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“Hike above the NJ coast overlooking the Navesink and Shrewsbury Rivers, then back into old poplar woods,”
— Charles Behnken
Interesting hike on the site of an old WWII gun battery overlooking the entrance to NY Harbor. There are two sections to this park - the Rocky point section overlooking the Atlantic and the Navesink and Shrewsbury rivers, and the Laurel Ridge/Grand Tour section which goes into the woods with some massive poplar trees. Which ever trail you take make sure to check out the gun batteries.
Features: Fall Colors — River/Creek
Need to Know
Trails are not blazed. Generally the trails are marked at intersections, but make sure you have a map or you could end up going in circles.
Starting at the Rocky Point parking lot.
1. From the lot head northeast to the black diamond marked trail (past the road). This is the Rocky Point trail.
2. Follow the Rocky Point trail around the point in a clockwise direction. You'll pass several overlooks – make sure to visit Black Fish Cove.
3. Eventually Rocky Point trail comes to an intersection with a road and 6 trails. Proceed across the road and take the trail to the left. This is the Grand Tour loop.
4. Follow the Grand Tour Loop until it splits. Take the right trail to the east. This will eventually rejoin the left trail where you should head west.
5. The Grand Tour loop will cross a gravel road – the Cuesta Ridge trail. Continue on the Grand Loop trail, eventually crossing another road. Eventually you'll come back to a gravel road intersection with the Cuesta Ridge and Laurel Ridge trails. Take the Laurel Ridge trail to the right / west.
6. The Laurel Ridge trail will eventually come to the Buttermilk Valley entrance (good spot for lunch). Continue on the Laurel Ridge trail heading south. Note there are several trails here – do not take the Candlestick or Kings Hollow trails. You must walk past them towards the Port-o-Johns to find the Laurel Ridge trail.
7. Continue on the Laurel Ridge trail. Ignore the overlook trail (too many trees). After a good while, you'll come back to the Grand Tour trail on our right – take it.
8. Ignore the road to the maintenance area and stay on the Grand Tour, which will come to another 3-way intersection. Take the right hand trail to the south east
9. Eventually you'll come back to the intersection seen previously. Turn right heading east. You were on this trail before. It will take you to the 6-way intersection.
10. Take the paved road east back to the parking lot.
11. Optionally from the parking lot take one of the paved battery loops – Lewis battery is the shortest/ Battery loop the longest. They will take you back to the parking lot.
Flora & Fauna
Laurel Ridge and Grand Tour trails go through forests of massive poplar trees as well as holly and mountain laurel forests. Additionally there is a section of the trail where vines have covered the trees and underbrush, making you think you are not in NJ
History & Background
Site of WWII gun batteries for protecting NY harbor.