Distance: 6.8 miles
Time: 3 hours 10 minutes
Map: FREC Map The map on the website isn't 100% accurate. This park is included in the NJ Pocket Ranger app, but the map is not included on the app. There is a map at the kiosk in the parking area, which does show one of the differences in the beginning of the hike (the yellow offshoot trail).
Parking: GPS Coordinates 40.082913, -74.328559, Pine Acres Drive, Jackson, NJ. The street looks like more of a driveway off of the road. There is room for around 4 cars. The trail starts at the end of the very short road. On the map, the parking area is shown as the yellow rectangle off of Bowman Road.
Restrooms: Porta Potty on trail near nursery, about halfway through the hike. Maybe at FREC building?
Post hike dinner: Via Roma (ask for separate vegan/vegetarian menu). They also have gluten free. Busy place.
Directions: Gone Hikin Blog We studied the directions from the blog & compared them to the map. We couldn't figure them out. However, we followed the directions (ignored the map), and we had no problems at all. Not all of the trail signs matched the map. For example, there is a yellow offshoot loop trail near the beginning, not marked on the map. We printed the map on 8 1/2 x 11, in color, but it really needed to be enlarged to see the details better. Also, turns are indicated by 3 blazes not 2. This didn't make sense to us at first, because 3 blazes usually indicates a trailhead, and 2 blazes a turn.
Notes: It was a cold windy day. The pines didn't provide much protection from the wind. We only saw a couple of other hikers today. I'm guessing you'd meet a lot more people in the summer. The area around the FREC has lot of informational kiosks - it looks like a place where they might offer outdoor/environmental education for kids. This hike was FLAT! It just doesn't get much flatter than this. There was around an inch of snow, and hiking was easy. We did see cross country ski tracks - I guess this would be a great place to ski for beginners.
There are 2 paved street crossings (Don Connor Blvd both times). Otherwise, not too bad. We did see a truck driving down the FREC driveway (twice). And the bridge mentioned in the directions is a gravel road (no sign of cars though, and it was snow covered).
Year to date miles: 17.4
|Parking area. There was only 1 other person here when we arrived, and he was just leaving.|
|Map at kiosk. This doens't match the online map. Not sure what the duct tape represents. But we kept to the left on the yellow trail.|
|Area near the FREC and nursery.|
|There were a lot of turns on this hike. We had to check the directions regularly. Trek is bored.|
|FREC building in the background.|
|Short loop trail.|
|Next to the nursery.|
|We managed to stay plenty warm except for our faces.|
|No bees today.|
|We cross a bridge over the Toms River twice.|