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Holmdel Park Southern Section
This nearly level hike circles the southern section of this park, following the edges of open fields and paralleling several streams.
Allowed on leash
Views, Historic feature, Woods
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 1.1 miles and turn left onto Roberts Road. Then, in 0.8 mile, after passing Longstreet Road on the right, the road curves to the left. About 0.2 mile beyond the curve, turn left into the Ramanessin Section Trail Access parking area (this parking area is not shown on the park map). (If you wish to visit the Longstreet Farm and/or obtain a trail map, turn right onto Longstreet Road, then take the first left and enter the park. Park in the Pond View parking area and obtain a map from a kiosk or from the visitor center.)
In addition to trails, Holmdel Park features 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 park are not blazed and are marked only by signposts, mainly at junctions. You should obtain a trail map before beginning the hike. Maps are available online at www.monmouthcountyparks.com or from the park visitor center. The trails described in this hike are multi-use, but they appear to be used mainly by hikers.
From the end of the gravel parking area, follow a wide grassy path into the woods and continue uphill on a dirt road, passing a signpost for the Ramanessin Trail on the left. At the top of the rise, turn right onto another wide grassy path, which soon becomes a dirt road. You’re now on the Steeplechase Trail, indicated by signposts along the way.
Soon, you’ll reach a signpost on the left for the Homestead Trail, with interesting ruins of wooden farm buildings nearby. Continue ahead on the dirt road, the route of the Steeplechase Trail, passing several open fields.
After a sharp bend in the trail, you’ll come to a signpost for the Fern Path, which begins on the left. Again, continue ahead on the Steeplechase Trail, passing a fenced-in tree farm on the right. Continue to follow the dirt road as it curves to the right and goes along the southern edge of the tree farm, then turn left at a signpost for the Steeplechase Trail and loop around to head east on a parallel route.
After passing a small pond (obscured by vegetation) on the left, you’ll reach a signpost on the left marking the end of the Steeplechase Trail. Bear left, now following the Ramanessin Trail, which heads through the woods, paralleling a brook below to the left.
At the next signpost, turn left, following the arrow pointing to “Holmdel Park.” You’ll cross over the brook, follow along the right edge of a field, then reenter the woods. Soon, the Fern Path leaves to the left, but you should continue ahead on the Ramanessin Trail, which follows a wide footpath, with Ramanessin Brook below to the right.
The trail emerges onto another field and follows a wide grassy path along its right side. Be sure to bear right at a fork near the end of the field and head towards a signpost visible ahead. The trail now loops around the right side of another field. At a signpost at the end of the field, bear right and continue on a winding grassy path through the woods. You’ll past a signpost marking the end of the Homestead Trail, but continue ahead on the Ramanessin Trail, which becomes a narrow footpath.
The trail eventually emerges onto yet another field, following a grassy path along the right side of the field. It bears right at a signpost and follows a footpath into the woods, with a brook below to the right. The trail soon turns right, crosses the brook on a wooden footbridge, climbs a little, and continues through pleasant woods. After following a wide grassy path for a short distance, you’ll reach a signpost for the Ramanessin Trail which you passed at the start of the hike. Turn right and follow the path back to the parking area where the hike began.