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The tree-lined 22.5-mile Henry Hudson Trail is the definition of scenic variety. Traversing both urban and natural environments, the route passes wetlands, streams, fields, and the Garden State Parkway. Though the parkway divides the trail into northern and southern sections, an on-road route connects the two. Along this relatively flat path, users can expect to pass a backdrop varying from lush grassy meadows to utility corridors and suburban communities.
Monmouth Heritage Trail: 5.9 miles
The southernmost section, referred to locally as the Monmouth Heritage Trail, runs from Freehold up to Big Brook Park in Marlboro. Starting on East Main Street in Freehold, this portion of trail is primarily residential, transitioning between forest and suburban backyards. Approaching the end of this segment, trail users emerge into the scenic hills and meadows of Big Brook Park. Formerly farmland, this area is now maintained as part of the Monmouth County Park System. To reach the next segment of trail, exit the north side of Big Brook Park and take a left onto Newman Springs Road. In 1.5 miles, take a right to travel north alongside NJ 79. In 0.9 mile, the trail picks up at NJ 79 and Wyncrest Road.
Morganville to Matawan: 4.8 miles
The middle section of the trail from Wyncrest Road in Morganville up to Clinton Street Park in Matawan is an ideal rail-trail. Surrounding forests shield riders from the sounds of nearby NJ 79, providing a serene trail experience. This portion of trail contains several low-stress street crossings separated by long stretches of forested rail-trail. It also includes a utility corridor.
Aberdeen Township to Atlantic Highlands: 9.7 miles
The northernmost section begins south of Raritan Bay and roughly parallels NJ 36 to the north. Plans are underway to develop an on-street bicycle route that would connect Popamora Point to the Highlands–Sea Bright Bridge at Sandy Hook.
Beginning inland at Oakshades Park at Gerard Avenue and Broadway, this section connects trail users to the nearby waterfront, providing uninterrupted views of Sandy Hook Bay, bridge crossings over numerous creeks, and a route to Atlantic Highlands. The eastern endpoint of this trail segment is Avenue D and NJ 36.
Bayshore Trail: 2.1 miles
After a gap of 0.7 mile, the next segment of trail begins at Bay Avenue, just south of Earle Pier. Considered part of the Henry Hudson Trail system, the Bayshore Trail continues east to Popamora Point. This section is paved for its first 0.6 mile; after that, as the trail traces the shoreline, the surface changes to gravel and sand. This area can also be subject to flooding, so check for trail conditions after heavy rains.
The trail is open sunrise–sunset. Dogs must be on a leash. There is one restroom in Atlantic Highlands at the Henry Hudson Trail Activity Center on NJ 36. Parking is also available at the activity center. No other restrooms or water fountains exist on the trail itself.
To reach the southernmost trailhead in Freehold from I-95, take Exit 8 for NJ 133/Hightstown toward Freehold. Continue onto NJ 133, using the middle lane to stay on NJ 133. In 0.2 mile take the exit toward Hightstown/Freehold. Keep right at the fork and merge onto NJ 33 E. Go 11.1 miles, and take the exit for County Road 537 in Freehold. Turn right onto W. Main St., and go 2 miles. The trailhead will be on your left next to a gas station.
To reach the trailhead with parking near Oakshades Park, take Garden State Pkwy. to Aberdeen Township. If heading southbound, take Exit 118 toward Aberdeen, turn left onto Lloyd Road, go 0.3 mile, and turn left onto Gerard Ave. In 0.2 mile, Oakshades Park will be on your right. If heading northbound, take Exit 117 to merge onto NJ 35 S toward Hazlet/-Aberdeen. In 0.2 mile take a sharp left onto NJ 35 N, and go 0.1 mile. Use the left lane to take the Pkwy./Clark St. exit, and go 0.3 mile. Turn right onto Clark St., and go 0.4 mile. The trailhead is next to the gas station on Broadway and Clark St. across from Oakshades Park.
To reach the Bayshore Trail eastern endpoint and parking lot at Popamora Point from Garden State Pkwy., take Exit 117 toward NJ 36. Follow signs to stay on NJ 36 E/S for 11.8 miles. Take a slight right onto Serpentine Dr., followed by an immediate right onto CR 8. In 0.1 mile, continue straight onto S. Linden Ave., and go 0.3 mile. Turn left onto Waterwitch Ave., and immediately turn left onto Shore Dr. in Highlands. Parking is available at Popamora Point at the end of Shore Dr. in 0.6 mile.
I did this trail a few days ago from Freehold to Highlands and back on my hybrid. I don't recommend a road bike b/c of the countless crossing streets along the way which would necessitate clipping in and out every other minute. The scenery is varied and nice. However the signage is not adequate so you MUST bring phone with maps app. If you're planning to do most or all of this trail, give yourself plenty of time and be patient. It took me almost 5 hours to go 57 miles. Don't plan on setting any Strava pacing records lol...
Recently rode this from Freehold to Highlands on my hybrid bike. I would not recommend a road bike because of the countless # of crossing streets which would require clipping in and out every other minute. Overall the scenery is nice. However the signage is poor in some parts where the trail is disconnected. You MUST bring a phone w/maps app in order to not get lost. Also if you plan on riding all or most of the trail give yourself lots of time. It took me nearly 5 hours to ride 57 miles so no Strava records lol
The trail is in a word... AWESOME!!! Beautifully traversing the shore line with multiple picturesque opportunities! A true Monmouth County jewel!!!
Rode Matawan the Highlands this past Saturday. The trail was very busy but everyone was very courteous and obeyed the rules of the trail. The paved trail is having tree root problems other than that it was a very good ride. I don’t recommend road bikes as there are a lot of street crossings on this end of the trail. The best part is between Atlantic Highlands and Highlands.
I rode the northern section of this trail on my gravel bike - from Matawan towards Atlantic Highlands - as the end piece of a 66 mile Monmouth County tour this past Saturday.
