Rails to Trails

New Jersey just keeps surprising me!

Before I moved here, I was like a lot of people (ok, everyone not from NJ) who thought the state was the blight on the face of America. But ever since I moved here, New Jersey has proved me wrong. It’s a quirky little state filled with an overabundance of pride. Where I live in central Jersey, I’m surrounded by green. Parks, farms, fields, playgrounds, and trails are abundant. There’s not a day when I don’t see a mass of brightly colored cyclists or runners or dog-walkers taking advantage of these scenic offerings.

When Alissa stopped by for dinner the other night she mentioned her discovery of an amazing trail close to where she lives. It’s called the Columbia Trail and with it only being a twenty minutes drive from my house, I had to check it out.

The Taylor Steel Workers Historical Greenway is one of many trails that run through scenic areas of NJ. Once a railway, its last freight train ran in 1976 and the trail was built in 1990. It had been in operation since 1876 running iron ore along its lines. There’s a national conservation movement called Rails-to-Trails Conservancy whose goal is to convert old railways into greenways for bikers, runners, walkers, and cross-country skiers to be able to use.

The trail is packed gravel, perfect for running and biking, and is 14 miles out and back. Tall trees shade the trail and a river runs almost the entire length of the trail. It’s an ideal place for my long Sunday runs.

And there must be something magical about the trail too. Everyone is friendly and waves or says hi or good morning. It’s great! Also, there are little treasures along the way too with tiny wooden houses, homemade benches, and even a hidden gnome standing in front of a small door that’s been hinged to the bottom of a tree. I don’t even feel like I’m running half the time because there’s so much to look at and marvel over. 🙂

For more information about Rails-To-Trails Conservancy and trails near you:

  1. Oh no, the secret’s out! Just kidding!

  1. August 29th, 2011

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