Bicycling Magazine Princeton, NJ: Sourland Mountain Preserve 

Climb over bridges, boardwalks, and singletrack full of roots and rocks on this advanced, 6.3-mile loop through Sourland Mountain Preserve.


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Author: Bicycling Magazine
Date: 30 Sep 2009 5:01:16 PM
Activity: Mountain Biking
State: New Jersey (NJ)
Distance: 6.31 mi  (Change units)
Survey Elevation: Total Gain: 691 ft
Total Loss: 679 ft
Net Change: 12 ft
Difficulty: 8 / 10
USGS Topo Map: Rocky Hill
Tags: Hillsborough, New Jersey, New York, Somerset County Parks, Sourland Mountain Preserve
Rating: Unrated   Rate it

Not far from Princeton University and central New Jersey's sprawling farmland, this 6.3-mile loop in the 3,200-acre Sourland Mountain Preserve challenges riders with an obstacle course of bridges, boardwalks, and rocky singletrack.

Warm up on the Maple Flats Trail. Though it's only 1.2 miles long and relatively level, Maple Flats introduces riders to the technical aspects of the park. The singletrack snakes through narrow gaps between trees. Loose rock tumbles beneath tires during descents, and riders will have to hop or lift their bikes up the route's boardwalks. Once out of the woods, turn down the fire road and pedal past the pond to the trailhead.

The second time around, ride the challenging Ridge Trail up a continuous, out-of-saddle ascent for more than a mile. You'll gain about 350 feet in elevation in no time. The path's winding singletrack goes over roots and rock gardens that will delight the advanced rider and intensely test intermediates.

After about 3 miles, the route reaches its highpoint at a boulder-strewn forest. The majority of the loop features rocky downhills and a boardwalk-lined wetland area. Merge back onto the Connector Trail and follow it north to the fire road. From there, retrace the way back to the start.

-Mapped by MacKenzie Ryan

TO TRAILHEAD: From New Jersey: Take I-195 W to I-295 to the exit for US 1. Turn right on Washington. After a left at Nassau St., turn right on US 206. In 7 miles, turn left at CR 604. Turn right on CR 601, then left on E. Mountain Rd. Turn left at the entrance.

Position Format: Datum:
Tracks

Sourland Mountain Preserve

Distance: 6.31 mi Points: 748
Total Time: none Speed: 0.0 mph Pace: 0:00 / mi
Active Time: none Speed: 0.0 mph Pace: 0:00 / mi

Points of Interest

SOR001

Location: 40.474071, -74.694318
From the kiosk, ride across the lawn to the trailhead.

SOR002

Location: 40.474191, -74.695176
Merge onto hard-packed, dirt singletrack and enter a shady woodland area. Pass the trailhead on the right.

SOR003

Location: 40.474042, -74.698164
Bear left @ Y-junction, merging onto Maple Flats Trail. A wooden post is labeled with the number 1. Ride over the bridge and follow the triangular white markers. Note: The second time around, continue straight at this junction on Ridge Trail.

SOR004

Location: 40.473383, -74.698215
Bear right @ Y-junction, continuing on Maple Flats Trail.

SOR005

Location: 40.471688, -74.699870
Bear left @ Y-junction to continue on Maple Flats. The Connector Trail intersects the route numerous times.

SOR006

Location: 40.469388, -74.698794
Turn right @ the unmarked T-junction.

SOR007

Location: 40.469194, -74.698910
Bear left @ the Y-junction. A triangular marker for the Maple Flats Trail can be seen through the trees.

SOR008

Location: 40.467497, -74.699052
Bear left @ the Y-junction. The triangle marker is on the left side of the trail.

SOR009

Location: 40.471098, -74.696082
Go right @ the T-junction and ride downhill on a fire road.

SOR010

Location: 40.472453, -74.694269
Bear left @ the Y-junction at the bottom of the hill. A quaint pond is a great place to get prepped and take a quick break before the intense Ridge Trail ahead. When ready, ride past the pond, then bear right toward the trailhead. At Waypoint 3, continue straight @ the 3-way.

SOR011

Location: 40.474310, -74.700106
Bear right @ the Y-junction, following the Ridge Trail's square markers. An unmarked trail covered with fallen logs veers off to the left.

SOR012

Location: 40.475593, -74.701871
Go right @ the Y-junction.

SOR013

Location: 40.478127, -74.704477
Carry your bike over a boulder field on the left. Once past the initially large boulders, the trail is more manageable than it may appear, though still quite rocky.

SOR014

Location: 40.470743, -74.707203
Turn right @ the T-junction with Connector Trail.

SOR015

Location: 40.469078, -74.705325
Cross over a dry creek bed full of eroded stones.

SOR016

Location: 40.467915, -74.704137
Reach the junction posted with the number 5. Cross over the fire road and bear right to re-access the trail.

SOR017

Location: 40.467709, -74.704464
Bear left @ the Y-junction near the gas pipeline.

SOR018

Location: 40.461528, -74.704741
Continue straight @ the Y-junction with a post marked number 6. A left turn leads downhill over a steep technical stretch for an alternative ride.

SOR019

Location: 40.459626, -74.708321
Bear left @ the Y-junction, continuing downhill. Both trails at the junction are marked as the Ridge Trail.

SOR020

Location: 40.458688, -74.706115
Go right @ the junction.

SOR021

Location: 40.456997, -74.702965
Bear right @ the T-junction. Follow the Ridge Trail's square markers.

SOR022

Location: 40.458799, -74.697357
Go straight @ the 3-way junction with Connector Trail.

SOR023

Location: 40.467468, -74.699068
Keep left @ the 3-way junction, merging onto Maple Flats. (The Ridge Trail veers right here.) Follow the route back to the fire road (Waypoint 7) and turn right. Follow fire road to Waypoint 9, then retrace your route to the parking area.

Singletrack at Sourland Mountain Preserve

Location: 40.474191, -74.695136
© MacKenzie Ryan

Bridge

Location: 40.474049, -74.696412
© MacKenzie Ryan

Junction

Location: 40.474044, -74.698089
© MacKenzie Ryan

Boardwalk

Location: 40.473771, -74.698260
© MacKenzie Ryan

Boardwalk

Location: 40.468668, -74.704853
© MacKenzie Ryan

Dry Creekbed

Location: 40.469102, -74.705175
© MacKenzie Ryan

Pond

Location: 40.472610, -74.694446
© MacKenzie Ryan

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