Greenway Meadows – Stony Brook Trails
Princeton Township, NJ 08540
Overview of Selected Trail
This trail complex combines three preserved areas: the Stony Brook Trail corridor, Greenway Meadows, and the J. Seward Johnson Preserve. The Stony Brook Trail, running along the stream for a total of over two miles in both directions from Rosedale Road, includes a pedestrian bridge built with federal, state, county and local funds, and a lot of effort by The Princeton Township Engineering Department and the Friends of Princeton Open Space. Conceived as part of a network of trails around Princeton Township, it now connects directly to Greenway Meadows, the large park and ball fields surrounding the D&R Greenway Land Trust offices at the Johnson Education Center (JEC). Both are linked to the J. Seward Johnson Preserve across Rosedale Road from the JEC. This trail complex provides links to Woodfield Reservation, via the PDS Trail, and Mountain Lakes.
Stony Brook Trail: 2.3 miles
Greenway Meadows: 2 miles
J. Seward Johnson, Sr. Woodlands Preserve: .5 mile
Varies depending on route, but a walk of one to 1.5 hours can cover most of the terrain.
The entry trail to the J. Seward Johnson Preserve off Rosedale Road is marked with yellow D&R Greenway markers, and the trail that traverses that preserve from General Johnson Drive (entry to Community Park School) up to the Trolley Line is marked in square red blazes. The Greenway Meadows trails and the Stony Brook Trail are not marked, but these trails are either mowed, lined with logs/stones, or otherwise well defined.
Walking/hiking. The trails in Greenway Meadows are accessible by wheelchair and baby stroller. Dogs permitted on leash.
There is approximately a 100′ change in elevation from the Stony Brook Trail up to Route 206 or to Winant Road above the Hun School athletic fields. The Scott and Hella McVay Poetry Trail at Greenway Meadows gains about 60′, and the J. Seward Johnson Preserve trails rise about the same amount from Rosedale Road to their high point.
The Stony Brook Trail from Route 206 to the pedestrian bridge and to the Hun School is smooth and easy to use, although there is an 8% slope down a switchback from Rt. 206. The path along the Stony Brook is mostly level path, but short sections are rocky. The Greenway Meadows trails are mowed grass or pavement, but involve some inclines. The paths in the J. Seward Johnson Preserve are packed earth and generally easy walking, although there are some inclines.
A parking lot is available at the Greenway Meadows athletic fields. There is a small parking lot on the Historic Overlook/Washington Oaks side of Route 206, across from the beginning of the Stony Brook Trail as it descends to the bridge, but this involves crossing a busy highway. Parking at the Hun School athletic fields is restricted to handicapped individuals only. It is also possible to park along General Johnson Road.
These trails offer quiet views of the Stony Brook, and a high meadow giving views over Princeton. Walkers can make a loop by combining the Stony Brook Trail, exploration of the Meadows, and the trail through the J. Seward Johnson Preserve. Note that there are some unmarked paths in the J. Seward Johnson Preserve that approach the Community Park School. Those trails are for use by school groups only; the public should use only the yellow and red marked trails.
The Johnson Education Center, home of D&R Greenway Land Trust, is a renovated historic c. 1900 barn. It has frequent art exhibits open to the public during business hours. The Scott and Hella McVay Poetry Trail, beginning to the rear of the Center, has inscriptions quoting famous poets.
The Greenway Meadows parking lot is on the south side of Rosedale Road, just to the east of the Rosedale Road bridge across Stony Brook; General Johnson Road and Johnson Park School are directly across the road on the north side. Rosedale Road runs from Elm Road in Princeton to Carter Road in Lawrence Township.
The Historic Overlook parking lot is off Route 206, west of the Stony Brook bridge, and slightly west of the service entrance to the Jasna Polana golf course. Use caution in crossing Route 206!
The Hun School athletic complex (parking for handicapped individuals only) is off Winant Road, which is reached by turning onto Edgerstoune Road from Route 206, west of Princeton Borough. Take the first left off Edgerstoune Road, and the athletic field parking will be on your left after crossing Russell Road.
This is a collection of almost five miles of trails and bike paths centered on Stony Brook, Greenway Meadows, and the J. Seward Johnson, Sr. Preserve.
The Stony Brook Trail currently runs from Route 206 in the southwest corner of Princeton Township to the pedestrian bridge across Stony Brook (1/2 mile), then along the east side of the brook to Rosedale Road (3/4 mile), continuing along the brook to the old trolley embankment (1/4 mile); then along the embankment to connect with the paved bike path to Elm Road in Princeton (1/2 mile). A spur runs from the bridge to the Hun School lower parking lot (0.3 mile). Note: this trail may be flooded occasionally after very heavy rains.
Greenway Meadows has almost 2 miles of paved and grassy trails in mostly open terrain, with lovely views from the eastern end, and connecting with the Stony Brook Trail at the western end.
Across Rosedale Road from the Johnson Education Center, the J. Seward Johnson, Sr. Woodlands Preserve provides another route connecting the Stony Brook Trail and the Trolley Line path and the Elm Road bike path.
There are woods and nature trails in this area connecting neighborhoods and preserved land. Greenway Meadows has meadow areas with grasses planted to encourage and protect birds. There are many, beautiful, mature trees in the park, including Copper Beech, Maple, Oak, Plane, and some newly planted American chestnut on the slope of the hill at Greenway Meadows.
There are gardens and native wildflowers in the gardens between Greenway Meadows and the Johnson Education Center that encourage exploration and relaxation.
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Planning for the crossing of Stony Brook began in 1995, as part of a study by the Friends of Princeton Open Space (FOPOS) on how to create a loop trail around Princeton. The Township owned a strip of land along the east bank of the river from Rosedale Rd. to approximately the location of the new bridge, but no farther. A strip along the west bank from Route 206 to a point somewhat upstream of the bridge was acquired during negotiations for the approval of the Jasna Polana golf club, and a bridge was the missing link.
After years of advocating by FOPOS, the Township received a major grant from the US Department of Transportation to build the bridge, and several other large grants from state and federal agencies to build adjoining pathways. Since the approach from Route 206 involved a high, steep bank, and the grants required accessibility for wheel chairs and bicycles, it was necessary to acquire a piece of land along the bank that would allow for switchbacks and a maximum 8% grade.
D&R Greenway negotiated the acquisition of this property, with financial assistance from FOPOS. Hun School agreed to permit transit through its facilities for wheeled vehicles, thereby providing a through connection from Route 206 to the Edgerstoune area, Greenway Meadows and beyond. A hiking trail was constructed by FOPOS along the east bank of Stony Brook, providing a route for hikers. The entire complex, which was dedicated in October, 2010, becomes an important link in the planned loop.
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