New Jersey can boast about its mountain bike trails as this geographically small state has more than 60 public facilities that cater to mountain bike enthusiasts. Among the most popular listed by "Dirt World" are Allaire State Park, Hartshorne Woods, Round Valley, Mountain Creek, Chimney Rock and Cannon Ball Trail. For those who are looking for more atypical bike digs, however, New Jersey has a few less-travelled treasures.
Bald Pate Mountain
Bald Pate Mountain is along the Delaware River where George Washington' troops made their famous winter crossing. Enclosed by Washington Crossing State Park, Bald Pate features mountain bike trails, but also an opportunity for bikers to stop at the historical sites, catch a performance at the open-air theater, observe wildlife from the observation blinds and even catch a few fish out of the Delaware River.
Alexandria Pump Track
A pump track is loop of rollers and in-slopes, much like a motocross track. The Alexandria Pump Track opened in August 2011 at Alexandria Park in Alexandria, New Jersey. Supervised by the Jersey Off-Road Bicycle Association, the track can be used by kids and adults, novices and experienced riders. The pump track was designed using guidelines from the International Mountain Biking Association, and it is a new opportunity for New Jersey bikers to develop skills and get plenty of exercise.
New Jersey, contrary to popular belief, has some backcountry. One example is just outside Vernon Township in northern New Jersey, at the sprawling 16,679-acre Wawayanda State Park, situated atop the Appalachian Trail. Bikers are not allowed on the Appalachian Trail, but there are several other bike-accessible trails around the park's main feature, the scenic Wawayanda Lake -- resting in the shadow of the regal Wawayanda Mountain. Bring your fishing pole and your binoculars.
If you drive west on Interstate 80 out of Newark, you will go through the urban concrete jungle, then pass through the suburban sprawl of Parsipanny-Troy Hills. A few miles further, just past the town of Denville, there is an exit for Green Pond Road. Take that north to Hibernia, and park there. The locals will tell you where the trail is that leads up the mountain into Wildcat Ridge Wildlife Management Area. That trail ends about two miles up the mountain at Upper Hibernia Road. Rest and have a lunch. You can relax knowing that the way back is almost all downhill.
Just south of Philadelphia, along Highway 55 near Mantua, is a 200-acre nature preserve named Ceres Park. The Jersey Off-Road Bicycle Association has managed to carve out an maintain a 10-mile bike loop there. The association even built a bridge. Ceres Park is a premier birding preserve, so this is an excellent place for those bikers who also enjoy birding as an avocation. Ovenbrids, several woodpeckers and hummingbirds are spotted frequently.
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