If you're going to bike the whole thing, my recommendation would be to start in High Bridge and go north, as it felt like the entire trail is almost entirely (albeit slightly) uphill going northward, and there is a lot more parking on the High Bridge end too, as there's a decent sized free municipal lot just across East Main St from the trail head. Parking and Trail Access Our trip started in High Bridge and for our turn-around point we chose Long Valley, where a small detour led us to Long Valley Pub & Brewery for a mid-ride refreshment and snack on their outdoor patio. The trail has a slight incline for most for the ride to the Northern trail head. The last reviewer talks about sport bikes, city bikes, rough tires, animal droppings and brown water! Would like to go back & start in other direction. Get a FREE Rail Trails Guidebook when you become a Member with Rails-to-Trails Conservancy. Rates an 8 out of 10! Fourteen miles of great scenery from High Bridge to the county line and back. Additionally, the trial DOES continue for another FOUR miles past Long Valley, as the existing review already stated and I passed several horse farms riding over newly constructed small bridges over the Raritan, encountering several quite sharp turns on which it's a good idea to go quite slow. There are also a number of places to eat in High Bridge on Main Street, walking distance from the parking lot and at other areas close by. I find this trail a friendly and calm trail. Columbia Trail, High Bridge: See 64 reviews, articles, and 10 photos of Columbia Trail, ranked No.1 on Tripadvisor among 5 attractions in High Bridge. Trailhead parking is on the left just past the borough hall. The parking was really hard to find, needs more signage. Approximately a mile past the trailhead, we already encountered some deer feeding along the trail and they promply fled downhill towards the river below. Did an out and back on this trail a couple weeks ago. But we imagine it'd be more beautiful on the autumn months. Could not agree more with others. From the quaint town of High Bridge, hike into the scenic Ken Lockwood Gorge along the bank of the South Branch of the Raritan River and return a level up on the Columbia Trail. The new fence was constructed to shield the new homes from the steel plant. The 'Getting-to-the-Trail', is a long drive for me, as i live on the East Coast of NJ, but worth it. The railroad dates to 1876, when it started hauling iron ore from local mines. About 3-1/2 miles into the trail, the path was interrupted by a company called Frazier Industrial and Toll Brothers Enclave at Long Valley. Decent scenery with the river, wild life, and local flare. There is another little brunch spot called BEX I believe that was open, that was okay. The steep slopes and boulders create a whitewater paradise for kayakers. No bathrooms, but there is a restaurant towards the end (Long Valley Pub & Brewery) which has gotten decent reviews that could be a possible destination. Most of the surface is crushed stone. It is very well maintained and easy to follow. The trail crosses a bridge here that was the scene of a tragic train wreck in 1885 when an engine and 45 cars plunged off a wooden trestle, which was later replaced.Two-and-a-half miles past the bridge you’ll arrive in the Victorian-style town of Califon, which has more than 240 structures on the National Register of Historic Places. My understanding is that the full length of the trail from end to end is now about 16 miles. Iced up by the new townhouse development in Long valley but we figured it out pretty easily. 0.05 Cross Mill Street. The best part of the trail is the last 8 miles and going through Long Valley and Califon, etc. The only real 'hazard' we encountered was the walnuts falling from the trees onto the trail (we initially thought someone was throwing things at us :-) We started our ride in High Bridge after stopping for a quick lunch at the cafe connected to Casa Maya less than a half mile from the trailhead (also serves breakfast). I suggest starting from the southern trail head if you plan to ride a full circuit. In some places, the smell of wildflowers and/or cedar is overpowering. None. share. There are always walkers, bikers, … Columbia Trail is a 13 mile trail from Schooley Mtn Rd. I rode from Bartley road to High Bridge on this great trail. I have always felt lucky being able to call The Columbia Trail my home town trail. On the whole, an enjoyably scenic , rather hill-free ride. Safety continues to be our top priority, please check out the FAQ page to learn what measures we are taking to keep our customers and staff healthy. Did five miles today. We had printed it out beforehand and though the trail appears to end at a couple spots, we were able to find and complete the NE section of the trail giving us a 30 mile day. If you reach this spot, keep going along the dirt path straight in front of you to where the trail picks up. The Columbia Trail was actually located on Toll Brothers property and needed to be re-routed. Now that I am older, my wife and I decided to take a ride and re-discover this hidden gem. You will probably encounter horses so remember to give them right of way. It is a fantastic, peaceful, beautiful trail with different