Bike Ride at Tatum Park

Mountain Bike Ride at Tatum Park in Middletown, NJ

tatum park sign

tatum park sign

It was a beautiful Memorial Day for mountain biking with my kids at Tatum Park in Middletown, New Jersey.

We have been to the park last year for both hiking and mountain biking. The hiking trails are great for easy hikes and should be a lot of fun for kids as young as four. However, the hiking trails are narrow (would be considered singletrack in MTB) with long grasses and brushes growing on either side of most of the trails, so precaution is needed to guard against deer ticks and Lyme Disease.

checking trails

checking trails

There are five trails totaling more than 6 miles in the 366 acres park. Three trails, Holly Grove, Dogwood Hollow and Indian Springs, are restricted for hiking only. The other two trails, Tatum Ramble and Meadow Run, are multi-use trails. All trails, except Holly Grove, are rated moderate. Holly Grove is the easiest and shortest trail at .6 miles. The longest trail is the meadow Run at 2.3 miles.

Tatum Park is part of the Monmouth County Parks system. The park is located in the town of Middletown, just off Route 35.

Summary:
Tatum Park offers great hiking and decent mountain biking for kids and young children. The mountain bike trails or multi-use trails, are double track and not very technical as Hartshorne Woods Park or Huber Woods Park with only a couple of long, steep climbs. The mountain bike trails total only about 4 miles. My sons and I double back on some of the trails to make our ride longer and also to go down some of the hills that we climbed.

meadow run trail

meadow run trail


A bit over half of the trails are in the woods and the rest of the trails are in meadows. There aren’t too many long or steep climbs. However, the trails are sandy and you should check your speed when coming down some of the hills, especially ones that are still covered by fallen leaves that may be hiding sand patches that can throw your bike off course or stop it abruptly.
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The few steep climbs in the park were in the woods. My 9 and 11 year old sons handle the hills with not much difficulty, except on one hill where the sandy conditions near the top of climb forced them off their bikes and they pushed the bikes the rest of the way to the top of the hill. Otherwise, a novice mountain biker in good shape should be able to climb even the steepest hill and find the trails at Tatum Park a pleasant ride.

Trail Description:

Tatum Ramble Trail

Tatum Ramble Trail


Two multi-use trails for mountain biking that are rated as moderate with a total of 4 plus miles with several connecting loops. Terrain is rolling hills with a few steep climbs in wooded sections of trails. Trails are double tracks with very limited technical sections – no rocks to speak of. Mostly packed dirt by very sandy in many spots, especially trails in open meadows.

To access the hiking only trails, use the parking lot at the Red Hill Activity Center. To access the multi-use trails, use the parking lot at The Holland Activity Center. Both parking lots have restrooms, playgrounds and picnic areas.

Tatum Park trails map

Tatum Park trails map

Across the road from the Red Hill Activity Center is the Deep Cut Gardens Arboretum. Mountain bikes or any other kinds of bikes are not allowed in the garden grounds, but you can walk the lawns and gardens. There are also a couple of greenhouses and a small bonsai collection to look at.

Directions:

(As given by the Monmouth County Parks system)
• RED HILL ACTIVITY CENTER
Garden State Parkway to Exit 114. Southbound, turn left onto Red Hill Rd.; Northbound, turn right onto Red Hill Rd. Take Red Hill Road to right at light onto Dwight Road. Dwight Road to left back onto Red Hill Road and follow Red Hill Road (1.5 miles) to Park entrance on left side.
• Southbound State Hwy 35 to Kings Hwy turn right. Follow Kings Hwy. to 1st traffic light (Red Hill Road). Turn right and follow up hill to Park entrance on right.
• Northbound State Hwy 35 to right at New Monmouth Road jug handle. New Monmouth Road and cross back over Hwy 35 to stop sign. Right at stop sign onto Kings Highway to 1st traffic light (Red Hill Road). Turn left and follow up hill to Park entrance on right.
• HOLLAND ACTIVITY CENTER
Garden State Parkway to Exit 114. Southbound, turn left onto Red Hill Road.; northbound, turn right onto Red Hill Road. Follow Red Hill Road thru light and name changes to Van Schoick Road. Follow Van Schoick Rd. to Holland Rd., turn right. Follow to Park on right.
• State Hwy. 35 to South Laurel Ave. Southbound, turn right; northbound, use jughandle to make left turn. Follow South Laurel Ave. To Holland Rd., turn left. Follow to Park on right.

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