Davidson’s Mill Pond Park
South Brunswick, NJ 08852
Overview of Selected Trail
Davidson’s Mill Pond Park consists of 482 acres located in South Brunswick, NJ. The Park is primarily undeveloped, retaining much of it natural wooded beauty and former farm open space. It is owned and operated by the Middlesex County Parks Department. For more information visit: Middlesex County Department of Parks and Recreation.
About 3.2 miles in total.
Two hours to enjoy all trails.
Mill Pond Trail (Blue): 0.53 miles 17 minutes to walk at a leisurely pace:
Farm Road Trail (White): 1.12 miles 37 minutes to walk at a leisurely pace:
Eco Trail (Green): 0.3 miles. 8 minutes to walk at a leisurely pace. This mowed path is simple to follow.
Hidden Pond Trail (Yellow): 1.22 miles. 42 minutes to walk at a leisurely pace:
Farrington Lake Trail (Orange): 1.10 miles 37 minutes to walk at a leisurely pace.
Walking/Hiking, Dogs permitted on leash
Mostly flat with some elevation on Mill Pond Trail.
All trails are easy with the exception of Mill Pond Trail, which is moderate.
There are 2 public parking areas at Davidson’s Mill Pond Park, both paved.
Note: These trails are well known, so you will probably come across other hikers
The trails are open from sunrise to sunset. All dogs must be on leashes. Please feel free to pick up any litter you find.
Bicyclists must yield to all other trail users. Pedestrians must yield to equestrians.
Trails are mostly dry after a day of rain. Some areas would be undesirable to walk during rain, because of slippery rocks and bog-walks.
Kiosks are at the beginning of Mill Pond Trail (Blue), and at the intersection of Farm Road Trail (White) and Hidden Pond Trail (Yellow). You can get maps at the Mill Pond trail entrance, at the Kiosk, or the telephone pole across from the entrance of the trail.
For assistance, contact the Park Ranger Unit at 732-745-3800
Canoeing, kayaking and small electric motor boats are permitted on Davidson Mill Pond, where fishing and ice fishing is good. Large open areas fringed by forest afford space to play and explore. A display vegetable garden, herb garden, wildflower area and small butterfly garden are available for public viewing. Administrative offices for Rutgers Cooperative Extension, 4-H, Family & Community Health Services, and Middlesex Master Gardeners are located in the park. Middlesex County Parks scheduled outdoor events and lectures are held throughout the year. Davidson Mill Pond Park does not contain public restroom facilities, but a port-a-john is on site.
From New Brunswick:
Take the exit for Rt. 130 South off Rt.1. At light after Middlesex County Offices & Correctional Center, make left (Davidson Mill Rd.). Make first right onto Riva Ave. Park is on the left.
From New Jersey Turnpike:
Take Exit 8A. Follow signs for Rt. 32 West. Take Rt. 130 North (New Brunswick). Make right onto Davidson Mill Rd. Make first right onto Riva Ave. Park is on the left.
All trails are at least 4 feet wide with an 8-foot clearance and marked with blazes.
Mill Pond Trail (Blue): This trail, mostly of stone, takes walkers along the southern shore of the mill pond. All along the trail are plaques, made by Efren Deasis for an eagle scout project in April 2011, pointing out plants/ wildlife activity such as chokeberry, maple, white oak, American beech, and beaver activity. Parts of this trail may be slippery (wet stones) during rain or after a shower, so proceed with caution. The path is well shaded, and well-marked with blue blazes. At 0.04 miles in you will come to a split in the path: south would lead you to the Native Plant Garden, north will keep you on the Mill Pond Trail. As you proceed along the blue trail, some features are: several benches with views of Davidson Mill Pond, four stone staircases, and a set of stone walls. The trail, at its south end, connects to the Farm Road Trail.
Farm Road Trail (White): This trail was built to allow access for park service trucks, so you might come across a park vehicle. This trail is mostly dirt with some gravel-fill areas, but it can be muddy after rain and will have the occasional large puddle. It is an easy ride for bikes or strollers. The trail begins at the parking lot in front of the Earth Center. At 0.33 miles in you will come across the opening to the Mill Pond Trail, head west to go down that trail, stay south to continue down the Farm Road Trail. At about 0.54 miles you will come across a large opening by a small lake. This area has some signs of beaver activity as well as a view of a beaver dam. At 0.84 miles you will find the opening of the Hidden Pond Trail. Continue north to stay on the Farm Road Trail. At 0.91 miles, you will come across another fork in the road; head west to stay on Farm Road Trail or continue north to exit the Trail and continue into the fields at Davidson’s Mill. At 1.12 miles you will return to the fork that either continues the loop back to the pond by going west or go north to head back to the Earth Center.