scenery throughout to keep the ride interesting. It's a very great trail. -Harry, "This trail's scenery truly epitomizes why New Jersey is nicknamed the Garden State.I finally got to do this trail today as I was home visiting the folks in Flanders. A few miles into the trail you will see another trail on your right called ""Gillette Trail"" named after a recent Morris County Parks Commissioner. One note: the trail is uphill from High Bridge to Long Valley, so take that into consideration when planning your trip if you're a casual rider. Close • Posted by 1 minute ago. Become a member and wear your FREE T-Shirt with pride. With a length approaching 7.5 miles many features and encounters can be had along the trail. The hooves have dug up the surface and abundant horse manure is not easily dodged. Can't wait to ride it again! Where the Columbia Trail enters High Bridge, the Lake Solitude Dam holds significance for its civil engineering design and for the role that it played in permitting Taylor-Wharton ironworks, downstream, to expand. If you like to picnic, stop at Califon. The trail is generally in great condition: all the washouts from last year were repaired well. Approx 1/4 mile from the High Bridge municipal parking lot (right side) is the trailhead of the Taylor Steelworkers Historical Greenway a 6.4 mile trail encompassing most of high bridges historical properties. They were able to help me out right away. Overall, I had a great experience on this trail and I would highly recommend it to anyone. The end isn't Schooley's Mtn Road, it is Bartley road right where Flanders/Chester sort of connect. What a wonderful experience. The railroad dates to 1876, when it started hauling iron ore from local mines. Again, we are very fortunate that we live right across the street from this trail; we took it for granted for a little but plan on making it a weekend thing this summer :-). Leaving the community, you’ll cross three junctions with the Patriots’ Path, a 35-mile-long multiuse trail. It was difficult because of flooding in certain spots, but that's because of the heatwave.This page does not say where to access it in Flanders but someone posted it's off of Bartley Road. The calm before the storm. Parking for 5-10 cars is available at the easternmost end of the Columbia Trail in Hunterdon County. Today, 8/10/14, I just walked to the mile marker which is 7 miles in from Bartley road, the start of the trail. P.S. How lucky I am to be able to call this my home town trail. Also, he is re-blazing the old "locals" trail that heads down to the Taylor Wharton factory property. Keep in mind this is also used pretty frequently as a bridle trail in spots, especially near one of the crossings of 513 south of Long Valley. Go 0.3 mile, and turn right to stay on Bartley Road/County Road 625. My wife and I are beginner bikers riding hybrid Giant Roams. comment | share: Type your message and click Add Comment : It is best to login or register first but you may post as a guest. A few minor washouts, nothing to worry about. On Oct 18, 2014, a member of the Biking NJ Rail Trails Facebook Group (https://www.facebook.com/groups/njrtriders/) found the Columbia Trail blocked near the new Toll Brothers Developement and Frazers Steel in Long Valley. The trailhead is in High Bridge with the terminus located… No overgrowth, I loved stopping and catching a glimpse of some of the wildlife that was abundant in the area. There aren't that many places in rural NJ you can get in a 30 mile ride without hills. We have indoor service (with limited capacity) and outdoor tables in front of the brewery. They often are easier to spot in winter when trees are bare of leaves. It is a scenic trail that parallels the river with picturesque bridges and convenient benches. Lead by Hunterdon County Park System Chief Naturalist: Tom Sheppard ... Borough of High Bridge, 97 West Main Street, High Bridge, NJ, 08829. 513 there is a Pet Supply store stop in and say hello. This was the best one. and then the path becomes very bumpy from the horses' hooves pock marking the trail. Follow that to the lot and you'll see a map of the area. Thank you thank you. You have to go around to the back of the old Welsh Farms property to find it. Second takeaway is that the trail has so much droppings of animal feces that it reeks throughout the entire ride! A great ride for kids. 40.66949, -74.896492 Walk back towards Main Street the way you drove in and cross Main Street. Well maintained trail that was once a rail bed. High Bridge is a borough in Hunterdon County, New Jersey, United States.As of the 2010 United States Census, the borough's population was 3,648, reflecting a decline of 128 (-3.4%) from the 3,776 counted in the 2000 Census, which had in turn declined by 110 (-2.8%) from the 3,886 counted in the 1990 Census. The southern end has beautiful scenery especially through the gorge. Cycle Craft View more. The Columbia Trail is a rail trail in rural northwestern New Jersey.It was created from portions of the former Central Railroad of New Jersey High Bridge Branch and stretches from High Bridge, in Hunterdon County, through Washington Township, in Morris County for a total of 15.1 miles (24.3 km). Hint: All along the trail are yellow natural gas