This hike goes off of the standard red/green/blue/yellow trails offered by the park and gets into the back areas of the park including the site of steamboat landing. It utilizes the existing trails and the park sand roads to make a hike of almost 6 miles
Features: Birding — Fall Colors — Lake — River/Creek — Swimming — Wildflowers
At the time of this hike the Crabbing bridge and the dam were both being repaired which required some adjustment. Check park website for latest status of the work,
Hike starts at the trailhead parking lot down the road from the park office.
1. Ignore sign for trailhead start. Instead head to the east/left to road to Group camping area and find the Green trail blazes
2. Continue down the road, eventually the Green trail will head into the woods near the camp ground.
3. After a good while and passing houses on the left, the Green trail will cross a dirt road – Museum Rd.
4. At this point, take Museum Rd west (left) and look for an unmarked trail on your left. It will be shortly after the road turns right and to the north.
5. Follow the unmarked trail west to another road – Dock Rd. Dock Road
will be near houses. You may have to look for the trail as it disappears every so often. Find a good place to climb down the embankment to Dock Rd.
6. Turn right/north and follow Dock Rd to Steamboat Landing (note Dock Rd will join Museum Rd). You can either continue down Dock Rd to Steamboat landing (the end), or take an unmarked trail to the left (at Museum Rd) and over the hill to the end – in this case find a good route down the hillside.
7. From Steamboat Landing head east, back to the intersection with Museum Rd, and take Museum Rd back to the intersection with the Green trail. Continue north/left on the Green trail
8. Again look to your left at the top of a hill for a well-used, unmarked trail (if you miss this continue on to the intersection with the Blue trail and head west/left)
9. Take the unmarked trail to the Blue trail. Go to the left, but follow the Blue trail into the woods around the pond and past the bird blind
10. Continue on the Blue Trail
until you come to the road. Turn left on the road
11. Follow the road across Crabbing Bridge to Hooks lake. Check out the viewing station opposite the Bathhouse to see the Osprey nest, and the Parkway in the distance
12. After checking out Hooks lake, head to the picnic area on the left of Hooks lake (walk down gravel road past the beach). There are restrooms at the picnic area. Stop here for lunch.
13. After lunch head back towards the beach until you see the trail at the lake edge. Turn left on the trail (away from the beach) and follow it clockwise around the lake.
14. Eventually you'll intersect with the Yellow trail on the dam by some stairs. Take either fork (right fork is recommended). Continue on the Yellow trail which will take you back to the parking lot.
Some very old oak trees. There is a 150 year old oak on the trail that fell in Superstorm Sandy in 2012.
Forest also has pitch pine and cedar. The trail passes salt marshes full of saw grass.
Osprey nests are located on Cheesequake creek with view spot on the trail
The featured hike takes you to Steamboat Landing which consists of a few pilings. In the 1800's steamboats used to tie up there to bring goods to Matawan area and to take the clay mined in the area.