New York City, NY: Hartshorne Woods Park

See a different side of North Jersey from the Grand Tour Trail.
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See a different side of North Jersey from the Grand Tour Trail.

At 3.5 miles, this figure-8 dayhike is short, sweet—and steep. There’s plenty to see in this 741-acre escape from suburbia—lush vegetation, low-flying hawks, and deer in the berry patches. Start on the blue-blazed Laurel Ridge Trail (actually a dirt road here), and turn left at .4 mile onto the black-diamond-blazed Grand Tour Trail to climb to a hilltop 240 feet above the Atlantic Ocean. The trail curves back to the dirt road and heads downhill, crossing other dirt roads along the way. Toward the Monmouth Hills section of the park, the land is a series of miniature bluffs and valleys covered in tulip trees rising above laurel and blueberries. Sunlight streams through the canopy. Soon the trail leaves the woods, enters a vine-covered valley, passes through tunnels of grape, and enters the woods again. The trail winds around to complete its easterly loop; turn right at the tree stump with a sign for the Laurel Ridge Trail. Info: monmouthcountyparks.com -Hike provided by Mary Jasch, author of Best Hikes with Dogs: New Jersey (Mountaineers Books)

Waypoints

Hartshorne Woods Park

Location: 40.4000778, -74.0155487