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Explore Three Parks in One Hike in Mercer County

  • Nov 30, 2013 · 9:00 AM
  • This location is shown only to members

Join us as we explore three conjoined parks in Mercer County (Rosedale Park, Mercer Meadows, and Curlis Lake Woods Nature Preserve) in one great hike. On our journey we’ll
visit a brook, a pond, two lakes, fields filled with a number of rare and threatened wildlife species, including grassland birds that rely on the largemeadows to nest and lush forest areas.

Our pace will be moderate, but steady and the total distance will be just under 10 miles. The terrain consists of fields and forest areas with some slight rolling hills.

Bring sturdy footwear, lunch/snacks and water. Heavy rain cancels.

Here is a description of the three districts within Mercer Meadows that we’ll be visiting:

Rosedale Park District

The Rosedale Park district provides a scenic and tranquil setting for picnics,
walks, and other outdoor recreation. A system of trails, including a section of
the Lawrence-Hopewell Trail, passes through the woodland and fields of the district, providing easy access to the Stony Brook, Willow Pond, and Rosedale Lake.  Fishing is a popular pastime in these three bodies of water, which are also an attraction for wildlife such as Bald Eagles, Osprey, and many varieties of waterfowl.

Pole Farm District

Since its acquisition in 1998, the Pole Farm has been allowed to revert to natural fields
and forest. In 2012, a 435-acre habitat restoration project was undertaken to improve the grasslands for native wildlife by planting seeds of native grasses and wildflowers. Today it supports a number of rare and threatened wildlife species, including grassland birds that rely on the large meadows to nest. A walk on the scenic trails that wind through the meadows and woodlands of the Pole Farm offer nature lovers a chance to see many varieties of plants and wildlife.

From 1929 – 1975, the Pole Farm District and much of the Farm History District belonged to American Telephone and Telegraph (AT&T), and was the site of a large shortwave radio station used for international communications. During this period, arrays of radio antennas were distributed throughout the Pole Farm, each configured to communicate with cities worldwide. Mercer County acquired the property from AT&T in 1998. A single antenna still stands at the Reed/Bryan Farm entrance. Several areas of historical interpretation exist
throughout the district.

Curlis Lake Woods

Several trails pass through Curlis Woods, with contain some of the oldest forest at
Mercer Meadows, and travel along the edge of Curlis Lake.  This trail system also connects to Main Street in Pennington.

Directions to the meeting spot

We’ll begin and end our hike in Rosedale Park located in Pennington, NJ. From Interstate 95, take Exit 4-Route 31 north. Travel north on Rt. 31 for 1 mile and at the Pennington Circle, make the first right onto Blackwell Road. Follow Blackwell Road through the following intersection with Pennington – Lawrenceville Road (at 4/10 of a mile) and continue on Blackwell Road to the stop sign at the intersection of Blackwell Road and Federal City Road (1.2 miles).  Make a left onto Federal City Road and travel around 3/10 of a mile. The entrance to Rosedale Park will be on your right.

When you enter the park via Federal City Road, follow the lane as it winds all the way to the back of the park.  When the lane comes to a “T”, make a right into the large parking lot near the Picnic Pavilion area. This is where the meeting spot is. The meeting time is 9:00 am.

Here’s the park’s website:

Join or login to comment.

  • Cie S.

    Here's the podcast about the pole farm that was on land that is now part of Mercer Meadows Park. The maintenance road for the pole farm is now part of the Lawrence-Hopewell Trail:

    December 26, 2013

  • Nilam

    It was nice to meet everyone. Thanks Jeff for the historical aspect of the hike and learning more about AT&T.

    December 3, 2013

  • Judy

    Fun hike! A new area for me.

    December 1, 2013

  • kathryn k.

    Thanks for leading a perfect after Thanksgiving hike Jeff. Good mileage, learned interesting stuff about AT&T, great company --- and wonderful chocolate.

    December 1, 2013

  • Elisabeth

    Great hike! Thanks Jeff and everyone for a fun day.

    November 30, 2013

  • Bob

    Thanks for a very nice hike. It was good to be in the woods with a great group on a really nice day!
    Thanks again.

    November 30, 2013

  • Sheryl

    Sorry I did not see I came off the waiting list until this morning. Have a great hike.

    November 30, 2013

  • Ann

    Sorry I have to cancel. In bed with a fever.

    November 29, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    Just took myself off the WL since i just got off the WL in a diff
    hike, yeah!..

    November 26, 2013

  • Cie S.

    I happen to be on the board of the Lawrence Hopewell Trail. The map I made them includes all 3 areas you're hiking: I've also recorded a podcast and video of historian Dennis Waters talking about the Pole Farm. I'll let you know when that's posted. Tonight, he is giving a talk at the monthly meeting of the Washington Crossing Audubon Society on Monday evening 11/18 at 8:00 in Stainton Hall on the campus of the Pennington School. The topic is "Lichen Biology and the Lichen Flora of the Pole Farm."

    November 18, 2013

    • Jeff L.

      Cie, thanks so much for the information! I would be most interested in the Pole Farm podcast and video. I've been following the progress of the LH Trail with interest. I've been meaning to get out and explore it for a future AMC DV Chapter bike ride.

      November 18, 2013

  • Debra

    I'm a plus one also

    November 17, 2013

  • eric s.

    Jeff: My wife would like to hike with us...which would make me a +1

    November 17, 2013

  • Jason-Michael

    I would love to do this hike series...being so close to home, but I can't with my work schedule and an event later that time for sleep. Enjoy the parks.

    November 17, 2013

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