Riding the Henry Hudson Trail – Matawan to Marlboro Section
A leisurely bike ride on Matawan – Marlboro section of the Henry Hudson Trail near my home. The 5.2 miles section of trail is part of the 22 miles Henry Hudson Trail that runs between Freehold and the Atlantic Highlands.
The Matawan segment of the Henry Hudson Trail is a rail trail dedicated bike path that is paved over an abandoned railroad track. The trail runs north/south through mostly residential neighborhoods, mostly behind backyards of residential homes, in the town of Matawan and Marlboro.
The trail was opened in 2005 and is in very good condition. It is paved with asphalt and is about ten feet wide. The trail is basically flat. Except for the crossings at vehicular roads, the trail’s layout is relatively safe: there are no steep drops on either side of the trail and no blind curves.
There are 6 or 7 road crossings, 3 are crossing at very busy roads. The crossings are all well marked. However, if you are biking with kids, make sure you have a responsible adult at the front of the pack at the crossings to direct the kids crossing the road. Teach the kids to stop at the stop signs, get off their bikes and walk the bikes to cross the roads. It’s a hassle but that is the safe thing to do. There is one crossing where the trail slopes into the road. Make sure your kids’ bikes will stop at the stop sign.
Even though in New Jersey, drivers are required by law to stop for pedestrians at pedestrian crossings, very few drivers do. For your our safety and the safety of your kids, be alert at these crossings.
Other than the crossings, the trail provides a serene bike ride through a canopy of trees, especially in the middle section of the trail, although there isn’t anything of interest along the entire length of the trail.
At the Matawan (north) end of the trail, the trail ends abruptly in a quite neighborhood street. If you start your bike ride at this end of the trail, don’t park your car here on the street. Instead, park your car behind the YMCA next to the trail on Church Street, which parallels the street where the trail ends. This is really the beginning of the trail at this end. There is a big sign by the entrance to the parking lot, indicating the beginning of the Henry Hudson Trail.
The southern end of the trail also ends abruptly in to a neighborhood street. If you are starting your ride at this end of the trail, don’t park your car here. Instead, park behind Bicycle Hub off Route 79 south. The bike shop’s owner is Wally Tunison, who was instrumental in getting this section of the Henry Hudson Trail built. There are also parking next to the trail at some of the crossings. However, for peace of mind, you are better off parking at either end of the trail.
Here is another review of this section and the rest of the Henry Hudson Trail: Matawan Segment — Marlboro to Matawan