Saturday, November 5, 2011

Allaire State Park, NJ: North of Manasquan River with Allaire Village and Pine Creek Railroad

Allaire State Park - New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection
Historic Allaire Village -
Pine Creek Railroad - The New Jersey Museum of Transportation
Edgar Felix Memorial Bikeway -

Bikeway Parking on Route 524 (no parking fees)
GPS Coordinates 40.157553, -74.120566

View Larger Map
Very large parking lot on Route 524 for the multi-use Edgar Felix Memorial Bikeway and the Freehold-Jamesburg Rail Trail.

Click here for a scanned copy of the map.  Click on "Download Original" button at the top right of the page to save the PDF file to your computer so you can rotate, enlarge and print.  Contact the NJ Department of Environmental Protection if you would like a paper copy mailed.

HIKE DISTANCE:  7.8 miles

Cross Route 524, turn left and walk along the side of the road for .15 mile until you reach a double fence.  Enter to the right of the fence and follow a woods road.  This is shown as an orange trail on the map but you will not see any blazes early on.
First orange trail marker .4 mile into the hike.
At 1.75 miles turn right on an unmarked path over to the abandoned railbed which begins to run parallel to the orange trail, turn right a short distance walking towards the end of the railbed and watch for an orange marker to the left, turn left into the woods to continue on the trail.
When you reach Route 524 turn right and walk along Route 524 to pass under I-195.  The orange trail actually turns right just before Route 524, passes under I-195 with a fence between the trail and the road (very overgrown in spots) then veers right back into the woods to meet up with the abandoned railbed on the other side of I-195.  For this hike turn right after the fence and walk along Route 524 for .2 mile then turn right on the green trail at the break in the fence.
Right on green trail from Route 524.
After the green trail crosses the paved park road, pass beyond a wooden gate and come to a pretty pond on the right. (The pond is not shown on the park map.)

Saw a large bird at the pond and tried to zoom in for a better picture.  I think it might be a Black-crowned Night-Heron.
The green trail reaches a fork where it goes either left or right.  It doesn't really matter which way you go as it loops back around to this intersection.  However, when I hiked it, the left side was closed due to storm damage so I turned right and was able to hike about 2/3 of it before I came to the closed tape at the other side and had to turn around.
The green trail is very pretty and quiet in this area.  No I-195 noise like before.
The green trail crosses over Rt. 524 then goes under I-195 as an old towpath next to a canal.
The red trail starts out as a sparsely marked sand road....
... then becomes a nature trail over a boardwalk.
Holly along the red trail.
When the red trail comes out on to the old towpath (green/red trail on map) veer left then right over the bridge to the nature center.
Map outside the Nature Center that shows some trails not on the park map.
If you turn around at the large map and stand very still, it won't take long for all kinds of birds to descend on the bird feeders.
Walk to the right for a nice view of the pond and the old towpath (green trail) on the other side.
Take a concrete path from behind the Nature Center to a bridge which leads to the park entrance road.
Turn right on the park road, then right on a path and at the sign at the picnic area, turn left towards historic Allaire Village.
Historic row house which houses the visitor's center and museum.
Make note of the church to the far left - this is where you want to end up after touring the village and hiking the yellow trail.
Turn right on the yellow trail as the village road veers left.  There is a round yellow circle on a round brown background marker but there aren't many more markers along the trail.
Beginning of the yellow trail with a marker.
The trail reaches the Manasquan River and follows along faintly. (This is a view looking back.)  Even though it will appear as through the trail veers left with blowdowns and flood debris, it does continue to follow along the river until you reach an intersection with a smaller side stream.
Scenic Manasquan River
Turn left leaving the river when a side stream comes in; head towards the blast furnace.
Sign towards the end of the yellow trail.
Blast Furnace
Tons of little Eastern Bluebirds hang out around the blast furnace.
Descend steps across the village road from the barn at the stage depot; follow dirt path uphill to a field then veer left towards the gazebo and the church.
Walk through or along the Pine Creek Railroad heading towards the paved Edgar Felix Memorial Bikeway.
The the paved Edgar Felix Memorial Bikeway follows between the Pine Creek Railroad and Route 524 back to the parking lot.

