Mountain Biking the kids at Clayton Park in Upper Freehold, New Jersey
We went for our first mountain bike ride of 2009 at Clayton Park in Upper Freehold, New Jersey. It was a great place to start off the riding year.
The trails are in great condition … the best condition of all the trails that we have been to so far. Except for a few muddy spots near water crossings, the trails are mostly hard pack with sand sparingly used here and there.
When I told my older son about riding at Clayton Park, the first thing he asked me was if the trails were flat or up and down. He prefers riding rolling hills with twists and turns. He was not disappointed.
Clayton Park has couple of long climbs – such as part of the Old Forge Trail – that are challenging even for experienced mountain bikers. If you have a need for speed on the decent, you can ride the Old Forge Trail and the Doctor’s Creek Trail counter clockwise. Just be alert for rider, hikers, and equestrians sharing the trails.
Clayton Park is part of Monmouth County Parks system. There are about 8 miles of multi-use trails. The 421-acre park is located in the town of Imlaystown, just off Route 195 – not too far from Six Flags Great Adventure.Monmouth County Parks website
Clayton Park has well maintained multi-use, wide, single-track trails. Most of the trails should be manageable for reasonably fit adults and kids. My 11 year old had to walk his bike midway up Old Forge Trail and my 8 year old walk the entire hill; but this was their first bike ride in a few months. It took us about two-hours and a half to ride the outer trails – not the entire 8 miles or so of the total. It would most likely take us longer to ride the same trails when all the trees are in full leaf. I think that being able to see what is around a bend is a big plus and we were able to ride a bit faster – especially down twisty hills. As always, bring lots of water and snacks with you. There are no services, other than a single portable toilet at the trailhead parking lot. As for hiking the trails at Clayton Park, I am all for sharing the trails, but the trails are narrow and I would prefer to hike – especially with young kids – without worry about a mountain biker coming around a curve at ten or twenty miles an hour.
About 8 miles of easy to moderate hard packed, well-maintained mostly single-track loop trails with very few exposed rocks and roots. There are a few long uphill and downhill stretches along the trails. I would suggest riding the Old Forge and Doctor’s Creek Trails first and wound down and end your ride with the easier Bridge Trail. You may want to bring along a compass to help with your bearing – especially with a few of the inner trails.
(As given by the Monmouth County Parks system)
From the Garden State parkway (North or South): Exit 98 to Interstate 195 West.
From Interstate 195 East or West: Take Exit 11 (Imlaystown/Cox’ Corner), Westbound, turn left; Eastbound, turn right onto Route 43 (Imlaystown/Hightstown Road). At first intersection, turn left onto Route 526, then immediately right to continue on Route 43 (Davis Station Road). Follow for 1 mile. Turn left onto Emley’s Hill Road and follow to park on left.
From Northern Points: Follow Route 34, 79, 18 or 9 South to Route 537 West to Interstate 195 West. Follow directions above.