Hiking Opportunities in Middlesex County’s
Parks and Open Space Preserves
Thompson Park Conservation Area
Near the trailhead at Tamarack Hollow in the Fall
Middlesex County maintains many miles of walking and hiking trails on county-owned property. From paved pathways around the Lake in Roosevelt Park, to the rocky trail along Farrington Lake, to the sandy Pine Barrens trails in Phillips Park and Preserve. Visitors may find hiking locations which are suitable for families with small children, for novice hikers ,and for more experienced trekkers who are looking for nearby day-hikes.
Hiking is an inexpensive and easy way to stay healthy. The American Hiking Society states that even low-intensity hiking can promote weight loss, reduce risk from heart disease, diabetes and hypertension and can improve mental health.
Middlesex County Parks are open from sunrise to sunset, 7 days per week.
Camping, horseback riding, alcoholic beverages, fireworks and motor vehicles are prohibited. Hunting is prohibited except by permit at select locations. A complete description of park rules and regulations can be found at http://co.middlesex.nj.us/parksrecreation/rules.asp
Some properties are part of our Deer Management program. Hunting takes place during the state permitted seasons. At these locations, hikers should restrict their visits to Sundays when no hunting is permitted OR wear blaze orange and hike with caution.
All hikers should be prepared before they get out onto the trails:
Be aware of weather conditions
Wear proper footwear and dress for the weather
Dress and prepare to reduce the risk of tick-borne diseases
Do not approach wildlife
Stay on the marked trails
Be courteous to others while on the trail
Leave only footprints and take only pictures (no littering or removing any plants or animals)
Bring along a trail map
Be realistic about how much distance you should cover
Let someone know where you will be hiking and what time you will return
Heathcote Meadows Preserve
South Brunswick (near Kingston)
A picturesque trail leads through a meadow.
Connecting trails take you to nearby Cook Natural Area, Mapleton Preserve and D&R Canal State Park.
View from the Trail at Heathcote Meadows Preserve
Farrington Lake Trail
South Brunswick/East Brunswick
A rocky trail that leads along Farrington Lake towards the Ireland Brook.
Autumn Colors along Farrington Lake
Bridge over Wetlands at Phillips Preserve
John A. Phillips Preserve
Observe New Jersey Pine Barrens plants and animals on nearly 5 miles of hiking trails. A self-guided
Nature Trail can be found here.
Thompson Park & Thompson Park Conservation Area
Some of the oldest and most well-used trails in the County. Great for fall foliage and seasonal bird migration. Many trails originate near the Dog Park area. The TPCA trailhead located off Prospect Plains Road. Some trails have moderate inclines and wander in the floodplain of the Manalapan Brook.
Scotts Corner Conservation Area **COMING SOON**
A short loop trail through an open beech forest. The trail borders some wetlands, former agricultural fields and sports fields.
Stepping Stones at Scott’s Corner Conservation Area
Jamesburg Park Conservation Area
Helmetta/Monroe Township/Spotswood/East Brunswick
Experience the unique habitat of a pine barrens “outlier”. Pitch pine, oaks, blueberries and huckleberries dominate the sandy uplands. Atlantic white cedar can be found in the wetlands. Rare and threatened plant and animal species can be found here.