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The Lawrence Hopewell Trail (LHT) offers more than 19 miles of pathway on a developing loop through public and private land in Lawrence and Hopewell Townships, about 5 miles north of Trenton. The route links business districts, parks, schools, historical villages, and playing fields, and it provides views of farmland and woodlands. Though the trail’s surface is largely porous pavement (which offers better stormwater control than traditional pavement), there are some crushed-stone sections, such as through Carson Road Woods, Maidenhead Meadows Park, and Mercer Meadows.
The planned 22-mile route is nearly complete with four gaps remaining, some of which traverse busy roads. The trail is anticipated to be finished in 2021. Additional connections to adjacent communities are also being planned, and the trail is part of a developing network in the Greater Philadelphia and Camden region called the Circuit Trails, which will encompass 800 miles of trail when complete.
The LHT is broken into 16 named segments, each with its own unique historical and natural features and trail characteristics. The first one, called the Mount Rose Distillery Segment—a 1.1-mile excursion through the wooded Mount Rose Preserve—begins at the north end of the trail in Hopewell.
Moving clockwise around the loop from there, you can pick up the trail again in Lawrence on the Educational Testing Service campus. After looping around the property, you’ll continue another 4 miles south to the end of this section at Princeton Pike. Along the way, you’ll traverse Carson Road Woods, which includes numerous walking paths throughout the pristine preserve, and pass the campus of another major employer, Bristol-Myers Squibb. As you approach the end of this section, use caution as you travel through Maidenhead Meadows Park; the trail here can be challenging to navigate with a road bike or hybrid.
A gap of less than a mile separates this section from the next. Pick up the trail farther down Princeton Pike at Meadow Road. You’ll now begin the longest continuous section of trail. In 0.5 mile, you’ll come to a T-junction; head right to continue on the LHT. Go left to reach the Delaware and Raritan Canal State Park Trail in 0.3 mile; the expansive trail stretches nearly 70 miles and takes travelers into Trenton.
If you stayed on the LHT, you’ll pop out of the trees into a business park environment. Soon, you’ll be on a northwest course winding through the Lawrenceville School campus, with its redbrick buildings, and Village Park, a popular spot with numerous athletic facilities and playgrounds. A highlight of the route is passage through Mercer Meadows, a sprawling 1,600-acre park with native grasses and wildflowers, lush woodlands, and two lakes, where you might spot deer, rabbits, and other wildlife. A unique attraction in the park is the Pole Farm, a historical relic of a telecommunications company once located here. Mercer Meadows also offers equestrian riding opportunities, including on portions of the LHT.
Approaching trail’s end, you’ll enter Hopewell again, passing through the nature reserve of the Stony Brook–Millstone Watershed Association, and end just 0.4 mile from where you started.
To reach the parking lot in the Mount Rose Distillery Segment from the intersection of US 206 and Princeton Pike in Trenton, head north on US 206. In 4.8 miles you’ll reach the unincorporated community of Lawrenceville, where you’ll take a left onto Carter Road. Follow Carter Road north 4.2 miles to the trailhead, which will be on your left. From the intersection of US 202 and US 206 in Somerville, head south on US 206, and go 14.2 miles. Turn right onto Cherry Valley Road, and go 4.75 miles. Turn left onto Carter Road. Go 0.4 mile, and the trailhead will be on your right.
To reach parking at the Watershed Institute in the Stony Brook–Millstone Watershed Reserve, take I-295 to Exit 72. Follow NJ 31 northbound 1.4 miles. Make a slight left to continue on NJ 31 N, and go 3.1 miles. Turn right onto Titus Mill Road; follow it 1.2 miles east to the parking lot.
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