There are two things to know about me: first and foremost, I’m a passionate ophthalmologist. I founded OCLI in 1986 and have built the practice from the ground up.
The second thing you have to know about me is that I simply love being active. I am constantly searching for the best, most scenic trails to hit on my mountain bike. There’s nothing better than cruising down the New Jersey coast or exploring some secluded woods with little more than two wheels and a sense of adventure.
Here are the four best new jersey biking trails that I have found – as well as some of my best advice for you aspiring cyclists.
Barnegat Branch Trail (Barnegat Township)
While currently it’s a breezy 10.4 miles, this trail will eventually be 15.6 miles worth of gorgeous trail. Right now though, it’s one of my favorites as it is—three disconnected segments of trail that cross Forked River at one point. My favorite piece of the Barnegat Branch Trail is the most northern bit, which runs between Dudley Park and Segle Avenue. The park has picnic tables where I like to rest and rehydrate and a covered pavilion for some shade.
Delaware and Raritan Canal State Park Trail (Trenton to Frenchtown to New Brunswick)
The D&R is basically a legend among New Jersey cyclists. It’s a behemoth at 69.5 miles of crushed stone and gravel—definitely not for the faint of heart! It connects many towns and three whole counties. While the weather occasionally makes this trail unavailable during the rainy season, it’s my favorite for the early fall, when the weather is cool enough to really enjoy the incredible views: the 19th century bridges, cobblestone spillways, and handmade stone arches are really a sight to see.
Allamuchy State Park-North (Hackettstown)
This New Jersey trail isn’t long (only 30 miles!), but it’s really tricky. Melissa and I do this one when we’re craving a challenge rather than a leisurely cruise. It’s a lot of heavy climbs and steep downhills meant for intermediate, technical riders. The most popular trails are called Lumpy Bumpy and Rollie Pollie, but it’s extremely easy to get lost—which only increases the excitement!
Loantaka Brook Reservation (Morristown)
This is the closest I have to a “home trail.” It’s a simple 5 miles in Morris County, which is pretty close to my office at OCLI. It’s a peaceful, paved trail that goes through a 700 acre park that’s home to some really pretty New Jersey wildflowers, birds that fill the air with their calls, and some serene woods. This is the trail I hit when I just want to zone out on my bike and ride.
What to take on your New Jersey bike rides
No matter the distance of your ride, there are a few things I always bring. To me, a helmet is never optional. I also always like to wear a light, waterproof jacket in case of rain, cycling shoes, and carry an energy bar, my driver’s license, and a few dollars in case of emergency.
For rides between five and 15 miles, I also bring a Camelbak water bottle (70 oz per each two hour ride), a seat bag for tire levers, multi tool, pump and a spare tube. For rides longer than that, I like to bring an extra water bottle and another snack. After all, the best rides are the ones where you don’t need any of these items, but the worst are the ones where you need them but left them behind.
Finally, as an ophthalmologist, I recognize just how important it is to protect my eyes from the harsh UV rays while I’m outdoors. I constantly wear sunglasses, and you should too – if only to see all of the natural beauty New Jersey has to offer! If you can’t wear sunglasses because you already wear eyeglasses, I highly recommend LASIK eye surgery.
The next time you come into my office, let me know which New Jersey biking trails are your favorite. Be sure to contact my office if you want a free consultation about LASIK, too. Happy trails!