Monday, December 29, 2014

Washington Valley Park, NJ - Western Section

Washington Valley Park - Somerset County Park Commission
Middle Brook Trail - Bridgewater Township

Crim Road Soccer Field Parking
GPS Coordinates 40.610784, -74.588108

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I didn't park in the Washington Valley Park lot because all of the trails converge there and I don't like to pass by my car while on a hike.  So I parked at Crim Park (there are actually two lots, this is the smaller with the larger lot just to the south) and took the Middle Brook Trail into Washington Valley Park.

Washington Valley Park Trail Map - Somerset County Parks
For the western section, dashed line on the map refers to square trail markers, dotted line on the map refers to circle trail markers, solid line on the map refers to white C markers for connector trails.
Middle Brook Trail Map - Bridgewater Township
Washington Valley Park - Western Side at EveryTrail

HIKE DISTANCE: 5.5 miles

From Crim Park Field 5 parking, follow the paved path to ...
... the Crim Park lot (or park here) and head to the kiosk at the far corner.
Follow the Middle Brook Trail markers along the edge of the field ...
... and across a bridge ...
... over Middle Brook.
At the Tullo Road crossing, a gravel lot that fits 5-6 cars - would have parked here had I known about this lot.
The trail was very wet.
The robins did not mind.
But there are several sturdy bridge crossings.
The blue-blazed trails of Washington Valley Park start here.  There are actually 3 ways to go where the map shows 2 so it's a little confusing.  I took the middle trail thinking it would be the upper loop and the trail on the left would be the lower Middle Brook Trail.  There were no markers along the trail to the far right.  Turns out to do the loop, I should have taken the trail to the far right.  The center trail is the lower trail.  Not sure what the trail on the left is since I did not hit it from the other end on the return route.
Square markers are dashed lines on the map.
Muddy in spots!
The circle blazes (dotted line on map) join in.  This is where I would have come out had I taken the correct way for the upper trail.
Cross Newman Lane ...
... proceed straight through the Washington Valley Park lot ...
... to the red trail.
Several side trails lead to the reservoir.
Towards the end of the reservoir I ventured off on to unmarked trail and followed the reservoir around...
... to the dam.
Logan Road (a park service road) with a few breaks in the fence to get back over to the red trail.
But if you keep going up to the top of Logan Road and around a huge boulder to the left, views over the quarry.
Zooming in to Hawk Watch and Chimney Rock in the eastern part of the park.
Mountain bikers make good use of Sandy blow downs for ramps.
A section of the red trail skirts the back yards of homes ...
... but turns back into the woods with some winter views.
Circle joins in with square just before ...
... the parking lot.
Retracing back on blue - would have turned left to take the upper trail but it was getting late so headed back the same way.
Back on the Middle Brook Trail.
Down to the creek for a little paw rinse before getting back into the car.

Since this was the last hike of the year, one picture from each hike in 2014:

A map of places hiked in 2014: