hiking, biking, kayaking
Some of the best hiking, biking & kayaking, within an hour of the city!
D&R Canal Tow Path
The D&R Canal Tow Path is a flat, nearly uninterrupted 70-mile walking and biking pathway that practically defines Central New Jersey. Part of a historic canal system that dates to the 1830s and is now a State Park, the tow path begins along the “Feeder” canal above Frenchtown, running parallel to the Delaware River. At Trenton, the “Main” canal turns sharply northeastward toward the Raritan River, passing by Princeton and many other historic villages before ending at New Brunswick. Access points are too numerous to list.
D&R Greenway Land Trust
D&R Greenway Land Trust’s headquarters are set in a converted barn amid beautiful preserved parklands known as Greenway Meadows, featuring a Labyrinth, a Poetry Trail, and the Iron Mike Hiking Trail. Download the TravelStorys app to enjoy the Healing Trails audio tour. The non-profit land trust has preserved 21,000 acres in Central Jersey, including many more trails and preserves worth a visit. On weekdays, check out the art galleries in the Johnson Education Center.
Duke Farms in Hillsborough was once the grand estate of the heiress Doris Duke, now with the nickname “New Jersey’s Central Park.” Over 1,000 acres of land is devoted to an ongoing exploration—of native species, preservation and sustainability efforts, and of the area’s natural beauty. A grand stone barn is the visitor center. Statuary, stone bridges, and look-outs will dazzle you. Walk or bike ride through the stunning landscape, attend a workshop, event or festival. Eat at Duke Farm’s award-winning café or support local farmers at our seasonal market.
Fairview Farm/Raritan Headwaters
Fairview Farm Wildlife Preserve is home to Raritan Headwaters Association. A former dairy farm, the 170-acre property serves as a living classroom. Visitors will find five miles of hiking trails through fields and woods, a scenic pond, a colorful bird and butterfly garden, two rain gardens and a restored 1800s barn complex. Hikers, birders, artists, dog walkers, photographers, catch-and-release fisherman, and other visitors experience nature’s beauty at Fairview Farm, open to the public every day from dawn to dusk. The preserve hosts an Old-Fashioned Country Fair each October.
Leonard J. Buck Gardens
Leonard J. Buck Gardens is a 33-acre public botanical garden operated by Somerset County in Far Hills. The garden began in the 1930s by geologist Leonard J. Buck, a trustee of the NY Botanical Garden. The garden is sculpted from a glacial stream valley where waterfalls once cascaded, leaving behind rock faces, outcroppings, ponds and a stream. The garden is one of the nation’s premier rock gardens, featuring native and exotic plants displayed in a naturalistic setting of woodland, streams, and rock outcroppings.
Mercer Meadows is over 1600 acres of gorgeous wildflower meadows, historic vistas, and parklands encompassing Mercer County properties known as Curlis Lake Woods, the County Equestrian Center, Rosedale Park, and the “Pole Farm”. Broad, level pathways make the Meadows a comfortable place for long walks. Fishing at four water bodies. Dogs are welcomed, off-leash in some areas. The Meadows connect to the Lawrenceville-Hopewell Trail that connects two historic villages.
Natirar Park is the jewel of the Somerset County Parks system, set on over 400 acres in the scenic hills of Peapack/Gladstone, Far Hills and Bedminster. Formerly the estate of Kate Macy Ladd and Walter Graeme Ladd, the property features extensive areas of lawn and woodland, river access and scenic views and contains historic farm buildings and residential structures dating from the mid-18th century. The North Branch of the Raritan River and the Peapack Brook traverse the property.
Princeton Canoe & Kayak Rentals
Princeton Canoe and Kayak Rentals provides visitors to the D&R Canal State Park with an affordable and convenient way to see the canal from the water. Whether you paddle for an hour or all day, they have canoes and a variety of kayaks to fit everyone Learn more.
Six-Mile Run Mountain Biking Trails
These trails crisscross more than 3,000 acres of parkland adjacent to the D&R Canal. Numerous trails traverse streams and fields in an area once designated for a reservoir. New Jersey acquired the lands but ultimately declined to build the reservoir.
Sourland Mountain Preserve Hiking Trails
Located in the largest forested area in Central New Jersey. The 4,000-acre preserved area provides passive recreational opportunities in an undisturbed natural setting, including hiking, mountain biking, bird watching, bouldering, and horseback riding. It is extremely rich in natural resources, and an area that boasts a variety of stream corridors, and geologic outcrops. The main access point is a parking area on the east side, near the Hillsborough and Montgomery border.
The Watershed Institute
Keeping water clean, safe and healthy is the heart of the Watershed Institute’s mission. Visitors can enjoy exhibits and live animal displays, including a butterfly house, and hundreds of educational programs and events every year. Bring your hiking shoes to enjoy more than 10 miles of trails winding through 400 acres of forest, wetlands, meadows, and farmlands, including two historic farmsteads that date back to the 18th and 19th centuries.
Sponsors and Places to Visit
Farms & Orchards
- Bobolink Dairy & Bakehouse (Milford)
- Cherry Grove Farm (Lawrenceville)
- Dogwood Farms (Liberty Corner)
- Gorgeous Goat Creamery (Stockton)
- Griggstown Farm market (Griggstown/Franklin)
- Halo Farm & Halo Pubs (Princeton/Hamilton)
- Hidden Spring Lavender Farm & Shoppe (Skillman)
- Hillsboro Farm Country Market (Hillsborough)
- Norz-Hill Farm (Hillsborough)
- Snyder Farm (Franklin)
- Suydam Farms (Franklin)
- Terhune Orchards (Lawrenceville)
- Von Thun’s Country Farm Market (South Brunswick)
- Abraham Staats House (South Bound Brook)
- East Jersey Old Towne Village (Piscataway)
- Griggstown Bridge Tender’s House (Princeton)
- Howell Living History Farm (Hopewell Township)
- Princeton Battlefield State Park (Princeton)
- Historical Society of Princeton (Princeton)
- Morven Museum & Garden (Princeton)
- Old Barracks Museum (Trenton)
- Prallsville Mills (Stockton)
- Rockingham Historic Site (Kingston)
- Red Mill Museum Village (Clinton)
- Wallace House & Old Dutch Parsonage (Somerville)
- Washington Crossing State Park (Titusville)
- William Trent House (Trenton)
Hiking, Biking, Kayaking
- The D&R Canal Tow Path
- D&R Greenway Land Trust (Princeton)
- Duke Farms (Hillsborough Township)
- Fairview Farm/Raritan Headwaters (Bedminster)
- Leonard J. Buck Gardens (Far Hills)
- Mercer Meadows (Lawrence Township)
- Natirar Park (Gladstone)
- Six-Mile Run Mountain Biking Trails (Somerset)
- Sourland Mountain Preserve (Hillsborough Township)
- The Watershed Institute (Pennington)
- Bellemara Distillery (Hillsborough)
- Cyclone Brewing (Somerset)
- Flounder Brewing (Somerset)
- Lone Eagle Brewing (Flemington)
- Harvest Moon Brewery (New Brunswick)
- Hopewell Valley Vineyards (Pennington)
- Old York Cellars (Ringoes)
- River Horse Brewing (Ewing)
- Sourland Spirits (Hopewell)
- Triumph Brewing Company (Princeton)
- Terhune Orchards & Winery (Lawrenceville)
- Unionville Winery (East Amwell)
- Working Dog Winery (Robbinsville)