markers. The trail is in great shape considering the storms that hit the area last fall. From the High Bridge parking lot opposite the trailhead, exit the lot by turning right along Main St/Rt 513. For the segment of the Columbia Trail described here, I used my road bike and it was okay, but I think a wider-tired bike would be better. A beautiful view for the entire way with 95% of the ride in the shade. Only a handful of street interruptions in the 11 miles. A lot of shade. I decided to ride this trail today because reviews on this site suggested nice scenery. :). I take my phone out and my cycling app says 15 miles!! During inclement weather the trails may not be accessible. There is also a restroom in Voorhees State Park, which is a couple of miles away and there is no fee to drive into that park. Columbia Trailis a recreational trail in rural northwestern New Jersey in the town of High Bridge. Slight grade going east makes coming back to Highbridge a faster ride-total is a little over 7 miles. The trail is good for all skill levels but is and offers a number of activity options. Tree farms. There isn't a lot of parking here but there are several other lots not far from the start. This week I ride Bartley to High Bridge and back, just over 30 miles of great riding. The trail is mostly crushed limestone and ballast. Rode part of the Columbia trail today but had to stop due to the rainy weather. Subsequently, the surface rights of the right-of-way have been acquired by Hunterdon There are so many different things to see, it is definitely a fun and interesting ride. Don't let this review prevent you from riding this wonderful and pretty trail. Califon is a delightful little village - we stopped for a drink at Rambo's, just off the trail, and enjoyed sitting on the front porch watching the town go by. This steel span was built in 1930 to replace the original wooden trestle bridge, which was the site of a memorable 1886 train wreck. The trailhead parking lot is on your left. Enjoy! The trail surface is relatively flat and consists mostly of fine crushed stone. Milage signage up until mile six is about 1/10 of a mile too fast. Not too busy. If you stand on the tracks and look ahead to the right, you will see a track stopper, the same from back in Flanders. The trail crosses the river on a high trestle, which, as of my last trip, was not completely improved but passable. Heading back northeasterly toward Long Valley, the trail became rutted a bit from the horses that are on this trail and the ride was somewhat bumpy for a mile or two. 513 where they are kept. One bridge was totally covered. There are multiple places to pick up the Columbia Trail (High Bridge, Califon, Long Valley, Flanders) but this post is for biking or running from Califon to High Bridge and back. It only took me living in Long Valley for 13 years to discover this trail.The only complaint I have is what the horse's left behind . There are very nice restroom facilities present at both ends of the trail. It's also tricky finding your way back to the trail when it appears to end in Long Valley. best. Very nice, we went off the trail to see the "waterfall". A notable portion of the Columbia Trail is the Ken Lockwood Gorge, between Califon and High Bridge (2½ miles north of High Bridge). It was well worth the 45 min ride from house. If you're not stopping, a heavy lock is just going to weigh you down. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible year-round. Since there is virtually no traffic on Rt. The result will be a great local network that would make any UK preservation group proud! No, really — if you look close enough while walking this Hunterdon County path, you'll find dozens of gnome homes. Unfortunately, in the northern half, trail repair seems to be done by throwing gravel out rather than rebuilding the crushed stone surface and there are patches that are rough, albeit still rideable. There is about 50 feet of dirt trail that is not completed, but it goes through all the way. We are not sure of the timetable but we think it will be accomplished very quickly. I never had an issue with staying on the trail and the entire trail was in very good condition despite some recent rain. It's a wonderful easy trail, that's well maintained. The directions from the RTC website are spot-on. ", "This was my third ride on the Columbia Trail in two years. There is a local coffeeshop in High Bridge and a great new coffeeshop (The Coffee Potter) on the trail in WShington Township. I rode this trail on Sept. 5th. The whole trail overall was well shaded, good for our late-August trip in the heat. There are a couple of small hills but it is mostly flat. Freshly graveled too. It turns into Bartley Road and you can follow the old railroad tracks on your left. To reach the northeast trailhead from I-80, take Exit 27A to US 206 S toward Somerville. There is no parking at junctions of trail with area roads. Fun run.... check it out. Safety markers every mile or so and very well marked with the exception of a small road stretch...just keep going straight. Add one. There are plenty of resting spots, and the trail can be easily modified for those looking for a shorter jaunt. 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