Round Valley State Park

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General Information

Round Valley State Park is mostly known for its enormous reservoir which is used for fishing and kayaking. But along the perimeter of the water is a strip of land which affords bikers the opportunity to test themselves on its unforgiving hills. On the back side the park butts up against Cushetunk Preserve, which adds a few miles and absurd climbs. In general Round Valley is not for the light of heart (or legs or lungs for that matter). It packs a wallop of a punch in the amount of climbing to be had. Round Valley used to be home to a mountain bike race many moons ago and still hosts the off-road King of the Hill Duathlon.

Google Map

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40.629377,-74.804466 Cushetunk Lot Not actually park of Round Valley. The backside way to get into the park. Free and always open. Directions

40.630109,-74.855368, Green Acres Lot This is outside the park, free, and it never closes. So this is good for the morning crowd. Directions

40.619425,-74.848287 Main Entrance Best place to park inside the park. Trail runs right up to the lot. In the summer you have to pay to get into the park, which opens at 8:00am. Directions

Details and Info

Miles: 16 or so in a standard out & back, only half of which are unique trails. If you do all the Cushetunk Preserve trails you probably get a dozen unique miles, but some of that isn't exactly ideal biking territory.
Difficulty: Advanced
Trails: Singletrack, Fire Road, Downhill
Surface: Dirt (hardpack, loose hardpack), Gravel
Obstacles: Trail Obstacles, Rock Garden
Special Features:
Detailed Overview: Primarily climbing, a few rock gardens, a few log piles on the far sections. Certainly tough on the legs and lungs. Sections include Switchback, Puke Hill, and the trail with the Troll Bridge. Seasonally you should check out the Eagle Trail just because it's usually closed.
Park Website: New Jersey DEP Parks & Forestry

Trails

Trail Name Blaze Distance Description
The Cushetunk None 9 miles Despite the name, this is the main loop inside the park, the meat of the Round Valley experience. This will give you Singletrack, Doubletrack, and Fire Road which runs on both Dirt and Gravel. The loop starts at the boat launch in the park and runs around the reservoir to the end of the Eagle Trail, which is closed Jan 1 through Aug 1 due to bald eagles nesting there. The main loop includes Switchback and Puke Hill.
Eagle Trail None 1 mile The Eagle Trail is not a trail as such but part of the Cushetunk Trail. It is opened only from Aug 1 through Jan 1 when the eagles are not nesting (in theory). It is a non-maintained Singletrack trail which adds a mile to your ride. Some non-built up logs were across the trail last time I was there (2008?) and it runs to the base of the hill where it goes precipitously up and over the ridge to Cushetunk Preserve.
The Camp Road None 3 miles The fire/camp road that gives access to the camping sites in the park.
Pine Tree Trail None 1 mile Light easy trail. Legality questionable?
Family Hiking and Biking Trail none .5 mile Family oriented, in the more populated part of the park.
White Trail White 1.5 miles Inside Cushetunk Preserve. This runs along the top of the ridge, still technically part of the park but on the border of Round Valley and Cushetunk Preserve. I "rode" this in early November 2009 and it's a lot of hike-a-bike, entirely not worth it. The trail starts at the powerline, goes up the hill, across the ridge, and back down the hill to the parking area.
Yellow Trail Yellow 3/4 mile Inside Cushetunk Preserve. This is a loop in the Cushetunk Preserve. Hilly and rocky, this runs across the base of the ridge and adds less than a mile of tough, but cleanable, riding. As expected, there is no lack of hills though the challenge here is the rocks and logs on the hillside as opposed to the hillside itself.
Blue Trail Blue 1 mile Inside Cushetunk Preserve. This is a new trail recently built in the Cushetunk Preserve, where the word "built" is used loosely. The trail consists of several hundred feet of new trail that connects to one of the many old quad trails that litter the mountain. The trails are the epitome of unsustainable, as they alternately blaze straight down or climb right up the side of the hill. Eventually you end up at the powerline.
The Hidden Trail Unmarked Unknown Come on, you didn't really expect to see an entire Round Valley page without at least one reference did you?

Routes

Round Valley Out-n-Back: GPS Link via rider Woody. This route starts from the Cushetunk Lot.
RV Full Loop w/Road Finish: GPS Link via rider Woody.
Round Valley (King of the Hill GPS Link via rider beaner. This route starts from the beach parking area.

Reviews

Don't go here if you're looking for an easy ride.
Take the red trail (Cushetunk) out of the parking lot by the lake and you'll immediately be in for some climbs. There's a little bit of interesting single track after you go into the first wooded area, you'll see a trail go off to the right, take it. If you stick on the gravely trail/fire road you'll be flying down a huge hill in a second. enjoy it while you can. about 2.5 miles into the trail you start a long, rocky climb that lasts over half a mile, maybe even close to a mile. There's a reason it's called "Puke Hill". When you get to the top the trail goes single track style, but it stays on the same ridge. not much interesting. a couple of longer downhill sections and lots of rocks.

Discussion, Events, and JORBA

Forum: MTBNJ discussion on Round Valley
JORBA Contact: Woody

Bike Shop(s) and Good Eats

Bike King
2002 State Route 31 North
Clinton, New Jersey
Cryan's Tavern
2 Beaver Ave
Clinton, NJ 08801
Fox and Hound Tavern
69 Main St
Lebanon, NJ 08833
Low Fat Chow
56 Payne Road
Lebanon, NJ 08833

Maps

Videos

Pictures