Hunterdon
Flemington

South Branch Reservation: Stanton Station Section
Flemington, NJ 08822

Overview of Selected Trail

The South Branch Reservation is a collection of 12 small parks totaling about 1000 acres, and running, with two minor exceptions, about 10 miles along the South Branch of the Raritan River between Flemington and Clinton. The southern half is more developed from a hiking trail perspective, and forms a contiguous area with Deer Path and Round Mountain Parks, also owned by Hunterdon County. Included in this half are the Wings Section, the Stanton Station Section (see separate section for this trail), and the Assiscong Marsh Natural Area, the latter having no hiking trails. In general, the entire reservation seems to be a work in progress, and some of the trails indicated on the county maps either don’t exist yet or tend to disappear without warning. Trails are generally marked with orange diamonds, and trail maintenance varies considerably. All trails are designated for hiking, biking and horseback riding, but most are used very infrequently.

Trail Map
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  • South Branch Reservation: Stanton Station Section
  • Distance:

    Approximately 2 miles of trails

    Time:

    Allow 30-40 minutes depending on pace

    Markings:

    Orange diamonds nailed to trees; mowed paths in open areas. No markers on side trail.

    Trail Usage:

    Walking/Hiking, Dogs permitted on leash

    Elevation:

    The main trail gains about 100 feet after the first half mile

    Difficulty:

    Walking is easy, except for ascending or descending the railroad embankment. The 100 foot climb is fairly steep when going north. Some of the Stanton Station trails are in floodplains, so the soil content makes the trails muddy in late winter and spring.

    Parking:

    This section is in Raritan Township. To reach the Stanton Station trailhead, stay on Route 31 a mile or so past West Woodschurch Road and turn left on Stanton Station Road at the jug handle. Just after crossing the river, the parking lot is on the left.

    Tips:

    Much of the trail exists in a flood plain and can be quite muddy and slippery after rain; especially in late winter and early spring during thaws.

    Trails which permit horseback riding are in certain areas of the South Branch Reservation.

    Note: There are railroad tracks along the trail. Please exercise caution when in the area of the tracks. Exercise particular caution when hiking with children.

    Amenities:

    Consult the Hunterdon County website for further parks information Hunterdon County Parks.

    Directions:

    This section is in Raritan Township, Hunterdon County. To reach the Stanton Station trailhead, stay on Route 31 a mile or so past West Woodschurch Road and turn left on Stanton Station Road at the jug handle. Just after crossing the river, the parking lot is on the left.

  • Deer Path and Round Mountain are separate sections of the same park, separated by West Woodschurch Road in Readington Township. Deer Path is a flat, active recreation area, with soccer and softball fields, picnic and play areas, and a three acre pond. In this section are walking and fitness trails, notably around the perimeter and consisting mainly of paths mowed in the grass. The Round Mountain section, on the other hand, is hilly and wooded, with narrow trails and old logging roads on the sides of the mountain. Hunting is allowed in the latter by special permit at certain times. There are also marked bridle trails associated with both areas that are maintained by the Readington Trails Association, and these are open for hiking as well.

    This trail must be hiked from the Stanton Station end. Three trails leave from the same area around the parking lot, but join in less than 100 yards. The trail follows the river south through a lovely beech and oak forest for 0.6 mile, climbing almost 100 feet near the end. At the top of the hill, a trail comes in from the right and goes to Old Clinton Road, but you should stay on the main trail along this stretch. The main trail drops steeply to a railroad track. Please proceed with caution through this area due to train traffic. The trails through Stanton Station are over 20 years old so be aware of car traffic and train traffic. You will find the trail again as it drops down an embankment and again follows the river. It soon turns to the right and, after about 0.3 mile, comes out on an open field at a “T” intersection. At this point, the county map shows it turning to the left, but this is the WRONG way and ends in brambles and other undesirable things. Turn to the right, shortly passing under a power line and following around to the left for 0.2 mile before re-entering the woods and then climbing back up the embankment to the railroad track. A new maintenance roadway along the track is under construction (2005), and this has obliterated the trail in several spots, so one must walk to the left down the new roadway for about 200 yards before coming to the spot where the trail again descends the bank and runs in a narrow strip between the river and the railroad. In another ½ mile, the trail ends after ascending the railroad embankment. The county map shows it continuing to Route 31 and crossing the bridge to connect with the Wings trails, but this would involve crossing the track again, climbing another embankment up to River Road., walking about 1/4 mile along the road and then crossing a very active highway bridge with no walkway. It is highly recommended that the trail should be hiked as an out-and-back experience.

  • Most of this trail is in a lovely hardwood forest, with its attendant wildlife. On the river, many geese and ducks can be seen.

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  • Stanton Station was named after the trainstop that once existed there. The train station was moved 1/2 mile away to a summer camp named Camp Echo Hill in 1943 when the Lehigh Valley Railroad sold it for $75. The train station is still standing on the property. The former summer camp is today owned and operated by the County of Hunterdon as a passive park.

    Consult the Hunterdon County website for further parks information: Hunterdon County Parks.

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  • Photos

    South Branch Reservation: Stanton Station Section

    Videos

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