Mercer
Hopewell Township

Stony Brook-Millstone Watershed: Elks Trails
Hopewell Township, NJ 08525

Overview of Selected Trail

This is a very pleasant walk through a bottom land Red maple forest. Remnants of a Red cedar woods and the growth of American beech can be observed. The area may be swampy or muddy in the spring.

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  • Stony Brook-Millstone Watershed: Elks Trails
  • Distance:

    1.2 miles

    Time:

    One hour of leisurely walking

    Markings:

    White diamonds painted on trees

    Trail Usage:

    Walking/Hiking, Dogs permitted on leash

    Elevation:

    Flat

    Difficulty:

    Easy – trails can be very muddy, even after mild rain, so boots are recommended.

    Parking:

    A small cleared area will hold 2-3 cars

    Tips:

    Deer hunting by permit only on the preserve for certain days from October to January [mid-February. On hunting days the trail is closed to other uses. See the posted sign at the parking lot for the hunting days. No hunting is permitted on Sundays.

    Please always keep dogs on leash due to wildlife in area.

    The trail is very muddy, even after mild rain, so please wear boots.

    Amenities:

    This trail connects to Mount Rose Trail. See the guide for Mount Rose Trail.

    Directions:

    From Trenton:

    Take Route 31 North: Turn right onto Route 654 toward Hopewell. In 2 miles turn right at the Quarry Swim Club sign onto Crusher Road. In .3 miles turn right onto an old dirt road opposite # 164 Crusher Road. The parking lot is the cleared area on the immediate left.

    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 right onto 654 and travel approximately .9 miles. Turn left onto Crusher Road. In .3 miles turn right onto an old dirt road opposite # 164 Crusher Road. The parking lot is the cleared area on the immediate left.

    From Princeton:

    From Nassau Street, follow Route 206 South to Elm Road. Turn right onto Elm Road. At the first traffic light, turn left onto Rosedale Road and follow to the end. Turn right onto Carter Road (CR 569). When you pass through the traffic light at Cherry Valley Road, the name will change to Hopewell-Princeton Road. Continue through this traffic light for .3 miles. Take the left at the fork onto Crusher Road. Travel for 1.6 miles. The preserve is on the left opposite 164 Crusher Road. Turn left into the dirt road. The parking lot is the cleared area on the immediate left.

  • The loop trail passes through the low land woods of dominantly red maple with Elm, white ash, beech and black oak scattered throughout. Notice the “wolf trees” (large trees which once grew in the open but are now surrounded by returning forest). In the southeast section the trail enters a dense stand of red cedar. In this stand the shade is so dense that there is no undergrowth or ground cover. Look for muscular wildly artistic grape vines looping and climbing to the tops of the trees. Most of the forest has very little underbrush except along the watercourses where Spice bush can be found. The larger oak trees also seem to follow the water courses.

    The overabundant deer population is largely responsible for the lack of under story as they prefer just about all native species such as red maple over non-native species such as Japanese stilt grass which covers the trail in the summer. The small patches of spicebush are the highlight of the under story and provide highly nutritious fruit for migrating birds in autumn.

    Another pleasant walk that can be enjoyed along with Elks Trail is the Mount Rose Trail which connects to the east.

  • See trail description.

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  • The land was farmed until 1973. The woods have grown up since 1973 and the land was used as a hunting preserve by the Elks Club of Hopewell. In 2002, the Friends of Hopewell Valley Open Space purchased the land.

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  • Photos

    Stony Brook-Millstone Watershed: Elks Trails
    Stony Brook-Millstone Watershed: Elks Trails
    Stony Brook-Millstone Watershed: Elks Trails
    Stony Brook-Millstone Watershed: Elks Trails
    Stony Brook-Millstone Watershed: Elks Trails
    Stony Brook-Millstone Watershed: Elks Trails
    Stony Brook-Millstone Watershed: Elks Trails
    Stony Brook-Millstone Watershed: Elks Trails

    Videos

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