A Total of about 9 miles of trails - see overview for exact names and distances for each trail.
Walking time depends on pace. Walks can be combined from 30 minutes to two hours.
Mountain Lakes trails (including Stuart and Coventry trails)- blue markers, John Witherspoon Woods - yellow markers, Community Park North - orange markers, Tusculum - green markers. Many trails also have white blazes. See the map at the main trailhead halfway down driveway.
|Walking/Hiking, Dogs permitted on leash, Mountain biking|
|Elevation:||Mostly flat terrain: from 100 to 280 feet|
Generally easy. Several small stream crossings on rocks. A few steep banks, downed trees, tree roots, and one difficult segment through a boulder field.
General parking at Community Park North parking lot. New signage is helpful to determine your route.
NEW PARKING LOT: With the help of Friends of Princeton Open Space, the Township of Princeton has acquired an acre of land off Cherry Hill Road, and constructed a small parking lot for access to the hiking trails in John Witherspoon Woods and beyond. The crushed stone lot (opened in October 2007) has room for about six cars. A trail runs from the lot for about 0.2 mile to the loop trail in JW Woods (see map). After running northwest for 60 yards, it enters an area with large boulders and turns west, and then southwest, as it drops downhill to the loop. The new lot and trail offer a very scenic alternative to the other approaches to the park.
Princeton Township owns the major portion of this preserve, while Friends of Princeton Open Space does much of the trail maintenance.
Through a subsidiary, Mountain Lakes Holding Corporation, it maintains the house, which is available for weddings and other functions. Call 609-924-8720 Tuesday through Friday for more information. Or check the website: Princeton Township.
There are picnic areas for public use in Community Park North. Fishing is permitted.
Walking, hiking and cross country skiing are permitted. Mountain biking on designated trails only.Dogs permitted on leash.Please clean up after your pets.
Scattered benches overlooking lake.
NOTE: Beginning July 1, 2010 for an indefinite period of up to a year, certain trails will be closed due to the construction of new dams and dredging of the lakes. In particular, the main driveway and any trail segments connecting with it will be closed to allow for the passage of heavy trucks and other equipment. However, many trails around the periphery will remain open, including all the trails in Tusculum and John Witherspoon Woods. All access points to the area will remain open with the exception of the driveway, which will be replaced by a new trail somewhat to the west that enters from Mountain Ave.
There are many damaged/fallen trees due to the severe thunder storms this past spring. Several trails are impassable and it may take some time to remove fallen trees and branches from pathways.
The Greater Mountain Lakes Open Space Area, a “central park” in Princeton, consists of some 400 acres just north of the center of town,most of it open to the public. It has a wide variety of hiking and biking trails, some connecting to other trails outside of the area described here. Along with views of Tusculum, the estate built by John Witherspoon, and historic Coventry Farm, it features open fields, several small streams and lakes, old stone walls, boulder fields, and old growth pine and hardwood forests. The area may be divided into three sections: Mountain Lakes Preserve/Mountain Lakes North; John Witherspoon Woods and parts of Tusculum; and Community Park North. The remainder of Tusculum, to the east, and Coventry Farm, to the west, is private open space.
There are a total of about 9 miles of trails. James Sayen Trail is a 0.9 mile loop around two lakes separated by an old dam, due to be replaced in 2010. John Witherspoon Trail is a 0.9 mile loop through woods, streams and boulders, with four different access trails of 0.2 to 0.3 mile each. Coventry Farm Trail is mainly a boardwalk connecting Mountain Lakes with The Great Road and Farm View Fields. Stuart Trail runs along the border with Coventry Farm and connects Mountain Lakes North with the PDS/Pond View Trail across The Great Road, and ultimately with Woodfield Reservation. Other trails run through Tusculum and Community Park North.
From Route 206 heading north from Lawrenceville:
Follow Route 206 to Princeton. Pass through the intersections and traffic lights at Elm Road and Library Place. At the next traffic light turn left and stay on Route 206 instead of going straight into town, and at the bottom of the hill take the “jughandle” where the sign says “All turns- Mountain Avenue”. Cross 206; the Community Park North parking lot is immediately on the right. There is limited parking at Cherry Hill Road and at Stuart Road(see map).
NEW PARKING LOT: See the directions for the main parking lot. Where the directions say to take the jughandle for Mountain Avenue, instead continue straight ahead to the next traffic light and turn left on Cherry Hill Road. Proceed 0.6 mile to a crushed driveway on the left, between two private homes. There is a row of boulders along one side.
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