Hopewell Township

Nayfield Preserve
Hopewell Township, NJ 08525

Overview of Selected Trail

This is a very pleasant walk through many different habitats including mature oak-hickory forest, red maple forest, a wet meadow, remnants of a red cedar woods, and a pine plantation. The area may be swampy or muddy in the spring. A portion of the trail runs along a tributary of Stony Brook.

This trail is maintained by Friends of Hopewell Valley Open Space.

Trail Map
Full Desc
Flora & Fauna
  • Nayfield Preserve
  • Distance:

    1.5 miles


    One hour of walking


    White diamonds painted on the trees

    Trail Usage:

    Walking/Hiking, Dogs permitted on leash




    Easy walking throughout although the trail can be very muddy, especially in periods of wet weather, so boots are highly recommended.


    There is a parking area on County Route 518 (Lambertville Hopewell Turnpike) that will hold 2-3 cars. Access is right next to the mailbox for #323 County Route 518. When traveling west on County Route 518 from Hopewell to Lambertville, it is on the right about 1.2 miles west of State Route 31.


    Restrictions: The Preserve will be closed on 45 selected days to implement a deer management program. Hunting dates may occur from September through February and exact dates are posted at the Preserve and at Friends of Hopewell Valley Open Space . Deer hunting is by permit only and no hunting occurs on Sundays.


    Look for signs posted at trailhead to find out if deer hunting is in progress. Hunting is prohibited on Sundays.


    From Trenton:

    Take Route 31 North: Turn left onto County Route 518 towards Lambertville. In 1.2 miles turn right into the parking area just after the mailbox for 323 CR 518.

    From Flemington:

    Take Route 202/31 South: Continue on Route 31 South when the roads split. Follow Route 31 South to County Route 518. Take Route 518 West towards Lambertville for 1.2 miles. The parking area is on the right just after the mailbox for 323 CR 518.

  • This walk along the Nayfield Preserve trail is nice all year round. In the spring, the trails may be muddy, but there are several vistas overlooking Stony Brook which has a bed consisting of large flat rocks. Water flow is high in the spring and you can watch the water cascading over the rocks at several vistas. Spring woodland wildflowers include: jack-in-the pulpit, may apple, dogwood and large areas of trout lily. In the summer months the forest canopy closes with leaves and wildflowers in the meadow mature. Fall months have a multitude of colors from wildflowers as well as the maples, ashes, oaks and other hardwood trees. In winter the meadow provides a valuable source of food for migratory birds and the snow is a stark contrast with the trees and grape vines.

  • The area has passed from a field to a cedar woods to a red maple woods and is starting to indicate the next stage of succession with the growth of beech, oak and ash trees. Much of the forested area has relatively good under-story vegetation including blackhaw, spicebush and arrowwood. There is also a considerable amount of invasive species such as multiflora rose, Japanese barberry and autumn olive. These invasive species are an indication of over- browsing of native species by an overpopulation of deer. This over-browsing is detrimental to other animals by reducing the amount of native food plants, shelter and nesting areas. There are also large oak, ash and hickory trees that follow the water courses and old fence rows.

    Bird species include: Chickadee, Tufted Titmouse, Dark-eyed Junco, Mourning Dove, Carolina Wren, House Wren, American Goldfinch, Eastern Bluebird, American Robin, Hermit Thrush, Wood Thrush, White-breasted Nuthatch, Red-breasted Nuthatch, Blue Jay, Gray Catbird, Northern Cardinal, Eastern Phoebe, Eastern Wood-pewee, Brown Creeper, Rose-breasted Grosbeak, Eastern Towhee, Scarlet Tanager, White-throated Sparrow, House Finch, Brown-headed Cowbird, Common Yellowthroat, Ovenbird, Black-and-white Warbler, Yellow Warbler and other warblers, Red-bellied Woodpecker, Northern Flicker, Downy Woodpecker, Hairy Woodpecker, Black-billed Cuckoo, American Crow, Wild Turkey, Red-tailed Hawk, Red-shouldered Hawk, Cooper’s Hawk Sharp-shinned Hawk and Great Horned Owl.

    Other animals include: Wood Frog, Red Backed Salamander, Box Turtle, Northern Two Lined Salamander, Black Swallowtail, Tiger Swallowtail, and Cabbage White butterflies.

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  • The land where Nayfield Preserve stands today was farmed and used as a dairy farm until the early 1960s. Thickets and trees started growing in various fields after farming activities were largely abandoned with the exception of a hay field. Over the last 40 years, the hay field has reverted into a wet meadow and the forest has continued to grow and mature.

    This trail is maintained by Friends of Hopewell Valley Open Space.

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  • Photos


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