It was the worst part of the ride, by far and away, and I am including in that the section of NJ 34 I had to traverse.
There are 30, count 'em, 30 road crossings in 10 miles. Each of which requires a full stop, unclip, dismount. Parents with young children beware, the crossings are almost all at very busy roads requiring extreme caution as NJ drivers are loathe to stop for pedestrians.
There are approximately two "interesting" view moments, the rest is residential backyards and a lovely look at IFF's superfund site in Union Beach. The asphalt trail surface has been heaved by tree roots for more or less the entire length resulting in wonderful undercarriage smashing speed bumps.
Avoid this trail - at least the "northern" section - and look elsewhere. I can heartily recommend Sandy Hook and the Bayshore trails as wonderful alternatives in the same area.
Has anyone been out on the trail since the storm?
thinking of riding it tomorrow and wondering if any down trees blocking it
We rode this trail a couple days ago on road bikes, starting in Highlands. Beautiful views along the path and a variety of scenery. We went on a hot sunny day and were happy about how balanced the trail was in terms of sun exposure and shade. You can park your car at the start of the trail at Henry Hudson Trail Activity Center (on google maps search for “Bayshore Family Success Center”, it’s the same building/parking lot). The first couple of miles or so are bumpy due to the tree roots raising asphalt along the route. The ref of the ride was smooth but we rode only as far as Keyport. so are
Been on this trail many times! Will return!
Some sections are worse than others with tree roots under the pavement, signs are not located thru Matawan, (train station, etc.) need clean bathrooms along the route.
Beautiful scenery. (some points you can see NY!)
We did the upper trail - from its start across from Oakshades Park (has about 30 parking spaces) in Aberdeen through to its end in Atlantic Highlands. We then continued through Atlantic Highlands a few miles over the bridge and onto Sandy Hook bike trail, which was also fantastic. The Henry Hudson Trail is very nicely paved and has bridges over some areas that a few years ago were flooded out. It goes through towns/backyards, marshes, sea grass (saw an egret!) and along the water below beautiful homes. Highly recommend this trail!
I rode the northern section of the trail last week. I started at the Oakshades Park trail head, rode to the end at Popamora Point park, and then continued on a (mostly) marked on-street bike path to the Highlands Sea-Bright Bridge over to Sandy Hook. The trail was in very good shape with a few sections of root bumps. Fine for a road bike.
Once over the bridge I easily accessed the Gateway National Recreation Area multi-use path which allowed for fine cycling throughout the peninsula.
On the way back I took a detour to the Mt. Mitchill Scenic Overlook which, according to the signage, is the highest point on the eastern seaboard south of Maine.
Including some exploring of the historic sites included in the Recreation Area and the detour, about a 45 mile out and back.
Not asphalt paved but in excellent condition. Enjoy.
Newly paved and open the whole length.
Most of this trail from Aberdeen to Atlantic Highlands has been repaved. No more tree roots protruding on the path. Well kept!
Rode today (9/5/17) from Stillwell St in Matawan to Freehold- and back. 26 miles. The trail is paved with several root bumps (not marked by yellow spray paint like a lot of NYS trails) so be prepared for a jolt if you're looking at the scenery and not at the trail. Scenery too great at start. Electrical towers parallel the trail for awhile its gets much nicer in Morganville in Marlboro. After 5 miles the trail ends. Took rt 79 left onto Newman Springs Rd. That's about 1.5 or 1.75 miles until I picked up trail in Big Brook Park. No trail markers that I saw at Kozloski rd to pick up trail but you can- just follow paved path. Trail ends after another 5.5 miles or so (from Big Brook Park) at East Main in Freehold. A quarter mile or so down East Main I had a slice of pizza at Stefano's. Rode another half mile to 68 South St (where Springsteen lived) and rode back. Faster on return trip. Several grade crossing and some on really busy streets. All in all, very nice. Not as good as several trails in Westchester and Rockland NY. Or Sandy Hook. Less root bumps than Northern section of the HH trail.
Yesterday, August 16 we decided to walk this trail. We found the trail completely closed for construction. The Popamora end by a sign only and the marina end by a full chain link fence gate. Needless to say, we were very disappointed. As an alternate, we drove the short distance to the HHT Activity Center to walk the northern end of the Henry Hudson Trail. We went as far as the bridge over Rt. 36 that leads to the Earle Pier. When we reached this point, my wife said I have had enough. Enough traffic noise from Rt. 36, enough bicyclists without the courtesy to announce their passing - "on your left", a few simple words to avoid injury for all, enough hard paved surface. We turned back and went to the marina to sit quietly by the water. My sincere hope is the area under construction is only being repaired and not paved over as is this section of the HHT. If it is paved, we will go back to the woods to find more natural trails for hiking.
This trail is currently under construction and is very rough in certain spots as they work to repair damage from a storm. The trail does offer great views as it winds along the bay coastline.
Easy smooth roads, beautiful areas.
We rode this trail on New Year's Eve day. The trail was devoid of snow or ice. The only portion with a few icy patches was the Bayshore Trail.
We parked at the Atlantic Highlands Activity Center. We rode to the Bayshore Trail first. There is a short section that has to be ridden on the street and is marked by signs.
The Bayshore Trail was definitely the nicest. It goes behind the marina and along the coastline. The temporary wooden bridges, built after the storm, are sturdy and easy to ride over when dry.
We then rode back to the Henry Hudson Trail. This part of the trail follows the road and goes through different neighborhoods.
There's a break in the trail once you reach Aberdeen. It's a short ride to where the trail picks up after going through downtown Matawan. There are no markings on the road for this section so map it before you go. If you need a snack while riding through downtown, try Papa Ganache, a vegan bakery with a lot of gluten-free options too.
After this break, the trail goes through some marshlands and passed a mausoleum. The end of this section happens after a small hill and is marked. We didn't have time to ride the last section.
