Montgomery, NJ 08502
Overview of Selected Trail
Montgomery Park is a combination of active and passive recreation open space owned and managed by Montgomery Township. The path around the baseball, softball and soccer fields is paved and provides a smooth, level walking surface. This paved section offers a connection to Mill Pond Park for a longer walk.
The Nature Trail Loop is a natural trail that winds through open meadow and into a grove of Eastern red cedars. It provides a great opportunity to observe wildlife and signs of wildlife. The Nature Trail Loop connects to the Back Brook Trail that meanders along the Back Brook and provides connections to the nearby housing development. The Back Brook Trail is mainly crushed stone, although there are a few wet areas. For more information see Montgomery Township.
Upper Loop (paved) 1.40 miles
Lower Loop (paved) 0.58 miles
Nature Trail Loop 0.90 mile
Back Brook Trail 0.93 miles
Upper Loop – 10 minutes
Lower Loop – 10 minutes
Nature Trail Loop – 15-30 minutes
Back Brook Trail – 30 minutes
“Montgomery Pathways” signs; some sections of trail are paved and trails through the fields are mowed
Walking/Hiking, Accessible by wheelchair and baby stroller, Dogs permitted on leash
Minimal – mostly flat
Easy. Portions of the trails are paved. The unpaved sections can be muddy, so boots are recommended.
Available in three different parking areas off Harlingen Road in Montgomery Township.
Trails are open for use from dawn to dusk.
Littering, dumping, discharge of firearms, archery and use of motorized vehicles are all prohibited.
Pets are welcome, but must be on leash and cleaned up after.
There are public restrooms available during the summer months. Picnic tables and playgrounds are also available.
To Upper Parking Area:
From Somerville: Follow Route 206 South from the Somerville Circle. Travel through Hillsborough Township and past the Montgomery Township Municipal Building. Turn left onto Harlingen Road and follow to the stop sign where you come to a “T”. Turn left and continue on Harlingen Road. Parking area is on the right.
From Princeton: Take Route 206 North out of Princeton and cross the intersection with CR-518. After passing CR-518, continue on Route 206 North for 2.6 miles to the third traffic light. Turn right onto Devon Drive. After approximately 0.8 miles, Devon Drive will turn into Harlingen Road. Continue straight to the Upper Parking Area on the right.
From Hopewell: Follow CR-518 East out of Hopewell Borough. Continue through the village of Blawenburg and cross the Great Road. Continue on Route 518 until you reach the intersection with Route 206. Turn left onto Route 206 North. Follow Route 206 North for 2.6 miles to the third traffic light. Turn right onto Devon Drive. After approximately 0.8 miles, Devon Drive will turn into Harlingen Road. Continue straight to the Upper Parking Area on the right.
To Middle and Lower Parking Areas: Continue on Harlingen Road and follow it as it bends sharply to the right. Middle Parking Area will on your right just before crossing Pike Run. Continue on Harlingen Road to Lower Parking Area, also on your right.
Montgomery Park is home to the Montgomery 9/11/2001 Memorial, the Montgomery Arboretum of Native Flora, the future Vietnam Veterans Memorial and several streambank restoration projects conducted in partnership with Stony Brook-Millstone Watershed Association.
Beginning from the Upper Parking Area, follow the paved path to the right. The path passes the Montgomery 9/11 Memorial and cuts along the outside edge of the soccer and baseball fields. The path will bend around to the left, passing a field house and basketball courts and come to the Middle Parking Area. Follow the paved path to the right to get to the Lower Loop or stay to the left to return to the Upper Parking Area.
