Hike Distance: 5.74 miles
Trails: Rocky Point, Battery Loop, Black Fish Cove
I last hiked this section of the park in 2016. I hiked the western side of the park in 2018. And what’s weird, all three times that I’ve hiked this park have been in the second week of July. My rationale this time was simply ease. I wasn’t planning on hiking today, but found the time, so I didn’t want to drive far.
I like the county park system, I’m not a fan of the trails in the parks; with the exception of Hartshorne Woods. And there have been great changes since I was last on this side of the park six years ago. For one, money has been spent to upgrade and make the part nicer and easier to get around. One example sits next to the trail kiosk; there is a stand to fix bikes, including an air pump. True, the park sees many mountain bikes, but it’s a nice touch to have a stand to fix bikes when needed. Further, (on this side of the park) the Rocky Point trail is really the only non-paved trail and it actually had blazes. Granted, with the number of bikes using the trail, you don’t have to worry about getting lost. I walked by restrooms, but I don’t know if the building was open.
My plan was to hike Rocky Point, and then hike Battery Loop, which I did not hike six years ago.
When I started, there was a dark rain cloud over the park. I wasn’t worried about rain as the rain was supposed to hold off until much later. At times it was pretty dark and with the trees real close it felt darker than normal.
The eastern side of the park is made up of the grounds of the former Navesink Military Reservation. While the batteries are the main attraction, there are other buildings and relics leftover from when the area was an active base.
The Rocky Point trail parallels the shore of the Shrewsbury and Navesink Rivers, though most of the time you are a hundred feet or so above the rivers. One part of the Rocky Point trail wanders by one of the old Fire Control Sites. I only approached to take a picture, I couldn’t tell if the building was accessible. My guess is not.
The sun peeked in and out for most of the hike, though came out for good at the end.
There were a couple of nice views of Sea Bright, that probably are nicer when the leaves are off the trees.
The trail walks above the rivers, and there are unmarked trails people have made to get down to the water. With erosion, some of those trails have become dangerous.
I took the quarter-mile long Black Fish Cove trail down to the pier. There are signs warning of a steep incline, but it really isn’t that bad. The pier looks out over the Navesink river. Take these next three pictures and stitch them left to right for a “panoramic” view of the Navesink River from the pier.
In the woods I found this hatch. I have no idea what it is, it’s not listed on any maps I have.
After finishing the Rocky Point trail, I dropped my trekking poles off at the car, as the Battery Loop trail is paved. I had never hiked the trail, and I was interested in the history.
Another tree swallowed by Kudzu.
The first battery I came to was Battery 219, which originally housed a 6-inch gun. The battery was not open.
The Battery Loop trail was lined with a bumper crop of Common Mugwort.
The main attraction on the Battery Loop trail is Battery Lewis, which originally held 16-inch guns. The original guns are long gone.
Here’s a shot looking down corridor between the two casements. Powder rooms, ammunition rooms and the electrical generators were housed down there. Apparently, there are tours on the weekends, but later in the day. I’ll have to do that once.
Since the original guns are gone, the County Park System was able to get a 16-inch gun from the battleship New Jersey. The original guns in the casement were 64 feet long, the New Jersey’s gun is 68 feet long. It’s huge. The shell could reach waters off Point Pleasant. The Navesink Military Reservation was built as an auxiliary to Fort Hancock on Sandy Hook. Two sites worth reading are:
I took a walk down the trail downrange from the guns and hiked the Battery loop back to my car.
I like the improvements that have been made in Hartshorne Woods. I plan on coming back again and hiking some of the trails in the center of the park that I haven’t hiked.