Know the New Hiking How-tos
Cheesequake State Park
- From the Garden State Parkway: Take Exit 120 (be sure to stay in the local lanes south of the Raritan Toll Plaza). Turn right at the end of the ramp (from either north- or south-bound) and continue to the first traffic light. Turn right at the light onto Morristown Road, and then turn right again at the next traffic light onto Gordon Road. Follow Gordon Road as it turns sharply left and continue ahead, past residential subdivisions on the left, into the park. You will pass a toll booth (an entrance fee is charged from Memorial Day weekend to Labor Day) and the park office. Continue for 0.1 mile beyond the toll booth, and park in the trailhead parking area on the left side of the road. GPS Coordinates: 40.435046, -74.263215 (300 Gordon Road, Matawan, NJ 07747).
- From Route 34 South: Make a left turn onto Disbrow Road, which is the light immediately south of the Marketplace Shopping Plaza. Make a right at the end of Disbrow Road. Make a left at the first light and follow into the Park.
- From Route 34 North: Make a right turn onto Disbrow Road, which is the light immediately north of the Berg Animal Hospital. Make a right at the end of Disbrow Road. Make a left at the first light and follow into the Park.
The uniqueness of this park lies in its geographical location in a transitional zone between two different ecosystems. In its 386-acre Natural Area one can see a diversity of plant species and community types characteristic of both northern and southern New Jersey.
Cheesequake State Park has four marked loop trails for hiking only. Click for trail map.
- The 2.0-mile Blue Trail crosses a salt marsh on a long boardwalk, runs along Perrine Pond, and returns to the start along several roads.
- The 3.0-mile Green Trail is the longest and most varied trail in the park. It leads through a designated Natural Area, with pitch pines, a hardwood forest, a freshwater marsh and an Atlantic white cedar swamp.
- The 1.3-mile Red Trail is a shortened version of the Green Trail, suitable for easier hikes.
- The 0.7-mile Yellow Trail is a short loop trail marked with signposts that identify a number of interesting features along the trail.
In addition a wiggly, 2.7-mile white-blazed multi-use trail is open to hikers, bicyclists and cross country skiers. It has several acrobatic hike jumps along the way, with pedestrian bypasses.
The NJ DEP has prepared a very help Step by Step Trails Guide for each of the park's hiking trails.
A portion of the park is ADA accessible near the Family Campground parking area.
Want to view a hike in the park? Click here.
This park is a botanical preserve comprised mostly of salt marsh, pine barrens and mixed oak forest. A Nature Center, located a short distance from the trailhead parking area on the Red/Green/Blue Trail, offers informative exhibits, providing the public with an educational journey through the park's ecosystems. The building has a small auditorium as well as a covered front deck that makes a wonderful spot to birdwatch. Check its website for a calendar of events, or call for details at (732) 566-3208.