Hartshorne Woods Park


Hartshorne Woods Park. Photo by Dan Balogh.


View Huber Woods/Hartshorne Woods CPs in a larger map

Park Overview:

With multi-use trails this is a popular destination for bicyclists and hikers. Visitors can view the Navesink River on a site that is among the highest elevations along the Atlantic Coast.

Trail Uses:Hiking, Mountain biking, Bridle path
Trail Miles:19 miles
Park Acreage:787 acres
Park Description:

A unit of the Monmouth County park system, Hartshorne Woods Park is named after Richard Hartshorne (pronounced "hart's horn"), the first European settler in the area, who purchased the land from the Native Americans. About two thirds of the present 736 acres were acquired by the county in 1974. The Rocky Point section, which had been the site of the Highlands Army Air Defense Command since 1940, was declared surplus property by the Department of Defense in 1979 and acquired by the county as an addition to the park. The area was restored and opened to the public in the early 1990s.

The park rises from sea level at the Shrewsbury and Navesink rivers to 274 feet above sea level. Located along an otherwise flat coastal plain, Hartshorne Woods sits astride a line of low but steep-sided hills. These hills mark the edge of a cuesta - a geomorphic landscape feature formed from sandstone layers that are slightly tilted. These layers, composed of quartz and other particles, were cemented together by iron oxides, and were thus more resistant to erosion than the unconsolidated sediments which once overlayed them. The forest is more similar to New Jersey's northern highlands than to the rest of Monmouth County. The hills support forests of oak, hickory, and tulip trees, with an understory of American holly and mountain laurel.

Share your favorite hike(s) with Trail Conference web site visitors. We are especially interested in hikes from The Jersey Shore Region where this park is located. Click for further information and a submission form.


Trails Overview:

Trailheads and parking are at the Buttermilk Valley Entrance and, some distance away, the Rocky Point Entrance.  Trails range in length from 0.6 mile to 3.4 miles.  Among the six or seven trails in the park all but two short ones - the Candlestick and Kings Hollow trails, both of which start at the Buttermilk Valley parking area - are multi-use trails open to hikers, runners, bicyclists, and equestrians.  The trails are heavily used by bicyclists and joggers.  Park regulations provide that bicyclists must yield to all other trail users; however, many trails open to bicycles are narrow, winding, "single-track" routes.  Thus, hikers should be alert for approaching bicycles.  Fewer bikers use nearby Huber Woods Park. Hikers must yield to equestrians. 

Typical of Monmouth County parks, trails are not blazed, although they have been classified into three categories based on difficulty.  Signposts at trail junctions use colored symbols to designate three classes of trails:  "easy" [green circles]; "moderate" [blue squares]; and "challenging' [black diamonds].  These designations are geared primarily towards bicyclists.  Thus, while trails designated with black diamonds are stated to be "challenging ... with obstructions and steep grades," most hikers will find these trails to be of no more than moderate difficulty.

The park's web site [Contact Information] links to a trail map.  Click here for descriptions of specific hikes in the park, scroll down the "Parks" column to "Hartshorne Park."


The closest major exit is #117 of the Garden State Parkway. The Buttermilk Valley Entrance can be reached on local roads from NJ 35 or NJ 36; The Rocky Point Entrance can also be reached on local roads from NJ 36.  See the Park's web site for specific directions; also click on the Location Tab at the top of this page for a terrain/street map.

Public Transportation to the intersection of NJ 36 and Navesink Avenue in Highlands is available via NJ Jersey Transit bus #834, which connects with NJ Transit North Jersey Coast Line trains at Red Bank.  The Academy Line provides direct bus service to Highlands from the Port Authority Bus Terminal in New York City.    

Contact Information:Monmouth County Park System
Region:Jersey Shore