Henry Hudson Trail and Bike Path
Matawan Segment -- Marlboro to Matawan
The Matawan Segment of the Henry Hudson Trail
The Matawan segment of the Henry Hudson trail is a dedicated bike path over an abandoned railroad track, running north-south from a residential street in the town of Matawan to another residential street in Marlboro. It parallels Route 79 and traverses woods in the south portion, but has a more commercialized character in the north portion.
The path is 4.6 miles, one way.
Surface and safety:
The surface is asphalt, about ten feet in width. Since this path was laid in 2005, it is still in excellent condition. The path is very safe and relatively little traveled (although it just opened). However, there is a certain danger in the road crossings in this segment.
Points of interest:
This is a serene path through woods for about half of the way, and there are no real points of interest. Towards the Matawan (north) end, there are shopping areas and restaurants convenient to the path.
What's not to like:
The north end is a bit ugly, sometimes in the scenery reminding bikers of what they are riding -- a railroad track. Neither end of the path is particularly accessible, and may be hard to find. (This web site hopefully will help with that.) There is no dedicated parking lot at either end.
The south end of the path, in Marlboro, is on a rural street without curbs or sidewalks and with only a few scattered old houses. There shouldn't ever be a problem finding a place to park, but I don't find it a comfortable place to leave your car. However, there is a convenient bicycle store, the Bicycle Hub, on Route 79 just about 100 feet north of Station Road where the path starts. You can park on the grass on the side of the white garage there and take a short connecting path over to the Henry Hudson trail. Wally Tunison, the owner of the Bicycle Hub is very knowledgeable about the trail and can give you information about the current conditions, including ways to bike safely between the disconnected segments.
South end of the Matawan Segment
(map from Google)
Station Street in Marlboro where the Path Starts
The north end of this segment ends on a residential street in the town of Matawan near several highways. There is no parking lot, but the streets have sidewalks and curbs. It looks OK to leave cars there.
North End of Matawan Segment
North end of the Segment in Matawan ends on this Street (Stillwell)
Photos and comments:
Biking north near the south end
A Horse Farm near the South End
One of the road crossings
As you can see, the road crossings (which are rather frequent) are very well marked, both for bikers and for cars. However, there is a combination of factors which lends a certain danger to these crossings. Most of the roads being crossed have little traffic, which leads to a false sense of security in bikers. Also, in some of the crossings the visibility in one or both directions is somewhat obscured, and moreover some of the crossings begin with a down ramp for the bikers. Because of these factors, there is tendency to want to coast through these crossings. And that is dangerous.
The south portion of the path has deep woods
The path goes by some kind of cemetery
An old rickety footbridge goes over the path
The entire Henry Hudson Trail is flat
Near the north end the path turns ugly
As you approach Matawan you must cross a highway
Near the north end the path goes by a Stewart's and a Dunkin Donuts
As the path enters the town of Matawan, it goes near a couple of restaurants. This is the only place in the entire trail where refreshments are tantalizingly near.
Looking south at the south end of the Matawan Segment
Here the path ends abruptly, and as you can see, there doesn't appear to be any ongoing work to extend the path the last couple of miles to join the Freehold segment.