GATEWAY NATIONAL RECREATION AREA; SANDY HOOK:
MIDDLETOWN, NEW JERSEY
-BIKE IT OR HIKE IT-
Last Updated: August 19, 2019
Length: Peninsula Trail; 8.5 miles (plus 1 mile of spur Loops)
Difficulty: Easy. Flat paved rail trail.
To Start from Lot A in Sandy Hook; From Route 36 take the Sandy Hook exit to Hartshorne Dr. Just past the entrance gate is parking Lot A which has NO FEE. You can also continue north to Fort Hancock for free parking. All Beach parking has a Fee.
The Gateway National Recreation Area is a large diverse urban park with 27,000 acres spanning Sandy Hook in N.J. and Jamaica Bay and Staten Island in N.Y. It offers green spaces, beaches, wildlife and outdoor recreation, all alongside historic structures and cultural landscapes. The Gateway National Recreation Area; Sandy Hook includes the paved Peninsula Trail that runs from Ocean Ave north through Sandy Hook Peninsula to Fort Hancock. For more information visit; GATEWAY NRA; SANDY HOOK .
Starting from Hartshorne Drive & Ocean Ave; From the pedestrian bridge that crosses over Ocean Ave from the Navesink Ave Bridge (Route 36 eastbound) the paved Peninsula Trail heads north. I haven't rode this section.
Note; Heading south a narrow paved trail travels between Ocean Ave and a stone seawall for 1.6 miles.
Heading north the Peninsula Trail parallels Hartshorne Dr. Come to a Map Board and another pedestrian bridge.
Note; You can connect to the Henry Hudson Trail in Highlands by heading across this pedestrian bridge and across the Navesink Ave Bridge (Route 32 westbound) along a wide sidewalk down to S. Bay Ave and turning left. Turn left again on Shore Dr [BIKE LANE/BIKE SHARROWS] and follow to the Henry Hudson Trail parking lot after 2 miles.
Pass by a green 1/4 Mile Marker. I would assume these are located every 1/4 mile along the trail. Pass by the entrance gate and come to Parking Lot A after 0.5 miles. The trail continues north alongside the road or through the scrubland. Pass by Parking Lot B (South Beach) where you can find restrooms, vending machines and picnic tables. Parking Lot C (South Beach) more facilities, Parking Lot D (Jersey Beach) 2.4 miles, Parking Lot E (South Beach) at 2.7 miles. Cross an entrance road that leads to Nike Missile Site NY-56 at 3 miles. Come to Parking Lot L (Nike Missile Site NY-56) after 4 miles. Enter Fort Hancock and cross over Magruder Rd at 5 miles where you'll find Guardian Park Parking Lot on your right and Guardian Park (Nike Missiles) on your left. I've checked out this next section. Trail now travels between Sandy Hook Bay on your left and Hartshorne Dr on your right. Across the road are all the old historic yellow brick military buildings and Parade Grounds. Pass by a Map Board as you now follow S Bragg Dr. Pass by Battery Porter then come to Parking Lot J and an intersection at 6 miles.
Note; You can take a side trip from here by heading left along the paved trail past Parking Lot K and alongside the Nine Gun Battery to a Map Board, BIKE STATION, Parking Lot M and the 6 1/4 Mile Marker. Right leads to Battery Peck. Retrace your route back to the Parking Lot J intersection for a 0.6 mile Loop.
Heading right you quickly come to another intersection. Head left past the Sandy Hook Proving Grounds then past North Beach. Restrooms and Map Board. Then continue to Parking Lot I, head right back out to the trail and continue left alongside Ford Rd at 7.4 miles. Come to another intersection at 7.8 miles.
Note; You can take a side trip from here by heading left along the paved trail to Gunnison Beach (Restrooms, refreshments, water fountain, Bike Station) and Gunnison Battery. Return to Ford Rd for a 0.4 mile Loop.
Head right across Ford Rd through the scrubland out to Hudson Rd.
Note; Straight across Hudson Rd the trail will return you to S Bragg Rd.
Head left past the Mortar Battery (Battery McCook & Reynolds). Across the street is the Visitor Center (restrooms and museum) and Sandy Hook Lighthouse. Come to the Sandy Hook Lighthouse parking lot (Bike Station) after 8.2 miles and the end of the paved trail. Continue south on-road along Magruder Rd (low traffic) returning to Guardian Park Parking Lot and the Peninsula Trail after 8.5 miles.
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