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Holmdel Park Northern Section
This hike circles the north section of this county park, crossing a wetland on a boardwalk and paralleling several streams.
Allowed on leash
Take the Garden State Parkway south to Exit 114. At the end of the ramp, turn right onto Red Hill Road. In 0.4 mile, just before a traffic light, turn right onto Crawfords Corner Road (there is a sign for Holmdel Park here). Continue for 1.2 miles and turn left onto Roberts Road. Then, in 0.7 mile, turn right onto Longstreet Road. Almost immediately, turn left into Holmdel Park and proceed to the Forest Edge parking area.
In 1962, the Monmouth County park system acquired the 347-acre property which forms the north section of Holmdel Park. It includes the living-history Longstreet Farm (which is open daily and also worth a visit), an arboretum, two trout-stocked ponds, and several picnic areas. The trails in the north section of the park, which are for foot traffic only, are not blazed and are marked only by posts, mainly at junctions. You should obtain a trail map at the kiosk before beginning the hike (although some lesser trails are not shown on the map).
From the western end of the Forest Edge parking area, head uphill towards the woods on a broad path, with a playground to the left and a brick restroom building on the right. You'll pass a kiosk, where trail maps are available. At a signpost for the Beech Glen Trail, turn left and begin to descend. Bear right at the next intersection to continue on the Beech Glen Trail, which passes through an interesting beech grove and parallels an attractive stream (unfortunately, some of the beech trees have been scarred by grafitti).
After bearing right and leaving the stream, the Beech Glen Trail ends at the gravel Cross Country Trail. Turn left and follow this trail, which runs parallel to the main park road, to the Hill Top Parking Area. Along the way, you will pass several "fitness stations," where walkers are encouraged to do various fitness exercises. The trail turns left to skirt the parking area, briefly parallels the park service road (this portion of the road is closed to traffic), then heads west towards Holmdel Road. It bears right, away from the paved road, and soon reaches the park service road.
Cross the service road and turn left, now following a path that runs between a grassy field on the left and woods on the right. The path makes a sharp bend to the right and descends. At the base of the descent, turn right and cross a wooden bridge over a stream, then turn left onto the High Point Trail, which parallels the stream. [Note: As of May 2011, this bridge over the stream has been closed by the Park. See below for additional information.]
After turning sharply right and climbing a little, the trail goes down to reach a junction with the Marsh Trail. Turn left and follow the Marsh Trail. At the next intersection, turn right and proceed across a wetland on a boardwalk. Two side trails go off to the left, but you should proceed ahead on the main trail.
Soon after the main boardwalk ends, you'll cross a stream on a wooden bridge. Just beyond, turn right onto a narrower footpath that heads uphill, climbing part of the way on wooden steps. At the top of the hill, continue ahead, crossing an intersecting footpath.
After passing a small picnic area, turn sharply right and descend. At the base of the descent, you'll reach a four-way intersection. Continue ahead and cross a stream on a wooden bridge, following black arrows. Then, at the next junction (a short distance uphill), bear left, following the most obvious path, and pass through an evergreen grove.
Soon, you'll reach a junction with the wide Ridge Walk Trail. Turn left and follow this trail to its end, where it emerges onto a grassy field. Continue across the field, following a narrow footpath. As the footpath disappears, you'll come to a picnic area on the right, with the main park road visible just beyond. Turn right, cross the park road, and continue across a grassy area to the Forest Edge parking area, where the hike began.