Changes of scenery abound along Henry Hudson Trail

Staff Writer

 Sandy Hook Bay Sandy Hook Bay Driving through the Bayshore region of Monmouth County, a paved trail runs parallel to the road, sometimes disappearing behind a grove of trees before reappearing a few miles down the path in another town. This is the scenic Henry Hudson Trail.

A former railroad right of way, the 24- mile multiuse path runs from Freehold to the Highlands, bringing a different experience for everyone who traverses it.

“It gives bikers and walkers a number of different options of trail for whatever their interests may be,” said Andrew Spears, superintendent of the Monmouth County Park System. “Some people use it for exercise, some use it for wildlife observation, and some use it for transportation to walk or bike to their jobs or school.”

Whether traveling the entire length or simply enjoying a small stretch, the trail passes through a variety of habitats and provides a change of scenery around every bend. “There are some sections in the Bayshore region where you have views of the tidal creeks and marshes. And in western portions of Marlboro and Freehold, you have the wooded sections,” Spears said, adding that the path also runs beside portions of the Raritan Bay estuary and Sandy Hook Bay.

 Atlantic Highlands Harbor Atlantic Highlands Harbor The trail is divided into two 12-mile sections, with the northern stretch running parallel to Route 36 from the Aberdeen- Keyport border at the intersection of Lloyd Road and Clark Street to the Leonardo section of the Middletown-Atlantic Highlands border at Avenue D, which is also the location of the Henry Hudson Trail Activity Center.

After sharing the road, the trail resumes at the Atlantic Highlands Marina and continues along Sandy Hook Bay to Popamora Point on the Atlantic Highlands-Highlands border.

Another section of the trail runs 4 miles from Route 537 in Freehold Township to Big Brook Park in Marlboro. The trail then resumes at Station Road in Marlboro and continues for 5 miles to Church Street in Matawan.

 Trail along Popamora Point Trail along Popamora Point Spears said the park system is planning to connect the missing links in this section of the trail, as well as to connect it to the northern stretch. Despite the gaps, Spears said, the Henry Hudson Trail differs from other parks in the county because it provides a unique opportunity to travel through the Bayshore neighborhood.

“It’s just a convenient way to make it part of your daily or weekly routine for exercise,” he said. “It’s a pleasant, safe way to exercise.”

Visitors can access the trail at a number of points along the way: Dutch Lane Road, Freehold; Newman Springs Road, Marlboro; Church Street, Matawan; Gerard Avenue, Matawan; Wilson Avenue, Union Beach; Alberta Avenue, North Middletown; and Route 36, Highlands.

 Homes overlooking the Atlantic Highlands Harbor Homes overlooking the Atlantic Highlands Harbor