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It’s hard to believe that a noisy locomotive once ran through here, given that stillness is a defining characteristic of the Middlesex Greenway. Even when people pour onto the trail from the adjacent neighborhoods, it remains a tranquil escape shielded from the everyday hum of the suburbs and the hubbub of the industries nearby.
The rail-trail sits on a corridor that once held trains moving anthracite coal from Pennsylvania to New Jersey. The Easton and Amboy Railroad was a subsidiary of the Lehigh Valley Railroad; it was active in some form or other from 1875 through 1991. When it ceased operations, some motivated citizens immediately recognized the potential of having a corridor that cut close to their neighborhoods. Twenty years of effort later, the rail-trail finally opened in 2012.
The Middlesex Greenway is a great trail for a leisurely stroll with a dog (leashed, of course), an evening jog, or a bike ride. Because of its location, it’s a natural draw for families, and you will see users of all ages enjoying a shady trip through history. Currently, the trail runs from Metuchen through Edison to Woodbridge.
A good place to begin your journey is the Metuchen trailhead on Middlesex Avenue, with parking and a trail kiosk. A gateway with the trail’s name signifies its start, and you will see this motif replicated at other trail entry points; seven of these entrances are wheelchair accessible. The path stretches out before you flat and wide, hemmed in by native plantings and giant trees. Mile-marker posts whiz by every 0.25 mile, along with a sign to let you know which of the three municipalities you are in at that time. Colorful and detailed interpretative signage can also be found strategically placed at access points, narrating the history of the railroad and the region.
In Edison, about 1 mile in, you may spot the logo of the East Coast Greenway; this portion of the trail is part of that developing effort to connect trails on a 3,000-mile route between Maine and Florida. Edison is also where you’ll find the lone pedestrian bridge on the trail; the rest of the crossings are either underneath vehicular traffic or at street level. (The Woodbridge Avenue crossing is the widest of the on-road crossings, so approach with caution.) The bridge arches over US 1 before depositing you safely on the other side of the highway.
In Woodbridge, more than 2.5 miles into your journey, you will see on your right side a redbrick wall with faded lettering looming above the bushes. A historical marker reveals this to be the old Fords Porcelain Works building, constructed in 1906. This factory produced bathroom fixtures, including sinks, bathtubs, and toilets, but shut down in the 1960s. Although the trail dead-ends unceremoniously shortly thereafter, you can always turn right back around and disappear into the shady coolness of the greenway.
To reach the western end of the trail in Metuchen from I-287 S, take Exit 3 for New Durham Road/County Road 501 toward New Durham/Metuchen. Turn left onto New Durham Road/CR 501, and stay on it 1.3 miles, then turn left onto Middlesex Ave. The Greenway Park parking lot will be on your right. From I-287 N, take Exit 2A, and merge onto NJ 27 N/Essex Ave. In 400 feet, turn left onto Bridge St. In 0.1 mile turn right onto Middlesex Ave., and go 0.4 mile to Greenway Park.
Although there is no trailhead for the eastern end of the trail in Woodbridge, you can park at Dudash Park in Edison. From I-287 S, take Exit 1B for US 1 S toward CR 531/Trenton. Merge onto Main St./CR 531, heading south, and stay on it 0.8 mile. Make a left onto Woodbridge Ave., and follow it 1.4 miles. Use the right lane to take the I-95/I-287/New Jersey Turnpike ramp. Keep right, and then turn right onto May St. Dudash Park will be on the left in 0.4 mile. Once you have parked, follow the park pathway to the Middlesex Greenway entrance. From I-95, take Exit 10 for NJ 440 E, and keep left at the fork, then right, following signs for I-287 N/CR 514 E. Turn right onto May St., and go 0.4 mile to Dudash Park.
i love walking here with my dogs. i see turtles, snakes, butterflies, hummingbirds, (lots of other birds) and countless native plants.
Took my 9 year old for his (and my) first ride on this path today. Easy and relaxing bike ride. Wasn't sure he would be into doing the whole 7 mile round trip on his first time out, but it turns out we were having so much fun we just kept on rolling! Excellent ride for beginners, and still fun for more experienced riders. I love that it is mostly all shaded too! We will definitely be back sometime soon!
