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We only had time for a short hike today, so we headed over to the Manasquan Reservoir in Howell. It's been quite some time since we'd been to this very pretty park, as it's more of a stroll around the reservoir rather than a hike. But by adding in the Cove Trail we managed to get in about 5.9 miles.

For 5.1 miles, just do the Perimeter Trail and skip Cove. You could tack on another mile and make it 6.9 if you take the Bear Swamp Connector trail out and back (it just goes to a small park, so we skipped it).

This is a popular place, with tons of joggers and handful of bikers/walkers. The trail surface is small crushed gravel and level. It's easy to navigate as the unmarked loop simply follows around the reservoir.

 

Read the entire Manasquan Reservoir blog.

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Comment by Linda Frank on March 30, 2011 at 2:28am

I'm very fortunate to have Manasquan Reservoir within a very short distance from my home. I do the Perimeter Loop just about every day I can (except weekends when it can be very crowded in nicer weather). 

I, too, wouldn't consider it technically a hike.  When I go I sort of cross-train between speed walking, jogging or running depending on how I'm feeling that day.  It's great for all three types of exercise in addition to just getting out in a the fresh air in a wooded surrounding.

The Cove Trail, btw, is 1.1miles (2.2 out and back).  Often when I end my turn around the Perimeter, I'll grab my hiking poles from my car and head back out on the Cove Trail.  That, I consider more of a hiking experience.  

When the entire area around the reservoir was snow/ice covered this past winter, it made for great snowshoeing as well as x-country skiing.  Hardly anyone goes there under those conditions, and on many occasions I had entire sections of the park practically to myself. I remember the reservoir itself looked quite beautiful all frozen. I was sorry I didn't bring my camera.

Over the past week or so, I've noticed the colder weather has kept a lot of people away, and I've had much quiet, solitude while out there enjoying the early budding trees and patches of blooming white narcissus. Yesterday morning a gravel-voiced, screeching heron flew so close over my head as it banked for a landing on one of the inlets that I could see its feathered markings.  It's a great place for wildlife, avian & waterfowl observing, too.

Once the weather warms a bit, it will become quite crowded again.  There'll also be a lot more bicycle riders.   It can be a bit dicey out there once they return en masse.  Sadly, it's been my experience w/them that 9 out of 10 cyclists will not announce their presence when coming upon a walker/jogger and they can come flying around some corners pretty darn fast.  I've nearly been knocked down on several occasions.  I'd advise anyone on foot out there to be aware of this and be cautious especially once the weather changes.

Comment by njHiking.com on April 1, 2011 at 7:40pm

We'll have to keep the Reservoir in mind for snowy weather, it would make for nice snowshoeing. It was quite crowded and it was chilly out still, so I can imagine has to be packed in summer.

 

Dawn

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