Overview: This kid-friendly walk through marshes and swamps in Lord Stirling Park features boardwalks, ponds, and what might be the oldest tree in New Jersey.
Hike Length: 3.5 miles (or more or less if you want)
Elevation Gain: negligible
Lord Stirling Park is in the western part of the Great Swamp, adjacent to the Great Swamp National Wildlife Refuge.A variety of habitats including swamps, rivers, marshes, meadows, ponds, and forests provide homes for diverse plant and animal populations in this environmentally sensitive park.
The Great Swamp is a wetland remnant of the Glacial Lake Passaic which covered the area approximately 15,000 years ago. The area was much used by Paleo-Indian groups and later by the Lenape. In colonial times, what is now Lord Stirling Park was part of the estate of William Alexander, the Lord of Stirling, who served as a major general in the Continental Army. In the 1960’s, grassroots citizens rallied to protect the precious wetlands from becoming an international airport. Consequently, 2,600 acres of land were presented to the Department of the Interior to create the core of the Great Swamp National Wildlife Refuge; the property adjacent to the Environmental Education Center.
Location: Basking Ridge, Somerset County, NJ
Parking: A large parking lot is available. Address: 190 Lord Stirling Road Basking Ridge, NJ
Lord Stirling Park contains 9.5 miles of trails, including 3 miles of boardwalks. The loop outlined above is about 3.5 miles long, but you can create a shorter or longer hike depending on what you’re looking for. Since the park is in a wetlands area, there is minimal elevation gain through the trail network.
Boondocks Boardwalk/”La Plus Grande”
The most interesting areas of the park are generally those where the map indicates boardwalks (dashed lines). The nicest part of all is along the Boondocks Boardwalk in the northern part of the park through “La Plus Grande” area.
The Great Swamp Oak
A lovely pond located behind the Environmental Education Center.