Know the New Hiking How-tos
Six Mile Run in Somerset, New Jersey
Directions to trailhead
Take I287 N to exit 10. Merge onto County Route 527 S/Easton Ave toward New Brunswick/NJ-52 for .6 mi. Make a slight right onto County Route 527 S for .3 mi. Turn right onto Cedar Grove Ln for 3.1 mi. Continue onto Amwell Rd. for .5 mi. Turn left onto Van Cleef Rd fir 1.5 mi. Turn right onto Blackwell Rd/Blackwells Mills Rd for .7 mi. Take the 1st left onto Canal Rd for 341 ft. Turn left to your destination.
NOTE: The trail system at Six Mile Run was substantially revised in 2009. The Yellow Trail has been abandoned, and the trailhead of the Red Trail has been relocated to the parking area on Jacques Lane. It is therefore no longer possible to follow the loop hike described below. For updated information on trails in this park, see the website for the Delaware & Raritan Canal State Park, www.dandrcanal.com
From the parking area, proceed south along Canal Road, passing the historic Blackwell House. After crossing a bridge over the Six Mile Run, a sign on the left marks the start of the red trail. Turn left onto this trail, which follows a footpath through a narrow strip of forested land along the bank above the stream. The Six Mile Run is to the left, and cultivated fields are to the right.
After walking along this pleasant footpath for about two-thirds of a mile, you'll join a grassy road that comes in from the right. Soon, the road bends to the right, but you should continue ahead, following a footpath. Almost immediately, the trail bears left, joining another grassy road.
A short distance beyond, as the grassy road bends to the right, the red trail turns sharply left, leaving the road, and continues on a footpath. The trail crosses a tributary stream on broken concrete slabs and continues to run parallel to the Six Mile Run, but some distance away from the stream.
In about a third of a mile, you'll come to a junction, with a large signpost to the left for the red and blue trails. The unmarked path straight ahead leads out to County 615, but you should turn sharply left and continue on the blue trail, which heads down to the Six Mile Run and crosses it on large rocks. Although the crossing is not difficult under ordinary conditions, the rocks may be under water after heavy rains. If you don't feel comfortable about crossing the stream here, you can return to the start by retracing your steps on the red trail.
After crossing a tributary stream on a wooden bridge, you'll come to a junction, where you should bear right. The trails in this area are somewhat confusing, as several shortcuts have been created. To follow the most attractive route, bear right at the following junction, follow the trail as it loops back to the left, and continue ahead when a side trail goes off to the left. When you reach the next junction, bear right to continue on the blue trail (even though there is a blue wand just to the left).
After crossing another wooden bridge, the trail continues through open fields. Soon, you'll come to an intersection where blue markers point both ahead and left. Turn left here and follow a grassy road through overgrown fields, then turn left at the next T-intersection. You are now paralleling a cultivated field, to the right.
In about a third of a mile, a footpath marked with a blue wand goes off to the left. Turn left here, then immediately turn right to continue on the blue trail. After crossing a wooden bridge, you'll again come out onto cultivated fields, and you should bear left and continue along the fields.
A short distance ahead, you'll notice a signpost with a blue arrow on the left, with a footpath leading left. Turn left onto this footpath, which is the start of the yellow trail. (Although no yellow blazes are visible at the trailhead, you'll see yellow wands as you proceed along the trail.) The yellow trail parallels the Six Mile Run on its north bank, and it is lower in elevation than the red trail which you followed along the south bank. Thus, it may be muddy, and sections may be flooded, following heavy rains.
You'll notice a wooden boardwalk that branches to the right, but you should continue ahead on the yellow trail, following the stream. Eventually, you'll emerge onto open fields. When you reach a fork, bear left. After briefly following the Six Mile Run, the trail curves to the right, with the historic stone arch bridge of Canal Road visible to the left. Continue ahead to the Blackwell House and the parking area where the hike began.
CANOEING: After completing the hike, you might want to rent a canoe from Griggstown Canoe Rental, 1076 Canal Road, Griggstown, NJ 08540 (about 3.5 miles south on Canal Road from Six Mile Run), and enjoy an hour or two canoeing along the peaceful Delaware and Raritan Canal. (908) 359-5970.