The trail is overall very flat and has a lot of road crossings. There a some nice photos ops along the coast and in the marshlands.
My wife and I took our 9yo daughter biking on this trail. Overall, the Henry Hudson Trail offers a decent pathway for a long ride as it is paved. However, it could use a little work in some areas as some sections are very bumpy with roots of trees pushing up through the asphalt. The major setback with this trail is that it cuts through city roads/streets, so one has to constantly stop and watch for traffic before crossing. Unfortunately, traffic can be heavy at some intersections and even though the trail has signs warning drivers to stop and give priority to pedestrians or bikers - respect/courtesy from drivers rarely happens. If you have a young child riding along with you, theese intersections can be nerve-wracking...this is particularly true if you begin your ride in Keyport, NJ.
I rode from Ponnemara Point in Highlands to the Aberdeen Town Limit sign. I loved the scenery through Highlands/ Atlantic Highlands; however, after paralleling Rt 36, it got boring pretty quickly. It's been a long time since I've wanted a ride to end and I looked forward to getting back to where I parked.
Before you go, watch the Jersey Bayshore Country video on YouTube(I think that's what it's called--about 28 minutes long. There are a couple of places where the trail isn't clearly marked, and it helps to know where to go.
The trail is relatively well-maintained. They were working on it while I was riding. If you're going to bring children, I would recommend that they be very aware of their surroundings and can follow traffic signals. There are some hair-raising crosses in jug handles, and if you're minding children, this could be a bit stressful.
I would also recommend a hybrid or trail/mountain bike. The trail in the Highlands/ Atlantic Highlands area is not paved.
Overall, a good ride. I rode in mid-September before the leaves changed, so maybe October will make a difference as far as the scenery is concerned.
I have been riding the entire trail for years. There are 4 sections of the trail. The first starts in freehold near east main st. And ends at big brook park. From there it's a 2 mile ride down 79 to station rd. Station rd to Matawan train station is only @5 miles. From there you can ride through Matawan to Clark st in keyport where the Henry Hudson picks up. It will go from Clark st. To ave D in the highlands. From there. You can pick up the bayshore trait to sandy hook loop. If you can navigate the short road links between the trails. It's @ 45-50 miles end to end. L From there it goes to
I ran on the trail from Matawan to Marlboro and did not see mileage markers in this section either. As with prior post mileage markers would be helpful.
Trail is fine, but mileage markers would be helpful. I mostly use the Freehold - Marlboro portion, from route 537 to the park in Marlboro. I think I see a 1 and 2 mile marker on the pavement going from Marlboro to Freehold but that is it.
Trail has recovered from hurricane Sandy. Add on a loop through Sandy Hook makes this one of the best in New Jersey. Many dinning options along the way, specially in the Highlands area.
Good pathway for a long ride, but could use a little work in some areas. I rode the Keyport-Sandyhook leg of the pathway and found the Keyport section going into Keansburg very bumpy with roots pushing up through the asphalt. Once past Keansburg, the path smoothed out considerably and the rest of my ride was very enjoyable. Towards the end by Sandhook, the path went from asphalt to smooth dirt for a short distance, but nothing my road bike couldn't handle.
I use this trail for riding my bike a few days a week. There are some bumpy spots but some areas have been fixed in the past.
It's a nice long trail that is quite pretty-be careful at the road crossings though as not every driver is looking for bikes.
My husband and I also parked in the Gerard Avenue lot in Matawan and headed east. Parking was plentiful and there was a port-a-potty (in pretty bad shape) in the lot as well.
We walked across the street and put on our rollerblades at the entrance of the Trail. (Carried, shoes, snacks, and water in a backpack)
The trail was beautiful but a bit rough for rollerblading. My husband is expert level and I am beginner - intermediate on a good day. There are patches of the path that are lifted by tree roots - being that this is October and leaves are falling...Some were near impossible to see. This should be ok on a bike but also being mindful of where you are going.
There are many roads to cross and riding over the planks of the bridges can be a rough but we both made it through unscathed.
We ended up going a but south of Keansburg to the ocean to the boardwalk: http://goo.gl/maps/JnHrl It's an elevated area that has the most fantastic views of the ocean, NY, and Sandy Hook. We ended up walking down to the beach and having a picnic on the sand while the sailboats passed in front of the entire NY skyline. AMAZING!!!
We road north and actually rollerbladed through the near empty Keansburg Amusement Park. Going back was quick although we did see some sketchy teenagers that made some comments to us.
Overall - Very nice path and highly recommended!
I have the good fortune of living adjacent to one of the southern section's trailheads, so I get to use the HHT every day. The southern section is peaceful and shaded, passing through open fields and woods and across brooks and streams. Deer and rabbits are a common sight, as well as many different birds. This section also passes by several McMansions which always leaves me a tad depressed after experiencing all of the nature. The road crossings are relatively quiet, with the busiest one, Kozlowski Road, having a traffic light and clearly marked pedestration crossing. The trail ends somewhat abruptly on Route 537 in Freehold. It's nice to imagine someday being able to continue on. Big Brook Park is on the other end in Marlboro, which can add anywhere from 1-4 miles to your ride depending which routes you take. It's also paved and full of wildlife, perfectly preserved. I wish I could thank whoever made sure it stayed a park. It could easily have been just another treeless, sterilized McMansion development.
The middle section, from Wyncrest Road in Marlboro to Matawan, is another great section though some of the crossings in Matawan can be a bit a dicey if you don't come to a full stop and really look both ways before crossing. Getting there from the Southern section isn't for the faint of heart either: it's a mile ride along a narrow-ish shoulder on Route 79. I've always felt safe doing it, but I tend to go early in the morning or late in the afternoon when it isn't peak travel time. Another tip for the middle section: you'll finish on a residential dead-end street in Matawan called Stillwell that seems relatively quiet. Having done this section a dozen or so times without incident, I once decided to explore a little and see where I was and how I might navigate to the northern section from this block. It was a Saturday afternoon in the summer. I went about 3 blocks before things got a little too scary for me. Delapidated homes, bars on the windows, a gentleman passed out face-down on a porch, a raucous street basketball game with 15 or so giant teenagers, slowly cruising cars with tinted windows blasting rap music. As I turned around to head back, an adorable 7 or 8 year old riding on a scooter with his pal intentionally blocked the crosswalk, then advised me to "watch where the f*** you're going". Sage advice, young sir. I was promptly on my way.
