Apr
24

Best Places to Bike in New Jersey

by Ashley Cerasaro

Colonial Park in Somerset, New Jersey

Colonial Park in Somerset, New Jersey

Next time you borrow an AVE Citizen folding bike, explore one of these scenic New Jersey trails, as recommended by our very own AVE team members.

Brookdale Park (3 miles from AVE Clifton)
Located in the northernmost part of the eastern section of Essex County, bordered by Watchung Avenue, Grove Street, and Bellevue Avenue, Brookdale Park is the third largest park in the Essex County Parks & Recreation system, with just over 121 acres. It is a magnet for nature lovers, families, and physical fitness enthusiasts, offering public access to both passive and active recreational activities, as well as picturesque vistas. There are trails for walking and running, lush groves and extensive lawns, playgrounds, sports fields, track facilities, tennis courts, an archery range, and a stadium grandstand. Click here to download the park map.

Garret Mountain Reservation (5 miles from Clifton)
The 568-acre reservation is situated 500 feet above sea level, offering several overlooks with panoramic views of northern New Jersey and Manhattan. The main portion of the park, on the ridge top above Lambert castle, is encircled by a paved drive and has a variety of developed recreation facilities. It also features two trails that traverse lesser-used areas and offer panoramic overlooks, including the Manhattan skyline. The Reservation features three major blazed trails: The Yellow Trail, The Morris Canal Greenway, and The White Trail, ranging from 0.7 to 3.1 miles, and when combined, totaling over 8 miles. Click here to download a map.

West Essex Trail (a 15-minute drive from AVE Clifton)

This short, scenic urban escape, just under 3 miles, follows the former rail bed of the Caldwell Branch of the old Erie-Lackawanna Railroad. It runs between the Essex-Passaic county line in Little Falls and Arnold Way in Verona, crossing a trestle over the Peckman River. The primary access point is from Fairview Avenue, near Verona High School. Click here to download the park map.

The Apshawa Preserve (a 20-minute drive from AVE Clifton)
This rugged 576-acre preserve offers a diversity of Highland habits, including mixed hardwood forest dominated by oak and sugar maple, the 40-acre Butler Reservoir, and the Apshawa Brook. The preserve boasts four blazed loop trails totaling just under five miles plus four blazed connector trails, and a perimeter woods road. Click here for a mobile-friendly trail map, including the location of the parking area.

Central Park (30-40 minute train ride from AVE Union)
While Central Park is not in New Jersey, it is only a short train ride from Union Station, which is only footsteps from AVE Union. This legendary green space encompassing 843 acres in the heart of Manhattan provides cyclists with a relaxing ride or a challenging workout and plenty of attractions to take a pit stop at including the famed Carousel, a 6-acre formal Conservatory Garden, and Belvedere Castle. Click here for a Central Park Bike Map.

Colonial Park (4 miles from AVE Somerset)
This 680-acre facility in Franklin Township offers a variety of outdoor recreation from golf to picnicking to biking trails, with scenic views of the historic Delaware and Raritan Canal and the Millstone River. Recreation facilities, prize-winning horticultural displays, and pristine natural areas are spaced amid the broad lawns and ponds of this diverse Somerset County park. A 1.4-mile fitness course is laid out along a paved path used by walkers, joggers and bicyclists. The Lois Howe Nature Trail is a remnant of the oak, hickory and beech forests that once characterized this area. A main trail and several smaller branch trails lead visitors into areas rich in varied plant and animal life. Click here for a map of the park.

Duke Farms (15-minute drive from AVE Somerset)
Located on 2,740 acres in Somerset County, Duke Farms is one of the largest privately owned, undeveloped parcels of land in New Jersey. Owned and supported by Duke Farms Foundation, it is rich in ecological, horticultural and agricultural resources. Bike or hike new trails through a variety of habitats, attend a nature or horticulture program, take an organic gardening class, or go on a geocaching adventure. Click here for a map of Duke Farms.

Duke Island Park (a 20-minute drive from AVE Somerset)
Located in Somerset County, Duke Island Park is a site of rich natural beauty offering varied recreational experiences. Truly an “island” park, it is traversed by the historic Raritan Power Canal. The Somerset County Park Commission acquired this 343-acre site in 1958, and has developed it to provide a wide variety of active and passive recreational opportunities and special events for park visitors. If you like to bike on pavement, then Duke Island Park is the park for you. Click here for a map of Duke Island Park.

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