A walk in the woods, near Princeton

There are so many places to go walking near Princeton, New Jersey! These are some of the ones we have been to with our Little M, in no particular order.

For all of these places we found that it was important to bring bug spray and to wear long pants. In all of these places (as far as we know) you can get ticks if you are not careful. There is also poison ivy  growing wild, so it is recommended to stay inside the trails.

  • Institute Woods and Charles H. Rogers Wildlife Refuge.

A map and brochure found here.

Beautiful woods in the heart of Princeton! There are many (unpaved) trails that are easy to navigate. We have taken the stroller here and it was ok for the most part, easier than carrying our little one when she didn’t want to walk anymore. Some trails are wide, others are more narrow, specially in the Wildlife Refuge.

It is an amazing place to hear and try to spot birds, specially in the spring. In the late winter we saw many deer. The wildlife refuge has some viewing platforms overlooking the marsh. It’s beautiful and we couldn’t  believe we were minutes away from Princeton.

institute woods
The naked trees of the Institute Woods in early spring.
With a group of birders, learning about the spring migration of warblers in the Charles H. Rogers Wildlife Refuge 🙂

  • Delaware & Raritan Canal trail (D&R)

This canal was built to link the Delaware and the Raritan rivers, and to bring coal from Philadelphia to New York in the 19th century. Now it has been transformed into a park and recreational corridor, stretching from New Brunswick to Trenton, and up bordering the Delaware river to Milford and Frenchtown.

A map of the whole canal trail is found here. A history of the canal can be found here.

The trail is a dirt path. We have walked the canal near Princeton and  Kingston and it has been very easy with a stroller. There are  many people on bikes, on leisurely walks with their dogs, and running. It is flat and long, bordered by woods and the flowing canal. On numerous parts it is only a narrow corridor bordered by water on both sides. There are many birds, squirrels, chipmunks and turtles. We have also seen deer, a red fox and what looked like an otter (?). There are a number of places where you can park your car and reach the trail.

The path looks very different in winter
  • Six Miles Run Reservoir 

This park has 3 trails. We only walked on the blue trail. It’s a winding dirt path that starts on an open field and then passes through the woods. We had the stroller and it was somewhat manageable but required strong arms to go over the many roots of the trees. The majority of other people on the trail were on bikes. It was a nice walk under the trees surrounded by bird noises. This is a map of the trails: map.

Little M and her Abuela hiking in the Six Miles Run Reservoir

  • Rosedale Park at the Mercer Meadows

We went to this park not for the trails but for the playground. Little M loved it and my mom and brother who were visiting had to play a long time (time off for me!). We also walked for a short while on the trail by the lake and really wanted to walk more but  our little one demanded going back to the playground. We would love to go back to this trails, specially the ones through the meadows. They seem really interesting. A map of the trails around this area: here.

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