I tried this trail for the first time the other day and was walking my dog when all of a sudden a professional cyclist (all dressed up for a race) went flying by, going at a n extremely high speed, almost hitting my dog and not an excuse me sorry nothing. Just kept charging forward. Someone needs to get security on these trails. Other than that a pleasant experience.
This multi-use Trail is a classic, paved greenway in a suburban Region that offers outdoor recreation and health-related benefits.
This is a nice short trail. It is perfectly flat, with the exception of a bridge over route 1. It's a nice kick of cardio following the straightaways. Great for a casual, short ride in the shade.
Lately it seems more and more people are disregarding posted rules. Almost got hit be cyclist going about 30 miles an hour. Getting more people not yielding to pedestrians and not staying to right. Hope they don't ruin my enjoyment of this wonderful trail.
Unlike the reviewer from July 2014- I found this rail trail is, indeed, a great place to ride. Hardly any pedestrians on it and the ones that were there - were courteous and stayed to the right. It is paved and upkept well. Signs and stairs leading from local streets make it easy access for people. Well done by Middlesex County. If only Essex County would follow its lead. It is only a 7 mile round trip but do it 3 times, like I did, and you'll get a scenic and pleasant 21 mile exercise.
I went on a Sunday morning and found very little traffic on the pathway. The pathway itself is very smooth and well maintained with lots of trees on either side. It's also very flat with the exception of the bridge over route 1.
Short and straight, but this is a very well marked and maintained pathway, as you can see from the pictures. There is a good sized parking lot at the north end of the trail --use 685 Middlesex Ave, Metuchen on your GPS. Only one hill (the overpass over Route 1).
Just did this today with my wife. 90% of it is tree covered, and aside from one walkway bridge over Rt 1 (I think) it is entirely flat.
7.5 Miles Roundtrip from Middlesex Ave trailhead. All flat with the exception of one bridge that goes over Route 1. A few street crossings, all well marked. Great for beginners and younger riders.
I work in the Perth Amboy/Woodbridge area and often head up north to a nice park in Bloomfield on my way home. With the GSP traffic like it is, I thought about doing my walk/run before heading home and thus avoiding the traffic AND getting in my work out. However after several efforts to find an access point near Crow's Mill Road, with zero luck, I ended up heading north anyway and got both traffic and a late workout.
Is there a secret way to enter the trail from this area? I would need a safe place to park and then enter the trail.
I found the trail by chance. What a wonderful surprise! It is an old rail line that has been up cycled! It is great for the citizens of the nearby towns for recreational use. Great for the walker/jogger/leisurely stroll/dog walker. NOT for the avid CYCLIST, marathon runner or roller bladder. Most of the traffic is walking. I would suppose that on the weekend there are a great deal of families with young children and such. The path is straight, paved and wide enough for two couple to pass by one another. I highly recommend for light/family use.
Perfect for those who live near Fords or Metuchen...
While the sign for detour is still up, the greenway is no longer blocked! I biked the full 3.5 miles on Sunday and again on Tuesday. You can follow the train tracks for another half mile (thru the woods) Whileyou will end up over the parkway.
We were all excited to find a trail next to our house in Edison. But the excitement soon turned into disappointment by seeing detour sign and ending up with nothing. They should at least have a sign showing the current status of the park and may be notify passer by about timeline on when it will be operational again.
This looked like it had the potential to be a great ride if I could only have gotten on it. I tried starting at the Route 27 end which had a nice, newly paved parking area. The only problem was the chain link fence blocking the path after about 100 feet. I tried following detour signs in my car but they disappeared after several turns, leaving me stranded. I then drove to the other end of the trail and parked at Dudash Park but there were no visible means of access to the trail other than to drag my bike through the woods. All in all a wasted hour. I ended up driving back to Union County and Nomehegan Park in Cranford. Why bother going through the trouble and expense of paving a trail and not make it readily accessible?