From the Middle Parking Area, head southeast towards the bridge over Pike Run. (The parking area and baseball fields will be behind you). Follow the path over Pike Run to the “T”. Turn right and follow the path through the mix of low trees and shrubs. (A left hand turn at the “T” will lead back to Harlingen Road and the surrounding neighborhood.) The path will emerge into open fields with trails on the left connecting to soccer fields and the upper portion of the loop. Continue past the soccer fields and across a small bridge. Shortly after the bridge, the path will fork. Follow the path to the left to continue on the Lower Loop or continue straight connect to Mill Pond Park. (see Trail Links). Turning left, the path continues through fields, passing through the Montgomery Arboretum of Native Flora, the Lower Parking Area, and the site of the future Vietnam Veterans Memorial. At the “T”, turn right and then your first left to follow the path back over Pike Run to the Middle Parking Area.
Nature Trail Loop
The Nature Trail Loop can be accessed from either the Upper or Middle Parking Areas. From the Upper Parking Area, follow the paved path to the right, past the Montgomery 9/11 Memorial. After the paved path bends left, watch for the beginning of the Nature Trail Loop. The trailhead will be along the right hand side, where the mowed grass meets the meadow. Follow the trail through the meadow until it comes to a “T” at the Eastern red cedar grove. Turn right and follow the mowed trail around the edge of the red cedars. A side trail to the left will wander through the cedar grove and come out on the other side. The Back Brook Trail intersects on the right, along the back section of the Nature Trail Loop. Turning left at this intersection, follow the Nature Trail Loop back towards the park. Take notice of the side trail on your left leading into the cedar grove and a side trail on your right with nice access to the banks of Pike Run. The trail will then come to a fork. Follow the Nature Trail Loop to the left to return the way you came, or follow the right fork down past a picnic pavilion and connect with the Upper Loop by the Middle Parking Area.
Back Brook Trail
The Back Brook Trail begins in the far corner of the Nature Trail Loop. Follow the crushed gravel path past the wastewater treatment plant on your right. A side trail to the left leads down to the confluence of Back Brook and Pike Run. The gravel path continues past the treatment plant, paralleling the Back Brook. Two side trails to the right offer connections to the nearby neighborhood. At the second side trail, there is a playground and beginning of an exercise course. Here, the Back Brook Trail turns left and heads into the forested floodplain. Follow the trail across the bridge spanning the Back Brook, through a small wet area and to the end at Bridgepoint Road. Return to Montgomery Park via the same trail.
Mill Pond Park can be reached by following the Lower Loop to Mill Pond Road at the southeastern end of the park. The paved path will parallel Mill Pond Road before it crosses over to Mill Pond Park. See the Mill Pond Park map for more detail.
A trail link is planned from the end of the Back Brook Trail at Bridgepoint Road to the future Route 206 pedestrian tunnel. For more information, see Montgomery Township’s Office on Open SpaceMontgomery Township.
Montgomery Park offers a variety of wildlife viewing opportunities. While on the paved paths look along the field edges for goldfinches, field sparrows and the occasional kestrel, watch for soaring turkey and black vultures overhead and scan the treetops along the hedgerows of for red-tail hawks. The Montgomery Arboretum of Native Flora contains a myriad of plant species with interpretive signs and information along the path.
The Nature Loop Trail is a great trail for wildlife signs. Search the trail for signs of white tail deer and red fox and watch the birdhouses for Eastern bluebirds and tree swallows. Cedar groves are favored day-roosting spots of owls. If you follow the trails that cut into the cedar grove, watch for owls like great horned or screech owls. Winter is an especially good time for owls searching as several northern species like long eared owls and saw whet owls spend the winter in New Jersey.
Pike Run and Back Brook are home to a number of aquatic creatures. Mayfly and stonefly nymphs, hellgrammites and crayfish and just a few invertebrates that are found in the pools and riffles. Fish like sunnies, creek chub and shiners are abundant, as well as the creatures who eat them like great blue herons and belted kingfishers. If you visit these streams, check the edges for the tracks of raccoons as they wander the banks in search of their next meal.
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For more information, see Montgomery Township’s Office on Open Space Montgomery Township.
Do you have information about this trail?
Click Here to contribute.