SOURLAND MOUNTAIN NATURE PRESERVE
Rileyville Road, East Amwell Township, southeastern most section of Hunterdon County
273 acres


Directions:

from the Flemington Area:

Take Route 202/31 south from the Flemington Circle for 5 miles to the jughandle for Wertsville Road. Exit onto Wertsville Road (Route 602) and use the traffic light to crossover Route 202/31. Continue on Wertsville Road for about 3.3 miles to Rileyville Road (Route 607). Turn right onto Rileyville Road and go about 1.7 miles. The park entrance is on the left and is marked by a Green Acres Sign as well as a County Park Sign. The entrance is shared by two other driveways, continue up the center driveway to the small parking area. Do not block the gated access road.

from the Lambertville Area:

Take Route 202 North for about 6 miles to Ringoes. Turn right onto Wertsville Road (Route 602). Then follow the direction as above.


Geology:

The Sourland Ridge is nearly 20 miles long and consists of gray diabase or "trap rock" and Lockatong formation sedimentary rock (shale). The Sourland region covers parts of lower Hunterdon County (East and West Amwell Townships); upper Mercer County (Hopewell Township and Hopewell Boro); and southwestern Somerset County (Hillsborough and Montgomery Townships).

The headwaters of 8 streams: Stony Brook Watershed; Millstone River Watershed (Bedens and Rock Brooks); South Branch of the Raritan River Watershed (Neshanic River and Back Brook); and Alexauken Watershed (Alexauken Creek, Swan Creek and Moores Creek).

There are lots of "perched" wetlands on top of Sourland Mountain.

In the northeastern corner of the Sourlands, is a place called the Devilís Half-Acre. It is a field of massive boulders, some of which form strange configurations.


History:

1600s  --  Province Line Road that goes through the Sourlands marked the dividing line between East and West Jersey.

This area was known as Pero Hill. There was a lot of quarrying in the area. The traprock was used to produce railroad ballast, concrete aggregate, and surfacing for road beds.

Revolutionary War -- John Hart, a signer of the Declaration of Independence, hid in what is known as Hart's Cave while fleeing from the British.

General Washington met with 13 generals to plan the Battle of Monmouth in a house near Hopewell. 

prior and during part of the Civil War --  it is said that, as part of the Underground Railroad, slaves hid in caves and behind boulders in the Sourlands.

1932 -- Famous aviator Charles Lindbergh founded his 700 acre, 23 room estate in the Sourlands.  He had seen the long wooded ridge from the air and decided to make his home there.  Famous visitors included President Calvin Coolidge, aviator Amelia Earhart, and comic Will Rogers. The Lindbergh Estate, the site of the famous baby kidnapping-murder in 1932, is an adjacent property to the preserve.  Today, the Lindbergh estate is operated by the State as a home for disadvantaged youth. 

today  -- owned and administered by the Hunterdon County Parks Commission.

There are a number of preserves in the central part of the Sourlands, including: the D&R Greenways Northern Stony Brook Preserve (500 acres and including McBurney Woods), Somer Park Preserve, and Gibbons Preserve; the Hunterdon Country Preserve; the Highfields (the former Lindbergh Estate); and Amwell Lake. In the southwest part of the Sourlands is the steep-sloped Goat Hill Natural Heritage Area, Belle Mountain Recreation Area and Bald Pate Mountain. In the northeast are Otto's Farm Park and Somerset County's Sourland Mountain Preserve.

Source: http://www.sourland.org/virtual/virtual.html


Habitats:

deciduous forest, swamp, streams


Facilities:

No restrooms facilities.


Trails:

Service Road Trail: There is only one main trail in the park. It is very wide and flat, with a short uphill slope at the end. The trail winds through a beautiful deciduous forest, strewn with large boulders. About halfway down the trail you will come to a large marsh on the left side. This wooded, wetland habitat provides excellent habitat for frogs and salamanders. The trail continues past a boulder field and eventually comes to a dead-end.

South Loop Trail: This trail branches off to the right, about a quarter of a mile from the start of the service road trail. It can be a very wet trail and crosses a small stream where you must rock hop or get your feet wet. In spring, many wildflowers can be found along this trail.

