Hunterdon
Lebanon

Hill and Dale Preserve
Lebanon, NJ

Overview of Selected Trail

The Hill and Dale Preserve, owned and managed by the New Jersey Conservation Foundation, begins in the Rockaway Creek valley and climbs a steep hillside in Tewksbury Township. The nearly 300-acre preserve consists mainly of open fields. From trails along the edges of the hillside fields, hikers can enjoy panoramic vistas of preserved farmland and distantmountains. From the highest point, hikers can view the Watchung Mountains to the east and the Round Valley Reservoir and Cushetunk Mountain to the west.

Trail Map
Summary
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Flora & Fauna
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  • Hill and Dale Preserve
  • Distance:

    Orange Trail – 1.2 miles

    Blue Trail – 1 mile

    Purple Trail – 800 feet

    Time:

    Orange Trail: 50 minutes

    Blue Trail: 40 minutes

    Purple Trail: 10 minutes

    Markings:

    Colored markers are painted on trees and posts. There are posts with markers in the fields to provide direction, but they can be widely spaced. Hikers are advised to bring a trail map.

    Trail Usage:

    The trails are also suitable for horses, but parking for trailers is very limited. No motorized vehicles are allowed.

    Elevation:

    Most of the trails are on a hillside with some steep grades.

    Difficulty:

    Moderate given fairly steep slopes.

    Parking:

    An unmarked parking lot is located across Parsonage Lot Road from the Hill and Dale Preserve trailhead. Watch for a stone driveway on the north side of the road leading to a small lot with a kiosk at the rear. The lot also serves the Hell Mountain Preserve. When crossing the road, hikers should head a little to the right toward the Hill and Dale kiosk at the trailhead.

    Tips:

    Hikers should wear hiking boots or sturdy shoes and dress appropriately for the weather. Since most of the trails are in fields without shade, hikers are advised to wear caps or hats on sunny days. All trails are well drained due to their hillside location.

    The trails, as described below, go through open fields. Although New Jersey Conservation Foundation maintains the trails, if mowing cycles have been missed, the grass can get quite tall in the spring and summer. Users concerned about that possibility should check with NJCF in advance to determine if the trails have been recently mowed (phone 908-234-1225 or online at http://njconservation.org/contactus.htm).

    Amenities:

    A kiosk with trail information is located at the trailhead.

    Directions:

    From the south: Take Route 523 to Oldwick and continue on Route 517 (Old Turnpike Road) one mile past Oldwick. Turn left on to Hill and Dale Road. Go 1.5 miles to Parsonage Lot Road and turn right. Go another 800 feet up hill to Preserve parking lot on right.

    From the north: Take route 517 to just north of Oldwick and turn right on to Hill and Dale Road.  Go 1.5 miles to Parsonage Lot Road and turn right. Go another 800 feet up the hill to Preserve parking lot on right.

  • Orange Trail: Most of this trail skirts the edge of meadows. The grass, if not recently mowed, can get high in summer slow a hiker’s pace.  The trail climbs a hill and crosses the upper edge of fields, with a panoramic view.  At its far end, the trail enters a mature, mixed hardwood forest for a short distance. Upon reaching a small stream, hikers can make a U-turn, crossing the stream to follow the rest of the trail to its end at Rockaway Road.  Alternatively, hikers can, when they reach the stream,  take the Blue Trail to complete a loop going back to the preserve entrance.

    Blue Trail: Except for short distances in the woods at its beginning and end, the Blue Trail, like the Red Trail, skirts open fields.  Like the Red Trail, walkers may encounter tall grass. Set lower on the hillside, the Blue Trail does not offer the same dramatic views as the Red Trail, but it avoids steep slopes.   The section of the trail near the entrance can be difficult to follow as it winds its way through a wooded area with dense vegetation.

    Purple Trail: This is a short trail along field edges with widely spaced posts.  It provides a shorter loop for hikers on the Red and Blue trails.

  • In the Preserve’s forests and fields, a variety of birds can be seen, including Cooper’s Hawk, Wood Thrush, Veery and Brown Thrasher. The preserve is also home to bobcat, fox, and black bear.

    The wooded area of the preserve features mature native hardwoods of poplar, beech, ash, oak, and maple.

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  • For nearly a century, Hill and Dale Farm operated as a dairy and horse farm, raising hay, corn and grains. Its graceful Dutch-style barns are an iconic sight along Rockaway Road. The New Jersey Conservation Foundation began working in 2004 with the longtime owners, the Rothpletz family, to preserve the majority of its acreage.

    The Hill and Dale Preserve was created in 2011 from 115 acres of the landmark Hill and Dale Farm and enlarged through subsequent land purchases. In 2016, 100 acres of gently rolling farmland on the south side of Hill and Dale Road was acquired from the Rothpletz family and added to the Preserve, expanding it to nearly 300 acres. Major funding for the land purchase was provided by the River Branch Foundation, whose trustee, Jennifer Johnson Duke, is a Tewksbury native. Other funding came from Hunterdon County, Victoria Foundation, Tewksbury Land Trust, 1772 Foundation and numerous private donors.

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