This hike loops around the southern end of Allaire State Park. It follows sandy roads and footpaths through a mixed forest of deciduous and pine trees. Although it offers no panoramic viewpoints or other features of special interest, it does provide the opportunity for an easy, pleasant walk through an attractive forest on the northern fringe of the Pinelands. The entire hike is relatively...
This hike loops around the southern end of Allaire State Park. It follows sandy roads and footpaths through a mixed forest of deciduous and pine trees. Although it offers no panoramic viewpoints or other features of special interest, it does provide the opportunity for an easy, pleasant walk through an attractive forest on the northern fringe of the Pinelands. The entire hike is relatively level, with the difference in elevation between the highest and lowest points on the hike only about 70 feet. Although the park map indicates that some of the trails are "challenging," this comment is applicable primarily to bicyclists.
The trails used on this hike are open to hikers, joggers, bicyclists and equestrians. For the most part, the trail blazes are on narrow brown wands. Park regulations provide that bicyclists must yield to other trail users, but hikers should be alert for bicycles approaching at a high rate of speed on narrow trails. Hikers must yield to equestrians.
The hike begins at the kiosk at the western end of the parking area. Follow the Orange Trail, which begins here and heads west, parallel to Hospital Road. The trail soon crosses a gravel road and reaches a fork. Bear left at the fork to follow the Orange Trail in a counter-clockwise direction. The trail passes through a forest of pines, holly trees and mountain laurel and soon bears right, away from Hospital Road.
After passing through some dense mountain laurel, you'll come to a fork. The trail bears left here, then immediately right, but as of this writing, the trail marking is not entirely clear, so hikers should take care to follow the orange blazes.
The trail continues through a dense stand of pines and reaches a wide sandy road. Here, the orange blazes turn left, but you should turn right onto the road. Bear right at a fork In the road and continue heading to the right, following the wide road (which is slightly overgrown at one point). In a short distance, you'll come to a patch of asphalt (indicating that the road was once paved). Just beyond, you will see a blue ribbon hanging from a tree. This marks the start of the Blue Trail. Turn left and follow the Blue Trail into the woods.
Soon, you'll pass an abandoned gravel pit, now being reclaimed by pine trees, to the left. There are many intersecting side trails in the area, but you should proceed ahead, following the orange markers. At the end of the gravel pit, a short detour to the left leads to a nice viewpoint over the abandoned pit.
Continue ahead on the Blue Trail through a dense understory of blueberry bushes, which leads into a stand of mountain laurel. After proceeding through a pine forest, you'll reach a T-intersection, with paved Squankum Road visible ahead. Turn right here, now following both Blue and Orange Trails.
At the next four-way intersection, turn right to continue along the Blue Trail. Turn left at the following four-way intersection to remain on the Blue Trail. Then, at the third four-way intersection, you should turn right, again following both Blue and Orange Trails.
When you reach the fourth consecutive four-way intersection, the Blue and Orange Trails diverge. Here, you should turn left to continue on the Orange Trail, which you will be following for the rest of the hike.
The trail soon emerges at a clearing for power lines. Be careful to follow the markers here, as the trail does not cross the power lines, but skirts them to the right. A short detour to the left leads to a viewpoint in both directions along the power lines.
Follow the Orange Trail, which descends rather steeply on a deeply eroded road and continues along a wide, sandy road. Proceeding through a stand of pines, the trail soon crosses a sandy road and begins to parallel another sandy road, which is visible to the left. To the right, you can see the edge of an escarpment, which you will soon climb.
After paralleling the road for about a third of a mile, the trail bears right, away from the road, and begins a very gentle climb of the escarpment on a series of long, winding switchbacks (designed to ease the grade for bicyclists). You'll cross the original trail, which has been obliterated, several times during the course of the gradual ascent. At the top of the climb, the trail bears left at a four-way intersection and continues through a dense thicket of mountain laurel.
At the base of a short descent, the White Trail joins from the right. Continue ahead, now following both orange and white blazes. A short distance beyond, the trails bear left, leaving the sandy road that they have been following, and continue on a winding footpath. After a while, they rejoin the road and bear left.
At a four-way intersection, the Orange and White Trails turn sharply right. This turn is marked by an orange plastic marker on a tree, rather than the brown wands that have been used up to this point. You'll now traverse some deeply eroded trail sections, and in several places, the mountain laurel forms a dense canopy overhead.
After crossing a wide gravel road (where the White Trail ends), the Orange Trail bears left and begins to parallel the road. Soon, you'll reach a T-intersection, which marks the start of the loop of the Orange Trail. Turn left and follow the orange markers back to the parking area where the hike began.Publication: Submitted by Daniel Chazin on 11/17/2006
This loop hike circles the southern area of the park, proceeding through a Pinelands forest and passing an abandoned gravel pit that is beginning to return to its natural state.
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.
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