Fall is the perfect time to meander through this 500-acre conservation of rushing brooks. Take the short 0.8-mile loop, blue-blazed Forest Brook trail, to view the rushing Ireland Brook and its outflow into the Lawrence Brook. Or for a longer journey, take the 2.9-mile Ireland Brook Trail (yellow blaze) across the old Fast Line Trolley line.Trail Map
Mill to Brook Trail
This 9-mile hike takes you through one of the most picturesque areas of Middlesex County in the fall. Take the outer loop at the Mill and follow the Farrington Lake Trail north to the Forest Brook Trail and then to the Ireland Brook Trail. Be sure to visit the ponds where you can spot distinctive plant and animal life.Trail Map
This conservation area has long been enjoyed by visitors around New York and New Jersey. In the early 20th century, visitors from New York were brought by train to enjoy Saturday dances and purchase land in this New Jersey Countryside. Luckily, the proposed development never came to fruition, leaving behind a beautiful 7.5-mile hike is decorated with berries, post oaks, and several endangered species of plants and animals. This old hotspot is perfect for hikes and picnics!Trail Map
Nestled just outside the small village of Kingston, the preserve offers a glimpse into the rich farming history of the area. Combined with Heathcote Park, the Cook Natural Area, Mapleton Preserve and the Delaware & Raritan Canal State Park, the Heathcote Meadows Preserve creates a dense belt of foliage around the village of Kingston. This provides stream protection for Heathcote Brook and Carter Brook and wonderful opportunities for hiking, walking, and wildlife viewing. Try a leisurely 1.4-mile hike or a more strenuous 34-mile adventure along the Delaware & Raritan Canal Towpath.Trail Map
For plant and animal diversity, little compares to the John A. Phillips Open Space Preserve. Located in the heart of the ecologically rich Spotswood Outlier, you can find several shorter hiking trails through a pine forest. If you’re looking for a short, easy hike this fall, John A. Philips Preserve is the perfect place for you.Trail Map
For those looking for a peaceful hike, we recommend this tranquil spot. Located in the heart of 482 acres of scenic former agricultural land, these fun-but-tough switchback trails take you under a thick forest canopy. It’s the perfect spot for hikers looking for some tougher trails this fall.Trail Map
With easy-to-moderate trails and remarkable scenery, Cheesequake State Park is famed for its unlikely range of contrasting natural vistas including a swath of upland hardwood forest, a vast white-cedar swamp, and miles of coastal saltwater marshes. Near the trailhead, the Nature Center helps visitors with guidance on the best trails and sites. This park is also a great place for camping!
Click for more information about hiking in Middlesex County Parks and Open Space Preserves.
Scott's Corner Conservation Area is a 159-acre preserve located between the Township’s Rowland Park and the Plainsboro Preserve—home of the New Jersey Audubon Nature Center. It has a tidy, ½ mile loop trail (Beechwood Loop—orange blaze) that winds through towering beech trees towards a bird blind that overlooks a small, hidden pond full of turtles, frogs and other wildlife.Trail Map