It is an almost great place to ride! Taking in to consideration that you are riding in Middlesex county which brings into view the fact that there are virtually NO decent places to ride, this has the potential to be a good place to ride. The people you meet on the trail are typical Middlesex County inhabitants who pretty much won't extend themselves to a quick cordial greeting or a short hello nor acknowledge you. This is not the case in many of the other locations that I have ridden where people are so much more warm,friendly or outgoing. These traits are pretty much non existent in Middlesex County! A good portion is nice and shady,virtually all flat except for the bridge going over RT 1(which may present a challenge to someone on a single speed) but well worth the effort to traverse. The trail is fairly convenient for accessibility. The old railroad is blacktop, in good shape and well maintained. No pot holes. The draw backs on the ride are the NUMEROUS STUPID INCONSIDERATE SELFISH people who use the Greenway. But then again it is MIddlesex County New Jersey! What we are talking about is the jerks that walk three abreast and and essentially block the bath without a care in the world. The worse are the big butt women walking with their young children in a double wide stroller talking on the cell phone and side by side with their girlfriends who also have a stroller. Practically no one will walk to the right nor will they yield or move a little. There may be a few seasoned savvy people down there but for the most part it is just GROSS STUPIDITY and SELFISHNESS on their part. To go around them means to go into a strip of ballast on the sides of the black top. Beyond the ballast is stagnant mucky swamp water with TONS of POISON IVY. It should be noted that I endeavored to ride the Greenway several times in the off hours on the weekdays during the hottest part of the day (91) with high humidity and a blazing sun. I would hate to venture a guess what this place would be like during times of high usage such as a beautiful day/holiday/weekend or at a different time of the day. Perhaps it wouldn't be so bad at 3AM,in a rainstorm or in the dead of winter at 3 below zero! I would like to see the Greenway extend through Edison towards South Plainfield. It would run behind St Joseph's High School and through Dismal Swamp. It would be a nice long straightaway with only one major road to cross. Perhaps running through Dismal Swamp with all the lions and tigers and mosquitoes would keep all those SELF INDULGED, SELFISH and INCONSIDERATE women at home.
I ran the trail from Metuchen trail head to about 3 mile mark and back.
Note that trail has small detour around 1/4 mile mark to avoid bridge reconstruction. The detour takes you up the stairs and for 1/2 mile in pretty neighborhood.(noted 6/6/2013)
Clean, no sign of any drainage problems. Asphalt with nice brick markers at crossings and at trail access points. Historic plackards at those points too. Mostly behind housing and commercial plots that formerly had rail freight service. Trail is fairly isolated form the surroundings, as it is greened up.
Weekday in June at around 6PM- lightly populated with strollers, bikers, joggers and dog walkers.
A few kids on skateboards. Not many people, no issues of traffic, passing, or the like.
Only part with any real incline is the bridge they built over SR-1. The rail used to go beneath 1, but they lowered the road and added this path overpass.
I checked out the west-bound side from the 0-mile. It looks like it was open, but the path looks like a dirk-bike trail with waist high grass, puddles and crushed stone. Dont go there, especially if alone. No one is there and could be dangerous.
I enjoy riding on this trail, it is kept up well in Edison and Woodbridge but needs work in Metuchen.
I pick it up at the foot bridge over RT.1 north which is a harder access since PSE&G put in their solar panels. It is a nice ride into Fords and the crossing @ Woddbridge Ave is easy with the traffic light there.
The trail is well marked with mile marker posts and enough street signs to get on and off.
My understanding was that it was suppose to be longer then it is.
Hopefully Metuchen will clean up their end and open it up past Main St.
I rode the length of this trail the other day and I must admit it's really not bad. It is now fully paved all the way from Middlesex Ave to Crows Mill Rd, although the trail is actually supposed to be a bit longer. Access points are numerous, and the garbage that other reviews mention seems to be long gone. There seems to be some issues with stagnant water accumulating along the sides of the trail, but since the paved surface is somewhat elevated, the only issue that this poses is in the form of annoying gnats, particularly abundant just east of US Route 1. Overall, I'd say this is a nice ride for an area that's otherwise bereft of bike-friendly locations.
"Just walked from Metuchen to Perth Amboy 01/06/07.
The trail in Metuchen is so wet as to be virtually impassable despite a very dry winter to date.
Aside from Garbage the trail was also adorned, in places, with rat traps and dead rodents.
Heavy construction at rte. 1 made it necessary to leave the trail altogether in order to continue the walk.
Additionally, I would advise anyone against walking over rte 9. That was scary and dangerous.
Having listed all the negatives let me now say that for hearty, adventurous adults ON FOOT this trail can be kind of fun. The view of the Raritan Bridges alone is worth the walk!!
