Green Loop, Cheesequake State Park, New Jersey

Matawan, NJ
Length: 3.20 mi.
Type: Loop

About This Trail

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ACTIVITIES: Hiking, swimming, sledding

LENGTH OF HIKE: 3.2 miles




PARKING FEE/PASS: Park fee/car

TOILETS: Seasonal near campsites, available in the Interpretive Center, a little way along the trail, 7 days a week in the summer and Wed–Sun during the off-season.



DOGS ALLOWED: Yes, on leash

BIKES/HORSES/MOTORS ON TRAIL: No. *There is a small section of the trail toward the end where vehicles can pass through.




GEAR SUGGESTIONS: Carrier, water, bug spray

Cheesequake State Park offers something for everyone. With six different trail options, the local Hike it Baby ambassadors say they have been able to offer everything from adult-paced carrier hikes to toddler-led hikes in this park, making it a perfect well-rounded park, no matter your ability level or experience on trails. For example, if you are still not comfortable with a carrier, there is an option to do a stroller hike, which allows families who are new to hiking with a baby to get out there on a trail hike.

Opened in 1940, this 1,200-acre parcel of land boasts all kinds of activities from freshwater and saltwater marshes and a tidal estuary. The park sits on the edge of the Lower New York Bay, and Cheesequake Creek runs through it, making it a
great location for fishing, boating, paddling, and swimming; and, of course, there are miles of trails. In the winter, you can come back for sledding as well.

The different trail options that are Hike it Baby– friendly range from 1.5 to 3.5 miles, and all work well for toddlers. There’s also one trail designated for mountain biking, so no need to worry about toddlers who run ahead getting in the way of a biker. If you have a toddler who is not quite ready to hike or is just having a rough day, start off in the Nature Center just off the Green/Red/Blue Trail. The center offers live displays of animals that can be found throughout the park, murals of the park’s ecosystems, and exhibits depicting the park’s local history. There are also several bird houses located outside the Nature Center.

Our suggested trail to start with in the park is the Green Trail, which is typically hiked at an adult pace, so there is not much meandering, but older toddlers with some hiking experience can easily hike the whole thing. Newer walkers will be up  and down. Look for exposed root systems on the sandy parts of the trails, and expect to find several fallen trees next to the trail (leftovers from Hurricane Sandy) that seem perfectly placed for climbing and practicing the balance beam. This trail also has several flights of stairs, and there are a couple areas where you have to navigate roots.

This trail is great to stop and play. There are multiple decision points where the different colored trails intersect, and these make natural stopping points. One of the other trails they hike often in this park is the Yellow Trail. It’s a short, easy one that can be tacked on as a toddler-paced hike at the end of a longer adult-paced hike if the kids have been carried for too long.

Bugs? Ticks? Poison ivy? Jersey has it all, so be aware of any off-trail adventuring. The one good thing about this trail is it’s a really shaded trail, so sun exposure isn’t an issue. And for footwear, hiking boots are probably best, but if you have sturdy hiking sandals, you should be fine.

The best time to hike this trail is in the fall. The crowds have subsided and the colors are incredible. This trail goes through a mix of hardwood (Atlantic white cedar) and pine forest, and both salt- and freshwater marshes. Make sure to bring a camera to capture the wide array of golden glowing colors and all of the animals.

There are 53 tent and trailer sites open April 1 through October 31. NJ residents pay less! There are also six group sites open May 1 through October 31 that can accommodate up to 25 campers each. No showers in group campsites. No pets in any campsites.

There is a bench at the beginning of the main trailhead and another bench where the Red/Green Trail splits; however, several of our new mamas have found fallen trees and old tree stumps to sit on along the trails.

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Trail Features

Seasons Fall, Spring, Summer, and Winter
Surface type Dirt
Elevation gain 315 ft.
Stroller friendly No
ADA accessible No
Water fountains Yes
Bathrooms Yes
Cell reception Excellent
Pet friendly Yes
Nearby convenience store Yes
Camping Nearby Yes
Emergency support
within 5 miles

Trail highlights

Shaded Hike and Visitor Center

“This trail has something for everyone. Boardwalks wind through marshy areas, the trees form tunnels over the path, and there are lots of exposed root systems and fallen trees alongside the trail for little ones to explore. This trail takes you past a pond with a little birdwatching blind and up and down several flights of stairs. Our kid leaders never get bored because the terrain is constantly changing and they’re always excited to see what’s next ” ALI CHANDRA

Fee & Parking Details

Fee : $10.00

Fees are only applicable from Memorial Day through Labor Day:
NJ Residents: $5 Weekday/$10 Weekend or Holiday
Non-NJ Residents: $10 Weekday/$20 Weekend or Holiday

There is a small parking lot right by the trailhead (located on the left after entering park). However, this lot tends to fill up quickly, especially on the weekends. If the trailhead lot is full, you can also park near the ranger station and walk down the hill to the trailhead.

Trail Contributor

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Hike it Baby Trail Guide is managed by the Family Trail Guide team. If a trail has been “abandoned” by the initial owner, it gets adopted by the team. Also, if there are no trails in the area, the Family Trail Guide team researches trails that are family friendly in the area to insure that hikes cover all areas where Hike it Baby hikes.


Trail Map

Getting There

Take Garden State Parkway to Exit 120.  From here, there are many road signs that lead you to the park.  Turn right onto Matawan Rd.  Then, turn right onto Morristown Rd.  Then, turn right onto Gordon Rd.  This will take you right to the park entrance.