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Orchard/Hamilton/Pioneer Loop

Intermediate/Difficult
 3.5 (2) RECOMMENDED ROUTE

A loop on wooded trails with the added bonus of a glimpse into the park's rich pastoral past.


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Map Key

6.4

Miles

10.3

KM

Loop

861' 262 m

High

375' 114 m

Low

682' 208 m

Up

698' 213 m

Down

4%

Avg Grade (2°)

20%

Max Grade (11°)

Dogs Leashed

Features Fall Colors · Wildflowers

Family Friendly While the full loop may be slightly too long for younger children, this loop will give older kids a sense of traveling back in time to explore the history of the park.

Overview

This hike offers visitors a glimpse into the history of the park as well as views of the Delaware River and stretches of quiet trail through the woods.

Description

Parking can be found at the Donkeys Corner Trail parking area. The hike starts on the Orchard Trail: Millbrook Village to Hamilton Ridge Trail Connector which can be accessed off of Old Mine Road, just north of the Millbrook Village Historic Site and Millbrook Ranger Station.

From the start, climb a short hill on the Orchard Trail: Millbrook Village to Hamilton Ridge Trail Connector. The trail quickly flattens out and then starts a very gradual descent to its junction with the Hamilton Ridge Trail where you'll take a left. Continue along the Hamilton Ridge Trail for a little over a mile and a half. The trail continues gradually descending through the majestic eastern hardwood forests the are prominent in the area. This trail was once a road, and you'll come across crumbling remnant of pavement along the trail.

From the Hamilton Ridge Trail, take a right onto the Pioneer Trail. The trail briefly flattens out and you may spot remnants of old farmhouse buildings and structures such as stone fences and old lime kilns. This is a particularly special opportunity to observe the active reclamation of farm fields by the forests from which they were originally cleared. You may also spot views of the Delaware River through the trees.

At about 4.5 miles, the Pioneer Trail starts to climb with a couple steeper sections back up to its junction with the Hamilton Ridge Trail. This section will be the most strenuous part of the hike so be sure to save some energy for the hike back up.

Take a left back onto the Hamilton Ridge Trail and trace your steps back down to the Orchard Trail: Millbrook Village to Hamilton Ridge Trail Connector and back to your car. If you have some additional time, stop by the Millbrook Historic Village - on summer weekends several of the buildings are open to the public.

Flora & Fauna

Eastern hardwood forests are predominant in this area. Keep your eyes peeled for chestnut, white oak, and northern red oak along the trail. Mountain laurel has also been seen in this area from time to time.

History & Background

You may spot remnants of old farmsteads, overgrown fields, stone fences, and old lime kilns along this trail, reminding visitors of the rich pastoral history of the park.

Contacts

Shared By:

Kristen Arendt

Trail Ratings

  3.5 from 2 votes

#4151

Overall
  3.5 from 2 votes
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Recommended Route Rankings

#44

in New Jersey

#4,151

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60 Views Last Month
1,072 Since Jul 7, 2016
Intermediate/Difficult

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Photos

Moss & Rock & Trunk
Dec 7, 2017 near Hardwick, NJ

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Check-Ins

Aug 31, 2019
John Patrick
Sep 16, 2017
Eugene Ferguson
Bugs were bad overall easy stroll H T was carriage trail for Pseg 6.3mi