We hiked the path straight down into Perth Amboy where we were forced to leave the tracks because the line is active and functioning at that point.
We walked down to the train station and had one of the best cheeseburgers in Jersey from the little brick kiosk on the corner there.
Maybe the county has a little fix up money? The trail
is a real asset but is in serious need of some TLC. "
" We walked from the little park in Metuchen right down into the town of Perth Amboy. A map I had of the Lehigh Valley Line incorrectly showed this line as inactive all the way through. The rails are still in place after Crows Mill Road and are well maintained and obviously in regular use within the town of Perth Amboy itself.
The trail is extemely wet in Metuchen, barely passable despite the fact that it's been a very dry winter.
We walked right down to the Perth Amboy train station and enjoyed a delicous cheeseburger from the little brick kiosk on the corner.
Very poor conditions, not suitable for anyone on bike or for small children on foot.
There is construction at rte 1 and we had to climb out of the trail-way and go around.
On the other hand, the view of the Raritan River Bridges is incomparable. "
"I've been running on this trail for 2 years now and absolutely nothing has been cleaned up. I've seen everything from bikes, TVs, mattresses, bags of garbage, shingles, windows, couches, piping, shopping carts, CARS!! and much much more. Who is maintaining this trail? Have local Dept. of Public Works or the local boy scout troops clean up at least some of the garbage. You could make some money on the garbage people throw away. A drainage system needs to be dug so people can enjoy walking the trail instead of swimming through parts of it. This trail could be such an asset to local communities, instead it is a disgrace to the environment. Mile markers, historical postings, and signs near local roads pointing out that the trail is even there are a few suggestions. I stumbled upon the trail by accident. The EPA would have a field day on this trail. The town's of South Plainfield, Edison, Metuchen, Fords, Woodbridge and Perth Amboy need to evaluate how they are helping community members become more physically active and show off their towns committment to the environment. I'm a phys. ed. teacher and a runner and believe this would be a great local place to get active, learn about the environment, and the local history. "
Short and to the point ... this trail still is not good ... keep away. Have a nice day!
"It's a great day outside and I live in Iselin so I decided I should check this trail out. I heard they made improvements. Well, as per the post before me, nothing has changed. There is still water with scum on top all along the trail. There is so much garbage behind some of those houses that it made me kinda mad. I guess they think cause their backyard is a trail or woods they can chuck garbage over it. I don't mean to rant :) but, Middlesex County green people say this trail is great and they're going to improve this and this, etc. Well, then bring it. I'll be happy to help. Also, I’m looking for local Edison and Woodbridge area trails for mountain bikes. You can contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org."
"I bicycled along the entire length of this former railroad right-of-way a few years ago. This following the removal of rails and ties, but prior to the property’s purchase by the County of Middlesex for use as a recreational trail. I revisited the location recently and I am sorry to report that absolutely nothing has changed since my original journey there. Obviously the County has made no improvements since acquiring the property.
Current trail surface conditions within the Borough of Metuchen present the most difficult hindrance to bicyclists and pedestrians. This because the right-of-way though that area was constructed in an earth cut well below the average surrounding terrain. Even on the driest of days there is always loads of standing water, and a significant amount of large ballast (used to provide a dry base for the former rail bed) remains in place in many spots. And, where there is standing water you will encounter biting insects.
As the trail approaches the Township of Edison, near Pierson Avenue and Lodi Street, conditions improve. The surface along this segment is generally bone dry, although narrow in growing season do to the adjacent foliage. Dry surface conditions prevail through Edison, but standing water becomes a problem again in the area of Crows Mill Road in Fords.
There are several street crossings along the trail’s route, and as of this writing, none are marked with any sort of advisory/warning signs. Trail users should use extreme caution when approaching the Edison Crossing industrial complex and/or the Courtyard by Marriott Hotel; motor vehicle traffic in that area moves at 55 miles per hour.
When in service, the railroad line through this area provided freight service to numerous commercial accounts. So, for the most part scenery along the route consists of former industrial buildings and expansive storage lots. There are no benches, accessible parklands, restrooms, pristine streams, or anything else typically pleasing to the eye.
My recommendation to anyone planning on visiting this trail is to wait until Middlesex County at least makes improvements related to the trail surface conditions and safety signage. Also, visit this trail during seasons when the foliage isn’t out in full force."
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