(Source: http://www.co.hunterdon.nj.us/depts/parks/guides/Sourland.htm)

05/05/2004.  Dog Sonar and I did not get far along the main trail as it started to rain heavily and we decided to leave and return another day. 

03/25/2005.  Rosemary and Carl Cooney, Ceferino Santana and dog Sonar walked the out and back main trail to where it petered out.  Did not see any great views from the top of the walk.  We had looked forward to seeing the "boulder field" noted on the trail map but were not impressed when we reached the area.  We all felt there was a better boulder area not far from the start of the trail.  We took some pictures of "flat Stanley" among the boulders.  This was done for a grammar school project for little Laura Li involving having a friend take pictures of a paper Stanley in different locations.  Dr. Patrick L. Cooney. 


PLANT LIST:
Dr. Patrick L. Cooney
* = date plant found in bloom, 5/05/04  very brief visit


Trees:
Acer platanoides (Norway maple)
Acer saccharum (sugar maple)
Amelanchier arborea (shadbush)
Betula lenta (black birch)
Carpinus caroliniana (musclewood)
Carya tomentosa (mockernut hickory)
Carya ovata (shagbark hickory)
Fagus grandifolia (American beech)
Fraxinus americana (white ash)
Juniperus virginiana (red cedar)
Liriodendron tulipifera (tulip tree)
Nyssa sylvatica (tupelo)
Ostrya virginiana (American hop hornbeam) ?
Prunus serotina (black cherry)
Quercus alba (white oak)
Quercus prinus (chestnut oak)
Quercus rubra (red oak)
Quercus velutina (black oak)
Tilia americana (American basswood)
Ulmus americana (American elm)

Shrubs and sub-shrubs:
Berberis thunbergii (Japanese barberry) *
Corylus sp. (hazel)
Elaeagnus umbellata (autumn olive) *
Lindera benzoin (spicebush)
Lonicera morrowii (Morrow's honeysuckle) *
Rosa multiflora (multiflora rose)
Rubus occidentalis (black raspberry)
Rubus phoenicolasius (wineberry)
Viburnum prunifolium (blackhaw viburnum) *
Vinca minor (periwinkle)

Vines:
Celastrus orbiculatus (Asiatic bittersweet)
Dioscorea villosa (wild yam root)
Lonicera japonica (Japanese honeysuckle)
Parthenocissus quinquefolia (Virginia creeper)
Smilax sp. (greenbrier)
Toxicodendron radicans (poison ivy)
Vitis sp. (grape)

Herbs:
Actaea sp. (baneberry)
Alliaria petiolata (garlic mustard) *
Allium vineale (field garlic)
Amphicarpaea bracteata (hog peanut)
Anemone quinquefolia (wood anemone)
Arisaema triphyllum (jack-in-the-pulpit)
Barbarea vulgaris (common wintercress) *
Cardamine concatenata (cut-leaved toothwort)
Claytonia virginica (spring beauty) *
Collinsonia canadensis (horsebalm)
Erigeron sp. (fleabane)
Erythronium americanum (trout lily)
Galium aparine (cleavers)
Geranium maculatum (wild geranium) *
Geum canadense (white avens)
Panax trifolius (dwarf ginseng)
Podophyllum peltatum (mayapple)
Polygonatum biflorum (smooth true Solomon's seal)
Potentilla simplex (common cinquefoil) *
Prenanthes altissima (tall white lettuce)
Ranunculus abortivus (kidney-leaved crowfoot) *
Ranunculus recurvatus (hooked crowfoot)
Sanguinaria canadensis (bloodroot)
Smilacina racemosa (false Solomon's seal)
Symplocarpus foetidus (skunk cabbage)
Taraxacum officinale (dandelion) *
Viola pubescens (yellow forest violet) *
Viola sororia (common blue violet) *

Sedges:
Carex laxiflora type (loose-flowered sedge)

Grasses:
Microstegium vimineum (Japanese stilt grass)
Poa annua (annual bluegrass) *

Ferns and Fern Allies:
Cystopteris sp. (fragile fern)
Equisetum arvense (field horsetail)
Polystichum acrostichoides (Christmas fern)