The Northern section: an awesome adventure. Very bumpy from tree roots, with a ton of street crossings, but worth it. You'll check out residential neighborhoods you wouldn't be able to from a car, pass over marshes and wetlands, catch gorgeous views of NYC and the Verazzano Bridge, and go through several little downtowns. Riding through the streets of Leonardo at the end is also nice. As a bonus: it passes right past the video store and deli from Kevin Smith's "Clerks".
Two thumb's way up on the Henry Hudson Trail. Park Rangers I've spoken to on the trail say plans are in the words to connect the Southern Section with the Middle Section through the now-gone psychiatric hospital...in the words of the illustrious Bart Scott, "can't wait!"
The trail still shows the after affects of hurricane sandy. It is open and do-able. It was muddy with many small streams crossing the trail. The bridges have been replaced but, it needs more aggregate for a better ride. We were on mountain bikes so, we didn't mind. Not a trail for a road bike. The views of sandy hook bay are impressive. We packed in a couple sandwiches and some coffee for a picnic. There is a bench in the middle of the trail with an incredible view of the bay. There are also picnic tables at the beach by the sandy hook marina. The trail is only a couple miles long but, the views make it well worth it. We combined the bayshore trail with the Henry Hudson trail and started in Aberdeen. Next time we will combine it with the Sandy Hook bike path. I would give the trail 2 stars because, needs a more work. I gave it 2 extra for the view.
We started in Aberdeen and went to the end of the Bayshore trail. 28 mile round, we did a little site seeing. The Northern HHT is a little over 10 miles one way. After a couple side streets, that are well marked, you can continue your ride on the bayshore trail. Next time we will continue our ride to the end of sandy hook but that will add another 20 miles or so. The HHT is in great condition. Other than occasional small bumps from tree roots it is like riding on a city street. It was pretty hot this day but, nice and cool on the trail because, of the continuous tree cover. We did it on a Sunday. Not very busy and everyone says hi and is pleasant. We will definitely do this trail many more times.
I have been riding my bike as well as running either from Atlantic Highlands to the Highlands or from Atlantic Highlands to Keyport for the past five years. The section to the Highlands was my favorite with the bay on one side and the cliffs on the other. That section from what I've heard will be opened by next year. You can also ride all the way to Rt. 33 in Freehold. Great trail with that section totally paved.
So far I have been on 2 of the 4 sections. I have completed Matawan to Manalapan and Matawan to Atlantic Highlands. Both are nice rides. The section from Atlantic Highlands toward Sandy Hook is not open (found this out as I was about to ride the trail for the first time).
I haven't been to the Manalapan to Freehold section yet.
I traveled the trail from Freehold up to Marlboro and the ride was very enjoyable even with the 90 degree heat. Most of this trail is under the trees. I saw 2 deer walking on the trail today,something i have never seen on this trail. They didn't even seem bothered by me riding by.The northern part of the trail can lead into a park,which now is blacked topped. Will add about 1 mile to your trip. Round trip was 11.8 miles. Nice ride for s short trip.Highly recommended for beginners.
I had the good fortune of being near the Henry Hudson Trail during a two-day stop on a concert tour. The first day was a bike ride from Keyport to Leonardo. I had a nice stop in Keansburg. The trail crosses many small streets that lead to either a quaint neighborhood or a small downtown. The crossings force you to stop to check for traffic, but I didn't mind. It gave me a chance to look around and notice my surroundings. The trail crosses over several small creeks and runs through neighborhoods and fields alike. There are several spots which offer a glimpse of the Sandy Hook bay.
The second day took me all the way to Atlantic Highlands. I had a hot dog or two and the little wagon near the marina. The section beyond the marina was closed due to landslides, but there is a lovely view of Manhattan from the harbor.
The trail surface was good in spots, bumpy in others. The asphalt has been pushed up by tree roots in certain sections. I would recommend lowering tire pressure by 5-10lbs.
I absolutely loved this trail. It shows an important and often overlooked rural and small town side of New Jersey.
The Henry Hudson Trail (HHT) has been a favorite of mine for almost 2 decades.
The original 10 miles, from Aberdeen/Keyport to Atlantic Highlands is still enjoyable and now extends (on crushed gravel) along the bay from Atlantic Highlands Marina to Highlands! This extension gets you very close to the Highlands bridge to Sandy Hook, where the National Parks offers 5.5 miles of beachside paved trail! And admission to Sandy Hook on bicycle is always FREE!
The southern part of the HHT is really 2 sections in my opinion: (1) The middle section, from Matawan to Marlboro, which is nice but not the part I ride too often. (2) The southern section from the relatively-new Big Brook Park trailhead in Marlboro to Rt. 537 in Freehold. This southern section is my favorite part of the whole HHT network. If you've never ridden the HHT's southern extension to Freehold, go directly to the Big Brook Park trailhead and enjoy the 5.5 mile ride (one-way) to Freehold!
Wear waterproof shoes or boots. Be prepared for some mud and rough riding. Perfect for mountain bikes.
It's a shame that a large segment of this trail has been closed off. For what it's worth, it was a pleasant ride when I was there last summer. Hopefully everything gets restored soon.
This was one great trail before Sandy. Dose anybody know if ether Monmouth County or the State of NJ are making any head way with rebuilding this trail. It was a very nice link between the Henry Hudson trail and the Sandy Hook path way. With out this link there is a very tough climb that is not at all family friendly.
