Sourlands Mountain Preserve
From mtbNJ.com Wiki
- Sourlands, presumably in some ancient language, means "rocks, and lots of 'em". This 3,197 acre plot of land is county owned and administered by the Somerset County Park Commission and covered on the JORBA front by Jeff, who apparently likes to spend his free time moving rocks from random disarray into rideable or huckable formations. Newbies take heed, it is nothing like Six Mile Run just minutes down the road. Carbon Salsa bars beware!
40.473836,-74.694371 East Mountain Road Entrance The only place to start. Don't go CCW out of the lot. Directions
Details and Info
- Miles: Let's say 10, but again these are not your fast Six Mile Run miles. I'm sure a full loop would now be a good 12+ but that's not all unique trail.
- Difficulty: Advanced, Expert
- Trails: Singletrack, Downhill
- Surface: Dirt (hardpack, mud)
- Obstacles: Drops, Trail Obstacles, Rock Garden
- Special Features: Boardwalks, Bridges
- Detailed Overview: Rocks are the main course of the day here. Some boardwalks as the boy scouts love to build them. Even though it is on a hill there are some lower level trails that do not drain well. Do not bring your carbon bike here.
- Park Website: Somerset County Parks
Trail Name Blaze Distance Description Three Amigos Red Square 1.3 miles Singletrack - The newest addition to the park, this trail starts at Roaring Rocks, runs along the ridge and ends on the gas pipeline. There is very little elevation gain/loss on 3 Amigos, but the natural rock features that were incorporated into the trail make it a very challenging trail for intermediate/experts. Boulderama White Square 2 miles Singletrack - This trail runs between posts #4 & #1 on the park trail map. The best flow is from #4 to #1. There are rocks the size of fists, basketballs, and small cars along Boulderama. Dense rock gardens will test your technical skills, and there are plenty of opportunities to jump, huck and otherwise get air under your tires. Boulderama is the main trail that most hikers take right out of the parking lot, so be prepared to yield the right of way.
- This is a very unique and special place in central NJ. There is really nothing quite like the Sourlands in this area. The trails here are rocky and technical, and a positive attitude goes a long way in preventing frustration from consuming your ride. I always advise newcomers to bring some basic pads for knees and elbows. You may very well not need them but you are less likely to walk the technical sections if you have them on. Also, first timers are advised to ride the trail network clockwise (looking at the mountain from the parking lot). This route gives you a reasonable warm-up before climbing up to the ridge. I also recommend that you ride here initially with someone who is familiar with the park if possible. Not that you will get lost, but many of the best lines through the rock gardens are not obvious until you see someone clean it first.
- A good basic loop that covers most of the park highlights is about 8 miles long, but will feel like much more. Start from the parking lot and head towards the #13 post near the pond. After a few hundred feet, go left at Post #12. Continue across the gas pipeline easement and several boardwalks over the wetlands. The trail comes to a T intersection at Post #10; go left here. The trail is blazed with white squares. Follow the trail until you reach a 4-way intersection at Post #9. Make a right turn here onto a trail blazed with "C". This is a gentle climb up to Post #8. At this point, cross through the chain link fence and pick up the Red blaze trail (round & square). Pass by Post #7 and continue the climb up to Roaring Rocks. Just past Roaring Rocks, the square red trail goes towards the left and the round red trail continues straight. Take the left onto the square red trail - You are now on '3 Amigos'. This trail weaves its way through the boulder fields along the upper ridge for about 1.3 miles and eventually ends at the gas pipeline. If you're pressed for time, you can make a right down the pipeline, but I recommend turning around and riding 3 Amigos back to Roaring Rocks. The trail has a very different flow in each direction and has plenty of challenges to keep it from getting boring.
- Once you reach the end of 3 Amigos, go left and continue to follow the round red blazes. The trail eventually brings you to another opening in the chain link fence by post #6. Pick up the white blazed trail here and vear towards the left. This section has some incredible rock gardens. Follow until the trail crosses the gas pipeline. Make a right on the pipeline trail and a quick left back onto the singletrack by Post #5. You are still on the white blazed trail and will remain on white all the way back to the lot. When you reach post #4, make a left onto 'Boulderama'. This trail is one of the highlights of the park. Lots of big rollers, rock bridges, and hucking opportunities. After about 1.5 miles, the trail starts to head downhill through some very technical terrain. On a nice weekend day, you will no doubt encounter hikers in this section, so be prepared to yield the trail. Boulderama dumps you out at Post #1. Continue straight on the white trail and you are back in the parking lot.
- - Jeff
Discussion, Events, and JORBA
- Events: JORBA events
- Info: Somerset County Parks at JORBA.org
- Forums: Forums
- Contacts: Jeff
- TM Sessions: All Sessions List