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Helyar Woods at Rutgers Gardens - 12/19/09

With a ton of snow predicted and it already flurrying with a dusting by 8am, we scrapped plans to try and squeeze in a longer hike before the snow hit. We headed for a short hike at Helyar Woods, a small parcel of woods adjacent to Rutgers Gardens, in New Brunswick. Of course the snow stopped as we arrived and didn't really kick back in until 3pm or so. Oh well.

Map of the Gardens with the woods indicated, but not really a trail map. Directions can be found here.

2.5 miles; very easy, little elevation gain. This is a very short, easy hike at a piece of woods mainly used for dog walking and light walking. Some of the trails are marked, others not, in a seemingly haphazard way... but it's not a large or confusing park. There may be a trail map available but nothing was open the day we were there, and I've located nothing online.

The trail starts at the parking lot next to the log cabin (which can be rented for parties and is very nice) and goes through the woods along Weston Mill Pond. It ends under an overpass of Rt. 18, and we took the other path back along some fields, past an old Christmas Tree farm that has been left to grow (huge pines, all in rows, pretty neat) and back to the lot. When things are in bloom, be sure to check out the gardens and the bamboo forest.

This nice area is sandwiched between some busy highways... highrises, highway overpass with grafitti, and even On The Border on Rt. 1 are sometimes visible, plus road noise. The park still makes for a nice, quick hike, however.

Trail ends just past this overpass.

Old Christmas Tree farm - rows of large pines is quite neat to walk through.

At one point you can see Rt. 1 and On The Border... but look on the plus side: you could drive over there after your hike to eat. We're partial to their avocado enchiladas and the Swirl margaritas.

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