Hunterdon
Lebanon

Hunterdon County Arboretum
Lebanon, NJ 08833

Overview of Selected Trail

At the Hunterdon County Arboretum you can combine a visit to a lovely display garden with a gentle stroll on two miles of trail through mixed hardwood and evergreen woods, and along a boardwalk through a rich wetland alive with skunk cabbage, cattails and ferns. Visitors can do a self guided nature trail, following explanations of the 27 numbered markers in a brochure available at the Park office or at Hunterdon County Parks and Recreation Department.

Trail Map
Summary
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Flora & Fauna
History
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  • Hunterdon County Arboretum
  • Distance:

    Total of about two miles of trails

    Time:

    An hour or less for a leisurely stroll

    Markings:

    Some trails are unmarked, others are marked with orange metal squares on trees, but all trail intersections have clear directional signs. Trails are easy to follow.

    Trail Usage:

    Walking/Hiking, Dogs permitted on leash

    Elevation:

    Flat

    Difficulty:

    Easy, mostly on grassy or packed wood chip trails

    Parking:

    Plentiful parking at the Parks Department headquarters, entered off Route 31 northbound. There are two lots, one at the south and one at the north end of the headquarters building.

    Tips:

    In spring and after heavy rains, the Memorial Trail, particularly where it intersects the Two Line Trail, can be very wet. Wear appropriate shoes.

    A phone number for the ranger during evenings or weekends is (908) 788-1202.

    Amenities:

    Look for a beautiful perennial garden and a variety of display gardens. This is also the headquarters of Hunterdon County Parks and Recreation. Restrooms are available in the headquarters building during office hours. There are a few picnic tables in the garden area.

    Directions:

    From the Flemington circle at the intersection of State Routes 31 and 202, proceed north on Route 31 for 5.8 miles, to the Arboretum entrance. The Arboretum Trail is located in Clinton Township.

    From I-78, take Route 31 south for 6.2 miles, and take the jug handle at Stanton Station Road to return north on Route 31 for about an eighth of a mile to the park entrance. The Arboretum Trail is located in Clinton Township.

  • The Hunterdon County Arboretum trail network consists of an Outer Loop Trail around the perimeter of the park to the east of the display gardens, and several “interior trails.” The Two Line Trail (named for the Two Lined Salamander) bisects the park roughly parallel to the two arms of the OuterLoop Trail, and connecting to it at the eastern end of the park. The Memorial and Dogwood Trails run north-south, connecting the two arms of the Outer Loop Trail (and crossing the Two Line Trail).

    A very pleasant walk can begin in the display gardens. Enter the garden from the parking lot, pass the gazebo, and continue straight back to a gate in the deer fence that surrounds the garden. Exiting the garden, cross a service road and continue straight, crossing a rustic wooden bridge, and reaching an intersection with the Discovery Trail. Go left and after a short distance cross the Outer Loop Trail and continue on the Discovery Trail, following a small brook that is an unnamed tributary of the South Branch of the Raritan River. In spring, the brook babbles gently and is lined in some areas with the fresh green of skunk cabbages poking up through winter’s remains. In the spring and summer the brook is visited by frogs, small fish, snails, raccoons, and heron. The Discovery Trail rejoins the Outer Loop, continuing some distance along the brook to the eastern end of the park, where it swings to the right (south) through a stretch of cool pine woods. The Outer Loop then bends right again, back west towards the park entrance, crossing several small flat wooden bridges over wet areas, and passing the transverse Dogwood and Memorial Trails. (At two other points along this section of the Outer Loop, there are still appearances of other old paths heading north through the woods, but no directional signs; these are not intended for use.)

    Nearing the western end of the park, the Outer Loop becomes a lovely boardwalk through the Vincent Arbraitys Study Wetland, extending several hundred feet between stands of skunk cabbage and cattails; it splits in two, either branch taking you across the brook and onto a woodland path. Going to the right, you will pass a small pond, and return to the point just outside the display gardens where you began.

  • The Arboretum experience offers gardens and a mix of native and non-native trees. The 20,000 square-foot display garden includes an herb garden, a rock garden, cut flower garden, and a butterfly garden. The land’s history as a commercial nursery is evident in the straight lines of trees in some areas. White pines, cedars, oak, and sycamore predominate, and in the spring dogwoods brighten the scene. The Arboretum’s wetlands abound in skunk cabbage, cattails, and ferns. Birdlife is also rich, including red-bellied, downy, and hairy woodpeckers, and on rare occasions a pileated woodpecker. Frogs are abundant in the spring, and groundhogs and deer are in evidence.

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  • The Hunterdon County Parks Department acquired 73 acres in 1974 from George and Esther Bloomer. The Bloomers had begun a commercial nursery on the property in 1953, growing pine, spruce, and oak as well as more exotic trees like Amur cork and dawn redwoods. An additional 32 acres of mixed hardwood forest, across County Route 629 to the east of the main park lands, was acquired subsequently from J.C. Furnas, an author and frequent contributor to the New York Times and Saturday Evening Post. Although there are no trails developed on that property, the Furnas Section provides habitat for birds and animal life.

    The gazebo at the center of the display gardens is itself an historic structure. The gazebo was built in 1893 on the Readington Township farm of John Deats, holder of the 1829 patent on the Deats plow. It was moved to the Arboretum in the late 1970s, and is the oldest original two-story gazebo in New Jersey.

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  • Photos

    Hunterdon County Arboretum
    Hunterdon County Arboretum

    Videos

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