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Allaire State Park
This hike loops through an interesting forest on a sand road and passes the historic Allaire Village.
Allowed on leash
Driving DirectionsTake the Garden State Parkway to Exit 98. Beyond the toll booths, bear left at the fork, following signs to Route 34 South. After merging onto Route 34, make the first right onto Allenwood Road and proceed for 0.7 mile to a "stop" sign at a T-intersection. Turn right onto Atlantic Avenue (County Route 524), and continue for 1.0 mile to a large gravel parking area on the left, just past the entrance to the Spring Meadow Golf Course. Parking fees are only charged from Memorial Day weekend to Labor Day on weekends and holidays..
From the parking area, cross the road, turn left, and head west along the grassy shoulder. You'll pass a private residence (#4210), with a split-rail fence and a row of evergreens. In about 750 feet, just beyond the end of the evergreens, you'll see a wooden gate with a State Park Service sign "No Parking." Go through the opening to the right of the gate and continue along an overgrown lane, with old metal fences on either side.
After about 10 minutes, the lane widens into a sand-and-gravel road and you’ll notice some orange blazes, indicating that you are following the Orange Trail. Lowbush blueberry and mountain laurel form the ground cover, and oak, sassafras and holly are the dominant trees.
Soon, the trail bears left and begins a short, gradual ascent, now paralleling I-195. At the top of the climb, you'll pass through an abandoned gravel quarry, with a blue water tower on the left. Here, the oak/sassafras forest is temporarily replaced by a stand of pitch pines.
The trail now begins to descend, with I-195 visible through the trees on the right. Soon, the road curves left, away from the highway, and begins
to parallel the right-of-way of the abandoned Freehold and Jamesburg Agricultural Railroad (visible below on the right). Continue along the sand-and-gravel road until you reach Atlantic Avenue. Bear slightly left, cross the road at the crosswalk, and turn right onto a wide paved path with purple blazes. Follow the paved path as it curves left, away from the highway, and enters the woods, paralleling the park entrance road on the right.
After passing a small toll booth, you'll see a sign on the right for "Nature Center Parking." Turn right, leaving the paved path, cross the park entrance road, and continue through the parking lot. At the end of the parking lot, bear right and follow a concrete path that crosses a wooden footbridge over a stream and continues through the woods to the Nature Center. If the center is open, you'll want to stop and visit the exhibits. Continue past the Nature Center, following an unmarked path that leads to another footbridge over a stream. Cross the bridge and immediately turn left onto a gravel road, the route of the Green Trail.
Follow the road past an attractive pond on the right, and continue along the route of a former canal. Soon, you'll pass a picnic area on the right and a parking lot on the left and enter the historic Allaire Village. A long brick building on your left, built in 1820, is the visitor center, which features interesting historical exhibits. A map and guide to the village can be obtained here. After viewing the exhibits, continue ahead to the end of the brick building, turn right, and follow the main road as it heads downhill, bears left to cross a stream, and proceeds through the Historic Village at Allaire. The historic brick buildings you’ll pass include a foreman’s cottage, blacksmith shop, bakery, general store and carpenter shop – all built in the village’s heyday, between 1827 and 1836. Many of the buildings are open during summer months from Wednesday to Sunday and feature historical demonstrations.
After taking in the sights of the village, continue along the road as it heads north, leaving the village area. A short distance beyond, you’ll come to a locked gate. Here, you should turn right onto a paved path (marked with orange and purple blazes) which follows the right-of-way of the abandoned Freehold and Jamesburg Agricultural Railroad. Continue along the paved path as it bears left, leaving the railbed, and soon reaches the parking area where the hike began.