[  0.00]  Cross Route 524, turn left and walk on grassy area next to road
[  0.15]  Turn right on woods road to the right of double gates
[  0.40]  Begin to see orange trail markers on plastic posts as trail veers left
[  0.90]  Sand/gravel road crosses over small creek
[  0.95]  Cross over second small creek just after an unmarked trail comes in from the right
[  1.20]  After large drainage pipe on the left a water tower comes into view
[  1.40]  Stay on sand/gravel road when an unmarked trail crosses over; now parallel to I-195
[  1.45]  Stay on sand/gravel road when an unmarked trail crosses over
[  1.70]  Trail begins to veer to the left away from I-195
[  1.75]  Turn right on unmarked path a short distance then right on abandoned rail bed
[  1.80]  Turn left into woods at orange marker before the end of the rail bed, follow trail which is now pretty well marked
[  2.05]  At Route 524 turn right after fence and walk along the road under I-195; continue along road
[  2.25]  Turn right at green trail marker through break in fence
[  2.35]  Cross over paved park road and beyond wooden gate, continue straight with pond on right (pond not on park map)
[  2.65]  Turn right at intersection to follow the green trail loop
[  2.90]  Turn left on green trail as orange trail straight ahead connects to abandoned rail bed trail (connector portion not on park map)
[  3.15]  Stay on green trail is it veers left
[  3.55]  Keep straight on green at intersection back to the pond
[  3.85]  Go beyond wooden gate and cross paved park road
[  3.95]  Go through break in fence, turn left on Rt. 524 briefly, then cross to the right to continue on green trail
[  4.00]  Trail parallels canal as it goes under I-195
[  4.10]  Turn right at fork (unmarked but should be leaving green and turning on red)
[  4.25]  Follow sand road as it veers left when another sand road (not on map) goes right
[  4.40]  First red trail marker
[  4.50]  Trail forks, turn right on less defined grass road (should come back together if you take more well defined sand road to the right)
[  4.70]  Meet back up with well-defined sand road, turn right and head towards red trail; turn right at red marker on footpath with interpretive signs
[  4.80]  Trail turns left, goes beyond split rail fence and follows boardwalk
[  4.85]  Boardwalk ends, ascend steps at end of boardwalk; keep right at top of steps at Peat Bog sign
[  5.05]  Left on sand road at pond then right over bridge towards Nature Center
[  5.10]  At Nature Center go around to the right of the building and pick up concrete path behind building
[  5.20]  Cross bridge and come out at small parking lot; walk through parking lot, right on main park road towards park sign, then right on path at "no bicycles allowed" sign, then left on sand road at picnic tables
[  5.40]  Sand road becomes paved, keep straight when bridge to left leads to main parking lot
[  5.50]  Enter historic Allaire Village and keep right
[  5.60]  When village road veers left at Millpond on left and double sand roads on right, follow the village road to the left then immediately turn right in break in fence for the yellow trail
[  6.00]  Yellow trail turns to left away from the Manasquan River at side stream
[  6.10]  At dirt road, turn right briefly to blast furnace, then retrace keeping straight on dirt road which is still the yellow trail
[  6.15]  At end of yellow trail, turn right on village road and continue to explore village
[  6.60]  Across the village road from the barn, descend steps, follow boardwalk then path uphill to field; veer left towards gazebo and church
[  6.80]  Exit village and turn right on paved path before parking lot; at Pine Creek Railway turn left; at end turn left then right on to paved bike way just before stop sign
[  7.50]  Cross road at stop sign
[  7.60]  Follow paved bike path to the left as a grass road goes straight
[  7.80]  Parking lot on left


  1. You present the clearest, best documented trail descriptions I've ever seen. And of course your photos are beautiful. Thank you for them.

  2. We did this hike today. I must say, it wasn't my favorite. There was a lot of car noise from 95, and the trails were not always well marked. We missed a few turns, but eventually found our way. We wished we had actually brought all of your photos to use as a guide as well! It was very flat and easy hiking. Allaire village was interesting to walk around.

    Lynn & 2 border collies.

  3. Lynn & 2 border collies,
    I can imagine this wasn't your favorite especially after just having hiked at Macedonia Brook State Park. At least you did not have any tricky descents for the dogs!


  4. Nice journal on your trek.
    If interested and want to explore an old part of the Red Trail that used to lead to the picnic area (closed for many years now) but still navigable (may want to bring some rubber boots as there are wet areas), I’ll add to the below:

    [ 4.80] Trail turns left, goes beyond split rail fence and follows boardwalk
    [ 4.85] Boardwalk ends, ascend steps at end of boardwalk; keep right at top of steps at Peat Bog sign

    Keep right at top of steps and hike alone perimeter of hill top heading east about 30 yards. Old trail is very narrow and partly overgrown. You will reach the corner of the hilltop perimeter and an embankment with some remnants of the old wooden stairs going down towards east. Keep heading east (the entire trek). About 10 yards east of the base of the steps the ground will get marshy (used to be a wooden footbridge here). Make it through here and then up a small embankment to a dry wooded area. Then you’ll encounter the next wet area (more wet this time with a few narrow streams to cross; again, used to be footbridges here). Up another small embankment through dry wooded area, then to another wet area with a small stream to cross (bridges gone). Up another small embankment, through the woods and finally across the last small stream and up an embankment to a split rail fence (used to close the trail). The rest just passes through into the picnic area.

    Probably would reopen the trail if they could fix the bridges. Likely money issue but would be a good project.

    1. Shame that it is such a mess back in there. Might be a good scout project!


  5. We're new to hiking and try to find a new trail to hike every Sunday. I appreciate all your guidance and photos. We were looking for a place a little closer to home so decided to try this trail out. Big mistake! The walk itself was very uneventful and kinda boring. Even though we wore bug spray, we still ended up with several ticks and pretty bad case of Chiggers. No views, no real challenges, basically just a walk through the woods that left us disappointed. Looking for a nicer place a little further North for tomorrow.