Rutgers Ecological Preserve Conditions

FitmanNJ

Well-Known Member
#1
There's been an increase in trail maintenance at the Rutgers Ecological Preserve in the last couple of years. As part of these efforts, several sections of trail have been covered with a thin layer of woodchips or fine gravel to, among other things, reduce the mudiness after rains and the melting of snow. I couldn't remember the extent of this coverage, so I went there today hoping that I might be pleasantly surprised at the conditions.

Unfortunately, I found that the areas receiving "anti-mud" treatment are rather limited. The trails are very moist in some spots, and "OK" in other spots where leaves have absorbed some of the moisture. In the softest of the spots, my fatbike tires had (barely) enough "float" to avoid unacceptable trail damage, but it's still probably not a good idea to ride Rutgers in conditions like we have currently, especially with narrow tires.

So, in my judgment at least, Round Valley continues to be the most durable trail system in Central Jersey after rains, snows, and freeze-thaw cycles.
 

Rdoonz

Well-Known Member
#4
The trails were in good shape today. The ground was frozen pretty solid with a light covering of snow.

That being said, last weeks storms wreaked havoc on this place. Tons of trees down everywhere. Fortunately, most of the downed trees are off the trail. I only came across 3 trees on the trails that I couldn't ride over. One on a section of the orange trail in the north part of the preserve, where it splits the "green diamond". There were also two pretty sizable downed trees across the trail about 100 feet apart on the section of green trail that makes the west half of the green diamond.
 

FitmanNJ

Well-Known Member
#8
Rutgers Eco Center has a lot of standing water at this time -- and several downed trees. Fortunately, the dirt below the puddles is pretty firm, so carefully riding through them doesn't cause ruts. On the other hand, if you're riding without fenders (and with any speed), you're going to get a faceful of water in a lot of spots. So, Rutgers is rideable, but it's flow-jo is suffering...:(
 

qclabrat

Well-Known Member
#13
What I like to do is park in Bound Brook, hop on the canal path, do some loops in REP, grab a bite in NB then head back to BB. On the way back on the canal, I sometimes stop for a beverage break. Great way to spend the day in the fall and winter. Can get about 20-25 miles
 

FitmanNJ

Well-Known Member
#14
Maybe 3-4 miles if you hit everything 1 time. Here’s a good map https://www.njhiking.com/nj-hiking-maps/rutgers-ecological-preserve-trail-map.pdf

Again nothing super exciting there, just a really good spot for beginner to dip their toes into single track, roots, bridges, etc. that is not intimidating.
If you hit everything on the linked map, I think the mileage can grow to 6-7 miles. The southern half of the Blue trail, however, has a couple of ravines that aren't very beginner-friendly (unlike the remainder of the trails). The extra mileage, though, may make it worth the trip to get there for some. I park in the Johnson Park lot that's closest to the trailhead at the intersection of River Road and Cedar Lane, which makes it easy to do the full enchilada...
 

pygmypony

Well-Known Member
#17
If you hit everything on the linked map, I think the mileage can grow to 6-7 miles. The southern half of the Blue trail, however, has a couple of ravines that aren't very beginner-friendly (unlike the remainder of the trails). The extra mileage, though, may make it worth the trip to get there for some. I park in the Johnson Park lot that's closest to the trailhead at the intersection of River Road and Cedar Lane, which makes it easy to do the full enchilada...
...and yes, that ravine is intense...it's not clearable unless you are an alien... or @jimvreeland

http://www.mtbnj.com/forum/threads/...nth-of-july-win-100.44921/page-14#post-800755
 

CrankAddictRich

Well-Known Member
#20
still no one taking credit for the new trail?! regardless, moochas gracias to whoever did it!
I was there last weekend with my son and we met a Rutgers student that was working on one of the bridges. He said the school built the trail and had an official opening for it 3 weeks ago. It was my sons first time on some legit trails. Previously the most off-road he's been has been the D&R canal and a rail trail in PA. He loved it.



I agree totally with Jim... for the most part, its very beginner friendly. Jim suggested it to me for my first trails two years ago. There are a few sections that are very tech... i.e. the big climb by the ravine. Basically, I'd say all of the hardest stuff is on the blue trail. The new trail has a tight little section at the farthest point.