Overview: Caven Point is an ecologically-unique area of Liberty State Park that provides critical habitat for many species including migrating birds and features a sandy beach, saltwater marshland, and a boardwalk trail.
Note: the area is only open to the public seasonally from October 1 - February 28
Hike Length: 2 miles out-and-back from the nearest parking lot
A unique habitat: The Caven Point beach area of Liberty State Park is the largest stretch of natural beach in the Upper New York Bay and Hudson River measuring approximately one-half mile long. In fact, the beach is the longest uninterrupted beach found anywhere between the Verrazano and George Washington Bridges on the Hudson River / Upper New York Bay waterfront. (Source: Friends of Liberty State Park)
Ecology: Caven Point consists of sandy beach, saltwater marshland, tidal pools, mud flats and upland maritime forest. The site provides critical habitat and nesting grounds for a variety of in-water, brackish and upland floral and fauna species year-round. The location of the site along the Atlantic Flyway and within the harbor estuary makes it an ideal stop for migrating birds. Park visitors have reported eyewitness accounts of notable species including, but not limited to, snowy owl, deer, northern diamondback terrapin, peregrine falcon, osprey, harbor seals, horseshoe crab, yellow-crowned night-heron, black-crowned night-heron, red knot, black skimmer, northern harrier, American oystercatcher, blue heron, horned lark, and Atlantic sturgeon. (Source: Friends of Liberty State Park)
Elevation Gain: negligible
Location: Liberty State Park (New Jersey’s most popular state park), Jersey City, NJ
Parking: Park in one of the parking lots along Morris Pesin Drive. The further west you park, the less you’ll have to walk.
From the parking lot, walk west, then follow the waterfront walkway as it makes a 90 degree turn left and follows the waterfront. The walkway will take you past Liberty National Golf Course then you’ll reach a boardwalk across a marshy wetland area.
You’ll soon reach the trailhead for the Caven Point trail on your left. If it’s between October 1st and February 28th, you’re in luck – the gate will be open. Otherwise, from March 1st to September 30th, it is closed to the public and only accessible by guided interpretive walks.
The sign at the trailhead explains that the trail closes in order to provide “undisturbed breeding and nesting habitat for migratory and resident bird populations.”
After a short jog to the left along a dirt path, the trail becomes a boardwalk and remains so until the end.
Where the trail makes a sharp 90 degree turn to the left, you can step off the boardwalk and walk along a sandy path to the beach.
If you continue to the western end of the boardwalk, you’ll reach a small forested area and a marshy tidal area.