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...
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.Publication: Submitted by Daniel Chazin on 05/24/2011 updated/verified on 05/24/2011
This nearly level hike circles the southern section of this park, following the edges of open fields and paralleling several streams.
Whether you are going for a day hike or backpacking overnight, it is good practice to carry what we call The Hiking Essentials. These essentials will help you enjoy your outing more and will provide basic safety gear if needed. There may also be more essentials, depending on the season and your needs.
Hiking Shoes or Boots
Water - Two quarts per person is recommended in every season. Keep in mind that fluid loss is heightened in winter as well as summer. Don't put yourself in the position of having to end your hike early because you have run out of water.
Map - Know where you are and where you are going. Many of our hiking areas feature interconnecting network of trails. Use a waterproof/tear-resistant Tyvek Trail Conference map if available or enclose your map in a Ziplock plastic bag. If you have a mobile device, download Avenza’s free PDF Maps app and grab some GPS-enhanced Trail Conference maps (a backup Tyvek or paper version of the map is good to have just in case your batteries die or you don't have service). Check out some map-reading basics here.
Food - Snacks/lunch will keep you going as you burn energy walking or climbing. Nuts, seeds, and chocolate are favorites on the trail.
Sunscreen and insect repellent
Rain Gear and Extra Clothing - Rain happens. So does cold. Be prepared for changing weather. Avoid cotton--it traps water against your skin and is slow to dry. If you are wearing wet cotton and must return to your starting point, you risk getting chills that may lead to a dangerous hypothermia. Choose synthetic shirts, sweaters and/or vests and dress in layers for easy on and off.
Compass - A simple compass is all you need to orient you and your map to magnetic north.
Light - A flashlight or small, lightweight headlamp will be welcome gear if you find yourself still on the trail when darkness falls. Check the batteries before you start out and have extras in your pack.
First Aid Kit - Keep it simple, compact, and weatherproof. Know how to use the basic components.
Firestarter and Matches - In an emergency, you may need to keep yourself or someone else warm until help arrives. A firestarter (this could be as simple as leftover birthday candles that are kept inside a waterproof container) and matches (again, make sure to keep them in a waterproof container) could save a life.
Knife or Multi-tool - You may need to cut a piece of moleskin to put over a blister, repair a piece of broken equipment, or solve some other unexpected problem.
Emergency Numbers - Know the emergency numbers for the area you're going to and realize that in many locations--especially mountainous ones, your phone will not get reception.
Common Sense - Pay attention to your environment, your energy, and the condition of your companions. Has the weather turned rainy? Is daylight fading? Did you drink all your water? Did your companion fail to bring rain gear? Are you getting tired? Keep in mind that until you turn around you are (typically) only half-way to completing your hike--you must still get back to where you started from! (Exceptions are loop hikes.)
Check the weather forecast before you head out. Know the rules and regulations of the area.
The Leave No Trace Seven Principles
- Know the regulations and special concerns for the area you'll visit.
- Prepare for extreme weather, hazards, and emergencies.
- Schedule your trip to avoid times of high use.
- Visit in small groups when possible. Consider splitting larger groups into smaller groups.
- Repackage food to minimize waste.
- Use a map and compass to eliminate the use of marking paint, rock cairns or flagging.
- Durable surfaces include established trails and campsites, rock, gravel, dry grasses or snow.
- Protect riparian areas by camping at least 200 feet from lakes and streams.
- Good campsites are found, not made. Altering a site is not necessary.
- In popular areas:
- Concentrate use on existing trails and campsites.
- Walk single file in the middle of the trail, even when wet or muddy.
- Keep campsites small. Focus activity in areas where vegetation is absent.
- In pristine areas:
- Disperse use to prevent the creation of campsites and trails.
- Avoid places where impacts are just beginning.
- Pack it in, pack it out. Inspect your campsite and rest areas for trash or spilled foods. Pack out all trash, leftover food and litter.
- Deposit solid human waste in catholes dug 6 to 8 inches deep, at least 200 feet from water, camp and trails. Cover and disguise the cathole when finished.
- Pack out toilet paper and hygiene products.
- To wash yourself or your dishes, carry water 200 feet away from streams or lakes and use small amounts of biodegradable soap. Scatter strained dishwater.
- Preserve the past: examine, but do not touch cultural or historic structures and artifacts.
- Leave rocks, plants and other natural objects as you find them.
- Avoid introducing or transporting non-native species.
- Do not build structures, furniture, or dig trenches.
- Campfires can cause lasting impacts to the backcountry. Use a lightweight stove for cooking and enjoy a candle lantern for light.
- Where fires are permitted, use established fire rings, fire pans, or mound fires.
- Keep fires small. Only use sticks from the ground that can be broken by hand.
- Burn all wood and coals to ash, put out campfires completely, then scatter cool ashes.
- Observe wildlife from a distance. Do not follow or approach them.
- Never feed animals. Feeding wildlife damages their health, alters natural behaviors, and exposes them to predators and other dangers.
- Protect wildlife and your food by storing rations and trash securely.
- Control pets at all times, or leave them at home.
- Avoid wildlife during sensitive times: mating, nesting, raising young, or winter.
- Respect other visitors and protect the quality of their experience.
- Be courteous. Yield to other users on the trail.
- Step to the downhill side of the trail when encountering pack stock.
- Take breaks and camp away from trails and other visitors.
- Let nature's sounds prevail. Avoid loud voices and noises.
The Trail Conference is a 2015 Leave No Trace partner.
(c) Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics: www.LNT.org.