Scenic and easy running along New Jersey’s Lawrence Hopewell Trail

photo (6)cLocation: Just a few miles south of Princeton, NJ, and about an hour from both Philly and NYC.  The trail passes near a few towns, including Lawrenceville, Hopewell and Pennington.

Distance: The trail is still being built, but once finished, it should be a 22 mile loop. Right now, its possible to run at least 12 miles on the trail, plus it connects to other trails if you photo (7)want a longer run. Lots of side trails allow you to add on miles without having to repeat anything you’ve already run. And at Brearley House, it connects to the D&R Canal towpath, which you can follow for 30+ flat miles in either direction.

Terrain: The main trail is mostly groomed gravel, with a few spots of paved trail. There are also numerous connecting side trails, mostly single-track, consisting of dirt and roots.  A few boardwalks and bridges have been added to especially wet spots.

Directions to Trailhead: The trail can be accessed from numerous locations, all of which have parking lots. To find out more:

photo (9)


Highlights: This trail doesn’t have much elevation but the scenery is beautiful. The route runs through old farms, dense forest, and past streams and lakes, and past the old AT&T Pole Farm. You’re likely to see deer, wild turkey, hawks, falcons, sparrows, butterflies, frogs, and more. In late June, after dark, fireflies put on an amazing light show.  Although NJ is densely populated, most of this trail remains either in the woods or fields, and it’s a surprisingly peaceful trail for running in NJ.

Mark Spencer works as an editor for a publisher based in Hoboken, NJ.  More of his trail running photos can be found at