Bike ride with the kids on the scenic Columbia Trail
The Columbia Trail is easily the most pleasant and scenic rail-trail in New Jersey. The trail is a multi-use trail that follows, for the most part, the former Central Railroad of the New Jersey-Central division of the High Bridge Line. The trail is named for the Columbia Gas Transmission Corporation which donated the land in return for the permit to install a gas pipeline from Hellerton, Pennsylvania to Hanover Township, New Jersey. The entire trail runs about 15 miles from downtown High Bridge in Hunterdon County to the border of Mt. Olive and Washington Townships in Morris County skirting the mountain side atop the South Branch of the Raritan River for most of the way. My sons and I only did about 10 miles of the total trail, starting from the parking lot at High Bridge to the Robert Jenkinson Nurseries, just across West Mill Road from the parking lot for the start of the Long Valley section of the Columbia trail. The Columbia trail is hard packed crushed stones or gravel and is very smooth – except where horse traffic is heavy, making the 20 miles or so ride very fast for us. The trail is multi-use so expect to encounter equestrians, joggers, mothers with strollers, dog walkers, hikers, and of course, mountain bikers, and follow trail etiquette for shared use trails.