One of my longer bike rides over the past week was along part of the Lawrence-Hopewell Trail, a non-quite-finished 22-mile loop off the East Coast Greenway just south of Princeton.
We usually take the D&R Canal towpath (part of the East Coast Greenway) for about 5 miles to the turnoff to Brearley House and then ride past the Lawrenceville School and through Mercer Meadows, a big county park — basically going clockwise on the loop. This time we decided to go counterclockwise because we knew there was a section through the Carson Road Woods that we’d never been on.
Before we got to that, though, we found another section that’s been finished — a sidepath along Province Line Road. It’s the red dotted line in the upper right of this map, and its completion means the trail is 88% done. (See the full map here.)
I don’t have any photos, unfortunately, and it really seems like nothing glamorous — basically a wide asphalted sidewalk right at the side of the road, with no little strip of green acting as a divider. But it’s a key connection on a road that’s busy at rush hour and where motorists go fast at any time. One person I know grumbles about the drainage grates running across the sidepath every so often … and I could do without the rocks around them (probably also for drainage — UPDATE: driving by, that looks like it’s been covered). But it’s a big step.
After all that excitement, we rode the trail on the edge of a Bristol Myers-Squibb campus to reach Carson Road Woods. It has five miles of marked trails, including one mile that’s part of the LHT. Our route felt more meadow-y than the heavily wooded Maidenhead Meadows trail, another new section (for us, at least) near the start (the green dots leading to the parking sign on the map).
After Carson Roads Woods we rode through a neighborhood to Rosedale Road, where we’d seen an LHT sign but had no idea where the trail was. Now we know — neighborhood roads, then trail.
Had we continued on the LHT, we’d have gone through the ETS site, using a trail we’ve previously ridden. Instead, we turned toward Princeton and then home.
All in all, a 20-mile day. Essentially flat, but definitely one for the hybrids.