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My Visit to Hartshorne Woods Park

By Julia Mortimer

With the windows down and music playing, I turn right into Hartshorne Parks Rocky Point Entrance. My best friend and I pull into the newly paved parking lot, we gather our things, and our journey begins. My skin absorbs the sun that is radiating onto my face, my legs waking up on this beautiful Wednesday morning as we trek uphill to view Seabright and the Navesink River from the park’s overlook. The start of summer’s unforgiving humidity, which I have yet to grow used to, feels as though it is hugging my body.Hartshorne Woods Park Highlands New Jersey 2

My friend and I finally reach the top of the overlook and sit at a table to delve into our breakfast sandwiches from Brennan’s Delicatessen. It was lovely to enjoy my bacon egg and cheese on a hard roll while looking out over the Navesink, the beautiful place I have the privilege of calling home. Having not frequented this Hartshorne location, I was pleasantly surprised at the many different wonderful views. I am constantly in Sea Bright, driving to the beach and enjoying the small beach towns’ inviting atmosphere, but seeing it from an elevated viewpoint felt so calming.

Hartshorne Woods Park Highlands New Jersey

After finishing our breakfast, we disposed of our garbage in one of the many conveniently placed trash cans throughout the park. It is now time to continue our hike, beginning with climbing the hill above Battery Lewis to appreciate yet another beautiful view of the park from above. We then began hiking down to the beach area, where we saw a young couple enjoying themselves with their puppy. We set ourselves up on the dock to soak up the sun and relax. We were pleasantly surprised at how clean the beach area was.

Red rock Hartshorne Woods Park Highlands New Jersey

We then paid a visit to red rock, located near the dock/ beach area. If you are trying to hike there from the parking lot, it is to the right of the Battery Lewis hill. After walking right on the cement path, you will come across a smaller path off to the side. Once on this dirt path, veer left and down. From the beach, we made our way up to the large red rock formation. If you haven’t been there before, it is known as a popular place that people enjoy climbing and winding down amongst the trees with a view of the Navesink River.Hartshorne Woods Park Highlands New Jersey trails hiking

Once we had our fair share of R&R at red rock, we continued our hike along the beautiful trails of Hartshorne, feeling the dirt under our shoes and appreciating the moments when the trees were shading us from the unrelenting sun. I forgot how peaceful it is to sweat out my stresses and escape the noise of suburbia. After completing our hike, I felt clear-minded and exhilarated. We began making our way to the car, stopping at the new beautiful bathrooms. The days of disgusting port-a-potties are gone.

Hartshorne Woods Park is the perfect place for a beginner hiker (like myself), an avid hiker or someone who just wants to eat lunch with a loved one and their dog. All walks of life have a reason to visit one if not all three of Hartshorne’s locations in Highlands and Locust.

The park opens daily at 7 am. Closing time is 9 pm through June 10, 9:30 pm from June 11 to 15, and 9 pm from July 16 to Aug. 19.

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