to Mercer County by Princeton University mathematician Oswald Veblen and his wife Elizabeth in 1957, occupied the southeastern part of the woods, including the cottage clearing with its now abandoned house and barn. Wood-cutting for timber sale continued through the 1920s. The Levine tract, additional land on the eastern side of the woods that was acquired in the early 1970’s, had seen traprock quarrying around the beginning of the 20th century.

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  • Photos

    Herrontown Woods
    Herrontown Woods
    Herrontown Woods
    Herrontown Woods
    Herrontown Woods
    Herrontown Woods
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    Herrontown Woods
    Herrontown Woods

    Videos

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