Hike 13: Fiddler’s Creek – Hopewell, NJ

Fiddler’s Creek Preserve was a new spot for me and a cool little place to explore on a chilly wet day. The forecast was calling for rain and a chance of snow showers so I decided to hit the trail early to beat the weather. FiddlersCreekTrack 2Hike 13 stats:
Date: April 9, 2016
Weather: 30°F, overcast, rain, snow flurries
Location: Overlook and Ravine Trails – Fiddler’s Creek Preserve, Hopewell, NJ
Distance:  2.28 miles
Time: 55 minutes
Total Ascent: 149′
Highest Elevation: 144′
Highlights: Fiddler’s Creek, Preserve regrowth area
Park Map: Fiddler’s Creek Preserve Trail Map

There are two access points to the Fiddler’s Creek trail system – a small dirt road that leads directly to the regrowth area, and the parking lot by the trailhead for Baldplate Mountain.Jeep-Patriot_001I found the dirt road, but didn’t know if I was in the right area or not, so I drove down the road and parked at the Baldplate Mountain trailhead – I’m sure I’ll be back here to hike those trails very soon! From the parking area, I walked down to, and crossed, Fiddler’s Creek Road to where the Overlook Trail (blue markers) begins.DCIM117GOPROAfter a short hike along the trail through the woods, the trail reaches the regrowth area – the field is undergoing reforestation to help the land heal from over 100 years of farming. The area is fenced off to keep deer out while it rejuvinates (please stay on the mowed paths and remember to close the gates behind you).Fiddler's Creek PreserveFiddler's Creek PreserveFiddler's Creek PreserveFiddler's Creek PreserveThe Overlook trail exits the field through another gate and heads into more mature woods, here I turned right to take the Ravine Trail (red markers) down to Fiddler’s Creek.Fiddler's Creek PreserveFiddler's Creek PreserveFiddler's Creek PreserveThe trails throughout the preserve are very well marked and include signs explaining the history of the land – as well as what the Friends of Hopewell Valley Open Space are doing to preserve it.Fiddler's Creek PreserveFiddler's Creek PreserveFiddler's Creek PreserveFiddler's Creek PreserveThe Ravine trail then climbs back up slightly and re-enters the regrowth area; a few hundred yards ahead is another gate (this is the access point from the dirt road mentioned earlier). I followed the red markers and soon rejoined the Overlook Trail (blue markers) which I took back to the Baldplate Mountain parking area.DCIM117GOPROOverall, Fiddler’s Creek was a neat place to explore on what could have been a non-hike day. It is a pretty easy hike and might be a cool place to bring my young nieces and nephews this summer.