This was one great trail before Sandy. Dose anybody know if ether Monmouth County or the State of NJ are making any head way with rebuilding this trail. It was a very nice link between the Henry Hudson trail and the Sandy Hook path way. With out this link there is a very tough climb that is not at all family friendly.
One of the longest paved trails in NJ. As stated by others multible road crossings and some rough pathes. Multiple side trips possible along with many food options along the way. A 2.5 mile part washed out during hurricane Sandy is now being fought in court by a few (rich) land owners. Current status of repairs can be found on county web site http://www.monmouthcountyparks.com/page.aspx?Id=2525 Overall: worth a ride.
Rode the northern and middle portions today. I'll agree with others about tree roots but I figure that's part of a rail-trail and trees that offer shade. I also would like to see on-road signage. The final part of the trail is gone, thanks to Hurricane Sandy, and a security guard at the marina said the rebuilding is tied up in litigation.
My riding is also about the food, so a few shout-outs: Good coffee at the shop about a mile from the marina (and ferry to/from Manhattan), I believe at Hosford/Thompson. Slices at the $1 pizza place in Keansburg (Big Mike's) are crispier and better than the $1 slices in NYC. And Dixie Lee bakery (a block from the 7/11 on the trail on Main St.) in Keansburg satisfied the sweet tooth.
We moved from Canarsie, Brooklyn NY about 4 years ago and found out that, by moving to North Middletown NJ, we're only 5 blocks from the entrance to the Henry Hudson Bike Trail. I enjoyed the trail so much with my wife and 11 year old daughter, which spans from Highlands to Freehold, NJ (with some long street breaks between the Northern and Southern extensions), that I created a public map of the whole trail on Google last year. But Google now has the trail built into their Maps directions, which is really great! Unfortunately, Bayshore Trail was one of the most beautiful parts of the trail since it ran along side the Sandy Hook Bay - but it was wiped out during Sandy. We tried to go that direction several months after the storm but a gate closes off the trail at the Atlantic Highlands Marina so we had to turn back. I'm just glad we had the opportunity to experience it... and it motivated us to actually complete the Southern Extension, from Marlboro and Aberdeen to Freehold, which is also a wonderful ride. The full HH bike trail has some hills and bumpy trail areas to contend with, due to tree roots pushing the paved asphalt up. In our area, the Parks Dept. repaved a portion of the trail a few weeks ago and it feels terrific! I'll keep checking back on the Monmouth County Parks website to see if there are any updates to the Bayshore Trail to be repaired, hopefully for next summer.
This was the first time on the HHT. I wwent for a ride with my son and it was a great ride. We took our time and thouroughly enjoyed the ride. It was a little bumby as the other reviews said but you are going to get bumbs wherever you ride so it's just par for the course. We didn't make it all the way to the end but it was a great start. Bring water and snacks. There are places to stop for lunch along the way.
Just like most of the other reviews say, the northern section is fairly bumpy thanks to encroaching tree roots.
The views are nice on both sections and overall the trail was nice but my main issue was with the signage on the two sections that go on local roads. The problems is that the signage is basically nonexistent.
If you want to ride the entire length of the trail I highly recommend printing out google maps with directions through the two on-road sections. Otherwise you will get lost.
Hurricane sandy has destroyed the boardwalk completely and the trail is virtually impassible. It will take time before this trail is fixed-up
Check the link below before you visit to get the latest update on the trails condition
The Henry Hudson Trail, from Freehold to Atlantic Highlands was memorable and breathtaking trip through the neighborhoods and nearby coastlines of NJ. This trail is a great way to experience Hurricane Sandy's devastation. Unfortunately, months after the storm, there's still recovery that's still in progress. There is one bridge around Seaview Ave that's completely impassable and blocked off because of the storm. The trail is relatively smooth, although some area's are slightly bumpy for a bicycle. There are trees planted along significant sections of the trail, but it's not 100% shaded. If you plan to bike during the summer months, bring water because long distance requires hydration
I started my ride by parking at Sandy Hook and took the bridge over to Atlantic Highlands. Took the trail from there all the way down to Freehold and back - added some off-trail riding to stretch the entire route to 60 mi. Beautiful scenery - the trail runs through a bunch of nice small towns like Aberdeen and (obviously) Freehold, which make for nice rest areas. My only complaint (and others have commented on this before) is that the trail does have a lot of rough patches where roots have created some serious bumps. That, combined with sudden lips on many of the foot bridges, combine for a possibly dangerous ride. If you're not paying attention, you may end up popping a tire if you're on a road bike. Despite that, I would still highly recommend this trail for anyone looking for a day trip.
I started on the northern end of this trail, because it doesn't seem to connect properly to the southern portion (it was 13 miles straight through). If you type "20 Gerard Ave. Matawan, NJ 07747", you will be brought to a parking lot across from a gas station. Right next to the gas station is where the trail begins. The end of my journey was when I came upon a beach, where I sat for about ten minutes listening to music. It was really beautiful... I suggest bringing a small compact camera (or cell) so that you can gloat to your friends. You do have to bike through a town to reconnect to the trail, but there are enough signs up to point you in the right direction. I really enjoyed the bridges and the wetlands as well, and many people stopped to just sit and enjoy the scenery there. Optionally, you might be able to go all the way to Sandy Hook if you're feeling daring, and it should be noted that they have improved their bike paths there substantially over the past decade. HHT was paved, but some of it is obviously buckling and affects the ride. A road bike is suitable, but the last couple miles is small gravel so keep that in mind. I found that towards the end of the trail, there were a lot of shops, but you'll find yourself near a 7-11 about halfway in if you really needed to stop for food. There is plenty of civilization off the path, which is also kind of a detriment. There are many full stops you have to perform on busy roadways. Take plenty of water (two bottles), some snacks, and a lighter lock.