Hidden Pond Trail (Yellow): The Hidden Pond Trail begins in a short grassy area along the south side of a small pond. It can be overgrown at times, and after rain the rocks and bog-walks are slippery. When you first enter the wood line the trail will be quite rocky–the only part of the trail that will be somewhat rough. Soon you will come to a series of bog-walks that stretch on for quite a while until you arrive at a much wider part of the trail at about 0.42 miles. Follow the trail as it turns southwest and comes to the park road. At that junction, head southeast (left) to continue down the Hidden Pond Trail, or northwest (right) to follow the road into the Park. As you follow the trail, walk past the pond and turn southwest to turn into an open grassy patch and then back into the woods. There will be one bog-walk at 0.71 miles. Past this point, the trail will vary in width and have lots of twists and turns, with more bog-walks, and arrive at the Farm Road Trail.
Eco Trail (Green): Grass trail. No markers, but very easy to find and follow when freshly mowed through the taller meadow beyond the open lawn. Openings to this trail can be found by walking across the mowed lawn from the park access road. Beautiful in spring and late summer when milkweed is in bloom and the butterflies are flourishing. This trail is directly in the sun and can get quite warm.
Farrington Lake Trail (Orange): This trail, marked in orange, connects Davidson Mill Pond Park with the Ireland Brook Preserve to the northeast. Even with markers, the trail route can in some places get confusing because of dips or abundant foliage. Parts of this trail also meet up with Riva Avenue, and at one point you will have to cross a busy street. Start on this trail near the entrance to Davidson’s Mill Pond Park. About 0.05 miles, cross Riva Avenue to continue along the Farrington Lake Trail. Come to a fork, where you can turn southwest (left) or northeast (right) to stay on the trail, which at this point forms a loop. Either direction takes you to the northeast end of the loop. From there you can continue northeast on the Farrington Lake Trail, crossing Davidson’s Mill Road and continuing parallel to Riva Avenue, with some stone staircases, rock walls, and a small bridge with the possible company of a multitude of toads. There will be an exit at 0.82 miles leading up to Riva Avenue, and the trail ends at a parking lot at 1.04 miles.
The wooded portion of Davidson’s Mill Pond Park is primarily a mature, late succession or “climax forest” dominated by American Beech, Oaks, Birch, Tulip Poplar and Sweet Gum. Dogwood, Sassafras, Summersweet and Chokeberry run through the understory, while Solomon’s Seal, Wintergreen, Skunk Cabbage, Fiddlehead Fern and Ground Pine peak through the forest floor.
The meadow sections of the park put on a showy display of Milkweed, Aster, Yarrow, Queen Anne’s Lace, Cardinal Flower, Wild Mint, Primrose and more. Included in the former farm area of the park, Middlesex County Master Gardeners and staff have established vegetable, herb and flower gardens for public display and education.
Davidson’s Mill Pond itself is home to mallards, black ducks, great blue herons and beavers. Due to the ideal mix of forest, meadow and proximity to Davidson’s Mill Pond, birders enjoy a variety of sightings including Eastern bluebirds, killdeer, wood thrush, cedar waxwing, hummingbirds, red-tailed hawks and woodpeckers to name just a few. Over 65 avian species have been documented in the park.
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The original land for Davidson’s Mill Pond Park was acquired in 1975 under the Green Acres Act and was added to in subsequent years. The pond itself, Davidson’s Mill Pond, is part of the: Lawrence Brook Watershed
The White Trail was originally part of a network of farm roads located on the Tantum Farm, which subsequently became the Park. The original farm dates back to the 1800s (history of the park appearing on the above web page). As a former farm road, the Old Farm Road trail is wide and easily traversed by bike or foot. The Mill Pond trail was created in 2008 by the Middlesex County Youth Conservation Corps and is maintained by Middlesex County Master Gardeners.
The Mill Pond trail runs along Davidson’s Mill Pond, a picturesque, winding trail, studded with stone steps and pond views. Rutgers Cooperative Extension set up administrative offices in the Park in 2004. Since then, vegetable and herb display gardens have been established in the open area of the park, and a natural preserve area created to sustain native wildlife and wildflowers. Native and pest resistant trees and shrubs have been added to a mini arboretum area. Also, a rain garden was established to collect and filter stormwater runoff.
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