17 Mile Princeton Loop Hike!

Join us for a very interesting hike through the open spaces in and around Princeton NJ! Hikers will be amazing at just how many trails and parks there are in Princeton. Although it is near to developed areas we will be mostly off roads on many different kinds of trails.

We are meeting at 8:30 am near the Whole Foods, Wendy's, Marshalls, and Staples along Rt 1 at the following address and GPS coordinates:
3495 U.S. 1, Princeton, NJ 08540 ‎
Lattitude: 40°18'33.62"N
Longitude: 74°39'59.34"W

This hike is a 17 mile loop. No car shuttling is necessary, so we will begin walking directly from the shopping center. We will follow a pathway that leads along a golf course to the Delaware and Raritan Canal. We will turn off of the old canal towpath and enter Institute Woods, a nice preserve which takes us across the Stony Brook on an amazing swinging bridge pictured above.

The route will take us from here across Princeton Battlefield State Park, and then through two more small preserves by way of paved paths. These paved paths lead near to Hun School and into a park known as Greenway Meadows, a lovely preserve that follows more of the Stony Brook further north.

The route continues along a couple of back streets, then makes it's way onto paved development paths which also give way to foot paths. They take us onto property adjacent to the Educational Testing Service, and on to Province Line Road, a partially abandoned road that takes it's name because it was once the boundary between the colonies of East and West New Jersey. It leads over a nice bridge over Stony Brook.

Much of the abandoned roadway retains the look of a regular road, only the lack of traffic has made it appear very narrow. We follow this road north for less than a mile after it becomes residential, and another trail leads us into the Woodfield Reservation, with more rustic natural surface foot paths.

The trail takes us past interesting points such as the Devil's Cave, a small rock overhang, and the Tent Rock pictured above. The trails of Woodfield Reservation continue connectively  to the Pond View/ETS Trail. The character of the trail changes to being more open, near to a private school and along scenic ponds.

From here, we cross into the Community Park North area. Many trails criss cross this property which was used at one time to harvest ice for Princeton. We'll continue through Community Park north and on to Witherspoon Woods, named for a signer of the Declaration of Independence. This trail leads us out to roads with paved parallel pathways on the north side of Princeton.

We'll head south through Princeton, utilizing these pathways across town as well as the college campus, both of which are very lovely. By this time, we will be able to take our time, and find a place to stop and eat somewhere. Those who wish to continue on to the end may take Alexander Street to the canal towpath, and continue back to the access from which we started.


Although this hike is in a suburban area, the majority of it is away from any businesses, so everyone should have a lunch or snack, as well as plenty of water. Most of the trails are not very rocky, with a pleasant natural surface or pavement.


Contact me for more information: M'ke[masked]

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  • Michael H.

    Despite the snow, I was very happy with how this turned out. We did a lot of the planned route and some different stuff as well. Great day in Princeton! Thanks all for coming!

    January 4, 2014

  • Bob

    Great hike.

    January 4, 2014

  • Bob

    Great hike. Thanks. Mike.

    January 4, 2014

  • John

    Hey mike...nice to know about trails in this area. Maybe go the next time as my son and I hiked all day today and roads are icy early. Thanks again for the info as I'm close...

    January 3, 2014

  • A former member
    A former member

    Sorry I cannot make it due to the icy road condition.

    January 3, 2014

  • Ken

    Hey Mike, this hike looks interesting but I probably can't do the full 17 miles for time reasons. I see the hike is a loop, is there an easy spot to cut out early?

    December 31, 2013

    • Ken

      OK sounds good. I'm in.

      December 31, 2013

    • Ken

      Mike I changed to a 'no' for tomrorow. Too far for me to drive on dicey roads. Hope to catch another one of your hikes when the weather is better.

      January 3, 2014

  • Judy A.

    Hi Mike,
    With the recent snow, where will the hike take us and what will be the distance?

    January 3, 2014

    • Michael H.

      Distance now will be about 15, still include the Swinging Bridge and town, but I'm going to add some other stuff with more of the canal and rail trail I think.

      January 3, 2014

  • A former member
    A former member

    I would love to do this hike but not in the snow. Any chance of a redux?

    January 2, 2014

    • Michael H.

      Yes, I've changed the route somewhat, starting at the same location but I'll be doing more of the canal and rail trail, but also the college part.

      January 3, 2014

  • Michael H.

    If there's a lot of snow, we'll have to hike a different route. There are unblazed trails where we need to see treadway to follow. We won't cancel, but we will likely have to change

    January 2, 2014

  • Michael H.

    Look for the red Dodge with Metrotrails on the doors in the parking lot, that'll be me!

    December 30, 2013

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We just grab a coffee and speak French. Some people have been coming every week for months... it creates a kind of warmth to the group.

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