So last fall there was a landslide that wiped out one of the trestles, but it was fixed in June (you can see the piles of mud on the upslope side). This is a pretty ride along the bay. However, if you are willing to go about 1/2 mile on a not-too-busy street, you can cross the bridge to Sandy Hook (there is a wide sidewalk and also a bike path). From there you can take a bike/walking trail to the very top of Sandy Hook. The lower half is open, but as you get further north you pass through groves of trees (with birds just chirping away). This is one of my family's favorite rides.
In the summer there is a farmers market in a park just off the street between the trail and the bridge, where we often pick up fresh Jersey Produce.
I thoroughly enjoyed this trail. The scenery is fantastic. The only problem is that the trail is a bit bumpy. Also, the parking lots are a bit small, especially when there are ball games going on and the lots fill. Other than that, I rode 17miles of the trail this past weekend. The weather was fantastic and it was a nice outing on the bike. I'd highly recommend it!
I did this trail from end to end and started in Freehold. I am giving this two stars as it is a good trail but it is not a great trail. If I was to do it again I would start at Aberdeen and then do the ten mile round trip out on to Sandy Hook. Because of the first break in the trail that puts you on route 79 I would not suggest taking a family on this section. The second Break is almost as bad on Church St and Lloyd Rd but from there on it is a very good family ride. The trail dose have a good canopy most of the way. There are no mile markers but each cross road is marked as to what street you are crossing. You pass some great wet lands from Keyport all the way to the end. I would highly suggest that if you do this end of the trail that you do the Bay Shore trail as it is a great two mile ride and like I said early in the review a couple of locals told me the trip out to Sandy Hook is a great trip. Oh yes getting to the Bay Shore trail from the end of the Henry Hudson trail is well marked and on streets that have twenty MPH speed limits. None of these locals knew if or when the two missing links would get contacted. I road my old trusted Klein Mt bike with a Town and Country tire and was glade I did not do this on a road bike as it gets a little rough in a number of Places. If your a speed demon a road bike will work.
This is a short trail but a Gem of a trail. It is true to its name as it follows the bay from Atlantic Highlands NJ to Highlands NJ only two miles but the the whole two miles you can look over to the NY City ski line and the Verazano bridge. After talking to a local I found out that this trail was built about three years ago and just after it was finished they had a North Easter and it destroyed about of the trial. I has been rebuilt but the rebuilt part has not been paved. If you are in the area it is one great trail.
My wife and I have traveled several times now from the Sandy Hook lighthouse down the trail in Gateway National Park, crossed the bridge (bike lane and wide sidewalks available) and taken around 4 miles of the eastern HH Trail. As the last review mentioned, much of this trail is placed right on the water - you can hear the bay lap against the stone and you get great vistas. We ride up to a marina where the trail veers to the South. This makes for a nice two hour ride.
There is one section between the bridge and the trail where you must travel on Shore Drive, but its lightly traveled and there is a dedicated bike lane for parts of it.
We rode the whole trail from Freehold to the bridge at Sandy Hook. The southern section from Freehold to Matawan is newer and smooth with few road crossings, and none of the roots as other reviewers have noted for the northern section. In fairness the county has repaved some of the worst bumpy sections, but many root bumps still remain along the older section. On the positive side the old section does provide some nice views of the tidal estuary with bridges over a number of streams, while the smooth southern section offers a more standard suburban rail-trail view.
The newest addition to the trail (about 2 miles) that runs along the waterfront in Highlands has some of the best views of the whole trail as it runs right along the waterline of the bay.
I'm giving the whole trail an overall 3 star rating with the northern bumps dragging down the southern sections rating.
I did the northern section of the trail yesterday, 5/11/2011. All 12 miles of it, from Aberdeen to Atlantic Highlands, and back. I liked that it was close to the main roads, just in case I had to get off, or get a soda. Too many street crossings, but I didn't mind that. I liked that the trail is flat and paved, even though the pavement needs some serious work in some areas. The landscape is green on both sides. The scenery would probably look better earlier in spring, or in fall.
I've taken several bike rides on this trail so far this spring. I have to agree with previous postings, the root bumps on this trail are the pits. I also agree with the comment on the crossings thru local streets. In addition to those complaints, it seems that several large groups of kids like to hang out on this trail and act like it's their own piece of real estate... refusing to yield to passing cyclist or blocking the path completely forcing one to bike around them onto the grass area's. One kid in the KEANSBURG section even thru a can of soda in my direction because I was riding thru his area. A girl in that group even apologized for his actions. Another thing I experienced in Keansburg was a few vagrant/homeless types seem to hang around the path in this town too. Try another trail if you can. This trail needs work and people with manners or maybe even the Keansburg cops to utilize their Bike Patrol units to keep their rowdy kids in check.
From the end of the Henry Hudson Trail in the Atlantic Highlands there is now an extension called the Bayshore Trail. We started at the beginning of the trail by the Casino Restaurant , take Route 36 to 1st ave to the bay and the restaurant is right there. We started the trip and noticed a sign that said closed. I asked a person who just came off the trail why the closed sign. She stated the trail is fine that it is an ongoing feud between the two towns the trail runs through who will maintain it. So anyway the trail was fine with it being paved and stone dust used most of the way. It has to be the most beautiful trail I have seen in NJ. It runs along the bay for 2.2 miles. We then drove through the Highlands on Bayshore Drive for 1.2 miles , on a posted bike path that was very lightly traveled ,so do not worry about the traffic. We then went over the new Sandy Hook bridge which was a breeze, by the way the bridge is bike friendly. We then took the Sandy Hook Bike trail which is fully paved for 5.2 miles. I must say I was pleasantly surprised as this trail is a one for walkers,bikers and skaters. It has great views of the bay and ocean. The only thing you need to be careful for ,is it is heavily used, so do not travel to fast. The day was perfect as the temp. was in the 70s. The ride back was just as wonderful and the whole trip with stopping took 3 hours about 17 miles total.
