Somerset
Montgomery

Opossum Road Woods
Montgomery, NJ 08558

Overview of Selected Trail

Opossum Road Woods is a small tract of open space owned and managed by Montgomery Township. The trail starts at the southern end of the historic Opossum Road Bridge and wanders through floodplain forest along the Bedens Brook. The graceful curve of the stone arch bridge complements the wide curves of the meandering Bedens Brook, and the views from both the bridge and the trail are classic landscape scenes. Local Scout groups built both the trails and benches. For more information on Montgomery Township’s pathways, go to Montgomery Township.

Trail Map
Summary
Full Desc
Flora & Fauna
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  • Opossum Road Woods
  • Distance:

    Under one mile

    Time:

    20-30 minutes, depending on pace

    Markings:

    There are white blazes and “Montgomery Pathways” signs.

    Trail Usage:

    Walking/Hiking

    Elevation:

    Flat

    Difficulty:

    Easy – The trails can be muddy, so boots are recommended.

    Parking:

    The only parking is at Rock Brook School on Orchard Road. During school hours, parking is limited, but on weekends it is more available. There is no parking on Opossum Road.

    Tips:

    Amenities:

    Directions:

    From Flemington:

    Take Route 202/31 South. Continue on Route 31 South when the roads split off. Follow Route 31 South to Route 518. Take Route 518 East towards Hopewell. Follow 518 East to the traffic light at the intersection with Route 654. Turn left and continue on Route 518 East out of Hopewell Borough and through the traffic light at Route 601. Take the second left onto Burnt Hill Road. Go past the entrance to Skillman Village Park (owned and managed by Somerset County as a passive recreation park with walking and bike trails ) on your left and make the next right turn onto Orchard Road. Continue past Opossum Road and make your first right into the parking lot of the Rock Brook School.

    From Princeton:

    Take Route 206 North. After you pass the Princeton Airport on your left you will turn left at the next intersection which is Route 518. Travel on Route 518 West and turn right at the first traffic light onto Opossum Road. Take Opossum Road over the one way bridge, to Orchard Road. Turn right onto Orchard Road and make first right into the parking lot of the Rock Brook School.

  • The trail begins just behind the Rock Brook School. It can be reached by cutting across the lawn on the right hand side of the school. The trailhead is not marked but the trail is mowed through the field. Please respect the privacy of the Rock Brook School and adjacent landowners by not wandering off the trail. The trail will cut through the field, into the forest along the Bedens Brook and reach Opossum Road, just above the bridge. A steep bank must be scrambled down to reach the road. Please use caution when climbing down the bank onto the road. After crossing over the bridge, the trail re-enters the woods on the right. Taking the right branch, the trail winds along the Bedens Brook, with views of the historic Opossum Road Bridge to your right. At 120 yards, you will come to a trail intersection. The trail to the left loops back around to Opossum Road. Taking the trail to your right, cross over a small footbridge and continue along the Beden Brook. Right after the bridge, there is access down to the brook on your right. The trail continues for another 130 yards, before ending shortly after a gigantic sycamore tree on your left. To return, follow the trail back the way you came. After crossing the small footbridge again, bear to your right and follow the trail 250 yards to Opossum Road. Cross back over the bridge, scramble up the bank on your right and follow the path back to the parking area at the Rock Brook School.

    Trail Links:

    There are currently no trail links available, but the Montgomery Township Master Plan calls for linking all of their open space/park pathways.

  • Classic floodplain vegetation, like sycamores, boxelder and red maple line the path that wanders along the Beden Brook. The understory is dominated by fragrant spicebush. The lemony smelling leaves provide a unique experience to the hiker, while the red, high-quality fall fruits are a favorite of passing migrants. Other trees like black walnut and Osage orange provide evidence to the property’s former use as a pasture border. The greenish-black walnut shells and the green “brain-like” fruits of the Osage orange can be found scattered along the trail.

    The forested Bedens Brook is a wonderful wildlife corridor, allowing passage of many migrants as well as year-round residents. Watch for great blue herons and kingfishers along the edges, look for the cup-like nest of the Baltimore oriole hanging precariously from the end of tree branches, and search for tracks and piles of freshwater mollusk shells left by raccoons wandering the shoreline. Close inspection of the Beden Brook itself will yield a great many discoveries as well, including green frog tadpoles, fish like creek chubs and shiners, and crayfish crawling along the bottom in search of food and shelter.

    At the very end of the trail stands a magnificent sycamore tree. Estimated at over 100 years old, this grand tree stands as testament to the past greatness of our eastern forests.

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  • The Opossum Road Bridge is a double-arched, camel backed, random rubble bridge. Originally built in 1822, it is the second earliest dated bridge surviving in Somerset County. A full restoration of the bridge was completed in 2002.

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  • Photos

    Opossum Road Woods
    Opossum Road Woods
    Opossum Road Woods
    Opossum Road Woods
    Opossum Road Woods

    Videos

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