Baldpate Mountain looks over the Delaware River from the New Jersey side of the waterway. That's Pennsylvania in the distance. The mountain (about 500 feet of elevation gain) sits within the Ted Stiles Preserve in Hopewell Township, New Jersey. The preserve is 1,800 acres of wilderness filled with pretty meadows, canopied forest, streams and rocky trails. It's home to a range of wildlife and a great place to hike.
The well-laid-out trail system promises numerous chances to come back again and again and vary your route so that you always have a new experience.
I went for the first time on a Monday at mid-morning in the first week of September and was alone on the trail all day. I passed a couple other hikers, but most of my three hours was spent gloriously communing with nature, serenaded by bird calls the whole way.
The trails are perfectly groomed, but I imagine they can get muddy when it's been raining. Some areas have small wooden plank bridges in place to pass through soggy areas. Wear comfy hiking shoes and bring plenty of water. Apply sun screen (the trail is mostly under cover of the forest but emerges often into open spaces exposed to sun) and some insect repellent.
My five-mile hike took about 2.5 hours. I chose to follow trails all the way back to a high point on Fiddlers Creek Road and follow the paved road back downhill to my vehicle, thus making a loop. You also can choose to do out-and-back routes. I am excited to return and try longer options and bring along friends.
During my hike, I saw spiders (and walked through many low-hanging spider webs), squirrels, chipmunks, moles, worms, wildflowers, berries, mushrooms and dozens of bird species. I also saw evidence of deer.
The first section of the trail from the main parking area is for hikers only, but most other parts of the preserve and forest offer wide paths that are multi-use. You could be sharing some trails with mountain bikers, horseback riders and trail runners. You can drive farther up Fiddlers Creek Road to find additional parking areas at the top and then work your way through the trails in reverse. Horse trailer parking also is available in the lot at the top.
I liked the steep rocky incline that you reach about 30 minutes into the hike if you are starting from the main parking area trailhead. This is a good spot to take a nice group picture, too, and offers some of the most technical hiking of the trail that I was on.
A large meadow that is at the very end of the "hiking only" Blue Trail is filled with sunflowers and songbirds. This space opens up to a set of picnic tables and is an ideal spot for a lunch or snack break while relaxing in a gorgeous sun-splashed setting.
The site features 12 miles of hiking trails that are free and open to the public. This is a carry-in, carry-out preserve. This means, leave no trace when you use the park. I hope this helps you discover the fantastic outdoors experiences available at Ted Stiles Preserve at Baldpate Mountain.
Thanks for reading.