Did 14 miles out & back today, 9/9/2010, starting from Trail Activity Building on Rt 36 going just past Union Beach. We considered this an urban trail that begins by hugging Rt 36, then veering towards the ocean with trees/brush/wetlands on both sides. Very clean, mostly flat, asphalt trail that is OK for biking, walking, no good for skating - too many upheavals, trail desparately needs to be repaved. Many places to eat either just off the trail or in one of the towns.
Would not bike this trail again - too many street crossings and most cars don't slow down for the bikes/pedestrians. Don't understand why the cross streets don't have sign markings perhaps even speed bumps to make the cars slow down. You can't get any speed on this trail because of the number of crossings. Very stressful, would not like to bike this with small children.
This trail is probably the worst maintained and paved of any of the many trails I have used in multiple states.
The trailhead in Highlands is paved for just a few yards. I skated for less than a minute and had to return to my car and drive to another location to start. There are some short stretches that are smoothy paved but for the most part the pavement is very deteriated and rough. There are many large frost heaves and root bumps. I assume it is even hazardous for some bikes. I expected to skate twenty miles one way and back but had to abort my trip in less than 4 miles.
Starting on Sept 14, 2009 a portion of the southern section of the trail from Texas road, Matawan to Greenwood road, Marlboro, will be closed for a long term (18 months) project for a super fund clean up at the site of the former Imperial oil company. Source: Asbury Park Press, September 11, 2009
We did a 5 mile ride starting from Matawan. It was a good ride, just that too many road crossings. Next time we will probably drive to the other end and start from there.
started outon rt79 to the bike trail went up towards malboro. headed back home to freehold.nice bike ride.
A new section of the trail running from 1st Ave. in Atlantic Highlands to the Highlands border is complete. It is a pleasant ride along the Sand Hook Bay waterfront. It is certainly the most scenic portion of this trail. You are at the bottom of a large hill, and not paralleling Route 36 like most of the Henry Hudson. There are several wooden bridges along the route. Unfortunately, the majority of the new route is stone dust and not paved like the rest of the trail. The new part is 8’ wide for most of the way but there are a few narrower sections. If you don’t mind getting a little dirty, this route is suitable for road bikes.
With this section being complete it is now possible to ride from Keyport to the tip of Sandy Hook with very few on road sections. There is about a ½ mile section from Avenue D to First Ave. in Atlantic highlands that is on lightly traveled roads. There are no marked bike lanes in this section, but the road has little traffic. There is also a 1 mile section in the Highlands from the end of the new section of trail over the Highlands Bridge to Sandy Hook. This road has designated bike lanes.
The Highlands Bridge is currently under construction. I was wary about traveling this route on a bike as the road is down to one lane in each direction and VERY heavily trafficked. I had nothing to worry about as a sidewalk over the bridge for Bikes and Pedestrians has been maintained. Once you cross the bridge there is about a 500’ dedicated gravel section until you pick-up the Sandy Hook trail. It is on the narrow side, but I was able to navigate this on my road bike without any problems. Once the new bridge is complete there will be a dedicated Bike lane…It will be really nice.
"We rode this trail again in late June, the trail is 80% shaded with a tree canopy. This is an excellent trail to avoid the intense sun, there is also a Dairy Queen about mid way on Rt 79 between the two unconnected segments."
"We rode the Atlantic section of the Henry Hudson trail in early Aug this year, as rail trails go this one is semi urban, with multiple street crossings and constant sightings of ""human development"". Even though it is paved the trail has become bumpy from tree roots. We didn't see any road bikes on the trail, but we were fine with our hybrids.
A hint to find the western trailhead, follow the Garden State Parkway South signs, this will bring you to Clark st, where the trailhead is.
For more info on the Henry Hudson's southern sections, visit my Jersey biking website at:
"On a sunny Easter day we rode 23.2 miles of this new section(s) We parked at the marked Henry Hudson parking area in the back of the Monmouth County youth correctional facility, which is about .5 miles from the southern trail head in Freehold. From here the trail pretty much goes through the backyards of new residential developments, the seperation is generally good, and the mature trees along the trail still remain so it is a pleasent ride. The 1st section ends in the center of a small residential development, just make a right turn and follow the road for a few blocks until you reach Rt79. NOTE: Rt79 is not a bike friendly road.
If you decide to continue to the 2nd section ride Rt 79 for 2 miles. Do NOT pass the Bicycle Hub of Matawan (bike store) like we did. The trail starts at the street just south of the store (Station Street). NOTE: The Bicycle Hub has a very short connector trail from it's parking lot to the trail directly behind the building. The Bicycle hub also encourages riders to use thier lot as a parking area for the trail head for this second section. This second northern section continues for almost 5 miles stopping a couple miles short of the original Henry Hudson trail. This section enters a more industrial area with fewer houses and more rusting relics of NJ's past industry. There are some places adjacent to the trail about a mile before it ends that you can grab some grub (Deli, Pizza, Dougnuts, Convieance store) making this a good rest stop before turning around for the return trip. "
"The nothern half of the trail is now open from Marlboro to Matawan. The trailhead is at Station Road (just off of Rt. 79) at the location of the former Wickatunk Station. Unfortunately parking is a problem at this spot.
The section between Wickatunk and the southern section to Freehold is not open (about a mile). The northern end of the trail ends in Matawan just past Church Road. All of the open sections are paved and generally in shade most of the day. The Monmouth County Park website seems to indicate the missing links in Marlboro and Matawan are in the design stages. There are some busy road crossings in these areas that may be holding up completion.
Overall, a great trail!
"The trail segment from Freehold north into Marlboro is now officially open.
There are several street crossings, but all are very manageable. There’s a very short off right-of-way detour at one very busy crossing (County Route 55) to take advantage of controlled pedestrian crossing with traffic signal.
