Stony Brook-Millstone Watershed Association Reserve
GOOD FOR: All Ages
RATING:


Source:Outdoors with Kids Philadelphia (AMC Books)
Address:31 Titus Mill Road, Pennington, NJ
Hours:Grounds open dawn to dusk daily
Fee: Free
Contact:

thewatershed.org, 609-737-3735

Bathrooms: Portable toilets at main parking area and at Wargo Road
Water/Snacks: Water fountain outside nature center
Map:

thewatershed.org (click on Conservation, then Trails); njtrails.org


Easy trails with interpretive signs make this a great expedition for families to discover woods, a pond, streams, and meadows.

Stony Brook-Millstone Watershed Association Reserve
Photo by: Susan Charkes

The 930-acre Stony Brook-Millstone Watershed Association Reserve is the headquarters for central New Jersey’s oldest environmental organization, which protects the 265-square-mile watershed drained by the Stony Brook and the Millstone River.

Ten miles of trails are on the reserve, all for foot travel only (including skis and snowshoes in winter). They explore woods, meadows, farm fields, wetlands, and a pond. These natural footpaths, some with elevated boardwalks in wet areas, are almost all are essentially level, with the exception of boulders and slight hills in the Mount Rose section, the portion of the Watershed Trail north of the Moores Mill Road parking area.

For kids, a delightful first destination is Wargo Pond, a 4-acre pond with a dock that has both fencing and benches, a safe alternative for even young children to observe the birds, dragonflies, and turtles who make the pond their home. Informative signage describes the plants and wildlife that kids can expect to see there. The pond can be accessed from the Wargo Road parking area, as well as via trails from the nature center. Catch-and-release fishing is permitted from the dock and shoreline. 

The Stony Brook itself, a shallow and—yes—stony brook, can be accessed by Stony Brook Trail (a 2-mile round-trip loop to the stream and back) and the southern end of Watershed Trail (a 1-mile round-trip to the stream and back). It’s a friendly stream that kids will enjoy exploring.

The Watershed Association provides educational programming throughout the year, designed for children and families. At the time of writing, the nature center was closed for renovation and a new environmental center was under construction.

The Kate Gorrie Butterfly House, open from late April to October, enables kids to share space with native butterflies and caterpillars and watch them feeding on wildflowers.

You can picnic at tables near the parking areas or anywhere on the grounds; you’ll find occasional benches along the trails.

Remember: No smoking; dogs must be leashed. No bikes on trails. The trails can get wet and the pond trails buggy, so be prepared with appropriate footwear and insect repellent. Pack out your trash. Hunting is regularly conducted in fall; trails may be closed.

Plan B:

Rosedale Park on Federal Road, across from the Mercer County Equestrian Center, has trails, a large playground, and good picnic facilities.

Where to Eat Nearby:

Pennington has many small shops and eateries on Main Street and NJ 31.



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