Welcome to the first post in our new series of Adventure Recreation Destination Reviews! We may not be able to bring you to the trailhead yet, so in the meantime we’re bringing the trailhead to you with all of the info that you’ll need to know before setting out on your own adventure.
Our very first locale is the humble Snuffy Hollow Trail in Jamesburg County Park. This is a relatively easy going 2 mile loop trail located in the Spotswood Outlier the northernmost region of New Jersey’s famed Pine Barrens. It’s like a “Pine Barrens Lite” for those of you in north Jersey who don’t want to make the drive all the way down to Atsion. Emphasis on the “lite”, though, as while this is a fun local trail that provides a great opportunity to get outdoors for an afternoon, it’s nestled in a fairly suburban area and you’d be hard pressed to make a full day of it even if you’re a relatively slow wanderer.
The gravel parking area is easy to find and can accommodate five to six cars, which is probably ample for the actual amount of trail space that is available.
The trailhead isn’t actually at this diminutive parking lot, though – to reach it, you’ll need to head back out to the street and walk up another 50 yards to reach the trail.
You’ll know that you’re at the start of the trail when you see this interesting piece of wooden architecture, which is the origin point of the Red Trail.
The Red Trail follows a very straight and gradual decline further into the woods. It is worth noting that the trails here are generally well marked, with both color-coded sign posts utilizing directional indicators, as well as blazes on the trees.
The footing is easy, without many tripping hazards or loose rocks, making this trail quite suitable for both trail running and potentially single-track biking.
There are no vistas to speak of in the traditional sense here, with an elevation gain of 118 ft, but that’s not to say that there are no views to be had in the spring.
Our beloved Red Trail soon leads to the Yellow Loop, which is the specific hike that we came here for. The trail junction is clear and marked exceedingly well with signage.
From here, the Yellow Trail follows a lazily winding path through this section of the Spotswood Outlier. The sandy soil and high prevalence of coniferous trees, along with visual indicators of brush fires (controlled or otherwise) truly does feel like a taste of the pine barrens.
While the elevation gain/loss is barely noticeable from a practical sense, the trails themselves can be a little muddy and the soil here seems to hold surface water easily. There were many puddles that appeared semi-permanent and likely contribute highly to a robust mosquito population. While the gnats were numerous on this May afternoon, I would highly suggest considering some additional protection from the mosquitoes and ticks if you visit during the summer months.
The Yellow Trail remains enjoyable if not exactly noteworthy, with excellent trail blazes and clear indication of the actual trail such that one would not likely have trouble finding it at any point.
Overall, the Snuffy Hollow Trail is worth a visit if you’re already fairly close, but I would not consider this a destination for anyone more than 1/2 hour away at most. With a well marked parking area, nicely maintained and delineated trails, and a short loop hike through flat forestland that will bring you right back to your destination, this is a quintessential “walk in the woods” and for that reason I’d recommend checking it out. The best thing that Snuffy Hollow may have going for it is that it’s a relatively unknown area in terms of New Jersey’s classic hikes, and this you’ll likely find more peace and solitude there than at one of the more famous destinations that the Garden State has to offer.