The entire route is nicely paved and suitable for bikes, in-line skates, strollers, etc. Parking is available at a County owned hospital/nursing home on County Route 46 near Route 79 in Freehold, or at an elementary school in Marlboro just north of Route 18 and east of Route 79.
There are no services along the trail. However, the main business district in Marlboro is just 2 blocks to the trail’s west.
E-mail me if you need specific information.
Thanks, and enjoy."
I live in Morganville and really enjoy the trail so far can't wait til it is all done. Just wanted to say great job much appreciated.
"Although not officially open, you can ride or walk the trail all the way to downtown Marlboro into the development across from Marlboro High School, approximately 5 miles from Rt 537 in Freehold. The trail is paved and a great ride."
Monmouth County Parks anticipates a June opening for the southern portion of the trail between Freehold and Route 18.
"I can't wait any longer. Are we almost ready for construction of the trail?
**NOTE FROM RAILS-TO-TRAILS CONSERVANCY**
For information on when construction of a rail-trail project, such as the Monmouth Heritage Trail, will begin, please contact the local folks who are working directly with the project. In the case of the Monmouth Heritage Trail, please contact either
Monmouth Heitage Trail, Inc.
PO Box 170, Wickatuck, NJ 07765
Monmouth County Parks
805 Newman Springs Road
Lincroft, NJ 07738
"Well, if you are curious to ride this trail be prepared to stop at road crossings every three minutes or so. The scenery is pretty industrial looking. I'd rather drive further down the highway and bike along the beaches past the highlands."
"""Good news! It looks as though the Monmouth County Park's Department is just about ready to go out to bid on the first part of paving and bridge construction. This is for the nine miles that were outlined in the public meeting last year.
--From the Monmouth County Park System public relations officer on February 17, 2004."
"From the Asbury Park Press of January 9 2004: Monmouth County Parks has $240,000 for the third phase of the southerly extension of the Henry Hudson Trail. The 12-mile extension runs along the former Freehold Branch railroad right-of-way and connects to the existing nine-mile trail that stretches from Atlantic Highlands to Aberdeen.
he project, estimated to cost between $1.1 and $1.5 million, began in 2002, and the commission is now concentrating on constructing bridges and street crossings, and paving the path. That work should be completed in or before 2005."
"I thought this trail was surprisingly quiet considering the proximity to Rt. 36 in the southern half, even with the trees being bare. This is a nice level, paved trail. There are quite a few street crossings but most have extremely light traffic.
There are some mile markers painted on the pavement and, for the record, end at 10+ miles, not the 9 that is indicated. There are plenty of places along the entire length that you can park and access the trail if you want to start or finish somewhere other than the trail's endpoints.
We had a perfect day (mostly sunny and 70 degrees) for our ride, which we started in Aberdeen. I was all set to have lunch in the Highlands when we got there, but unfortunately there isn't much around where the trail ends.
I suppose you could shoot down Rt. 36 South a little more to get to the town of Highlands, but we opted against that. Instead, we turned around and started heading back. We noticed on the way down that Keansburg had a few eateries (pubs) that we could visit, so we stopped in there instead. Keansburg is approx. half way between Aberdeen and Highlands.
All in all it was a fantastic day and I will gladly give the trail a few more rides.
"We arrived at Aberdeen end of the trail on a sunny Saturday and began to ride toward Atlantic Highlands.
Riding condition is mostly great since trail is paved. Although there are occasional bumps due to asphalt thermal expansion, it really was no big deal. The trail parallels route 36 and it actually stays within the vicinity of the residential areas. If you are used to or enjoy riding through an isolated wilderness, as is the case in Paulinskill Valley Trail, this trail is not for you. However because of this we were ale to buy drinks and ice cream at a nearby convenient store as the day got pretty hot.
The worst thing about this trail was that the riding was frequently interrupted by the roads you have to cross along the way. That was a bit frustrating. We were dodging pedestridians and joggers but that is to be expected at any paved trail in NJ.
After having been on other NJ trails such as Columbia Trail, Delaware & Raritan Canal Trail, Sussex Branch, Paulinskill Valley Trail, and etc, this trail does not measure up in terms of scenic qaulity, length of the trail and overall riding experience. We probably will not return to this trail or recommend to any mountain bikers. "
"The Monmouth Heritage Trail has been completely cleared of debris. It is scheduled to be paved in the next year. During this time the Monmouth County Park Service has posted ""Area Closed"" signs along with snow fences at all road access points. I have posted some pictures at access points of the staus of this project, and look forward to its completion.
Looks like it will rate high!
"This is a long paved trail, fairly level, scenic, and cleaned up religiously every day. There are a large number of street crossings, some quite busy. The neighborhoods are quiet, quaint and varied. The salt marshes appear at various points along the trail, and water channels flow under the trail at many points. Many of the street crossings give access to various services.
I am particularly drawn to this trail in the winter because of it's proximity to the water. It tends to be a bit warmer than more inland trails, and although snow isn't removed, it melts quickly. There are a few dedicated parking areas, especially at the west end, and street parking is available almost everywhere along the route. It is even possible to walk the whole route and take a bus back to your starting point.
There are plans to extend the trail a considerable distance at both ends, but so far they remain just plans.
Rates an 8 out of 10!
"While the weather is nice I make it down to the Henry Hudson trail 2 - 3 times a week. It is great for both in-line skating and bike riding. I usually start by the Leonardo end because there is a good parking area with restrooms and water fountains. Plus the pavement is better maintained on this end.
The only problem is that there are a number of places where the tree roots are creating bumps in the pavement, but they seem to be repaving over sections to fix this."
"A wonderful paved trail although there are several very busy street crossings along the route.
Passing through marshes and residential back yards, this trail offers enjoyable views.
Plenty of parking at either end and loads to do in Atlantic Highlands to kill time."
"Excellent starter trail and good for children, although there are many street crossings in Keyport and Keansburg. The trail ends in Atlantic Highlands where there are several casual restruants and a marina."
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