Woodfield Reservation
Princeton, Mercer County, New Jersey
121 acres

(Source: http://www.princetontwp.org/woodfld.html; http://www.njtrails.org/trailguide.php?TrailID=8)


From the intersection of Cherry Valley Road and the Great Road, head south on the Great Road for 0.6 of a mile and turn right onto Great Road West.  (Heading straight takes you onto Great Road East and is the thru way south to Princeton.)  A drive of 0.2-0.3 of a mile bring you to the reservation entrance on the right.   

The main entrance: off the old Great Road across from Tenacre Foundation; a gravel drive leads to a small parking lot.

Second entrance: a footpath from the south side of Drakes Corner Road.


The reservation lies along the steep south slope of Princeton's diabase ridge, which has been called an "island of forest" in a "sea of suburban and agricultural development; extensive fields of large boulders and outcrops of diabase.  Two interesting features: Council Rock, which overlooks a large, heavily bouldered basin, and Tent Rock, a massive boulder.


Much of Woodfield used to be farmed.

late 1930s  --  the land was left to revert to woodland.

1964 to 1966  --  Mr. and Mrs. Pennypacker, Mrs. John P. Poe, and Princeton University made available a total of about 101 acres for public open space to Princeton Township.

1974 -- Mrs. Poe donates the parking lot on the Great Road.

1980  --  Mr. and Mrs. Kerr gave 2 acres in the northeast corner and an easement to Drakes Corner Road.

1992  --  agreement between the Princeton Regional Planning Board and developers of Rushbrook to add seven additional acres, including Tent Rock, to Woodfield. New access trails into the Reservation from Rushbrook will also be added.

1993  --  Lanwin Development adds a 2- and 8-acre parcel in the northwest area.

1994  --  Mrs. Poe passed away and the lower fifty acres reverted to her estate and were available for sale. Neighboring Tenacre Foundation, Friends of Princeton Open Space, and other organizations and individuals, donated funds and time to enable the Township to acquire this important part of Woodfield Reservation.

1998  --  members of The Demenil Trust add an 8-acre lot that included Tent Rock.


mature forest, fairly steep slopes, streams and ponds.


You can make the top of the figure 8 trail by heading out on the Scout Trail: 0.56 Miles; the bottom part of the figure 8 trail is made by the South Loop: 1.19 Miles; a trailer on the end of the bottom of the figure 8 is the Council Rock Trail: 0.12 Miles to Council Rock.

Princeton Day School students cut a trail bordering school property, making the connection to Woodfield.

Some of the highlights of the terrain are Tent Rock, a 15-foot high tent-like boulder formation, and Council Rock, an outcrop overlooking a boulder field.  (www.towntopics.com/jul3003/other2.html)

10/18/04.  Upon arrival at the parking area I see a lot of white signs.  I find that they are posted signs indicating that it is bow hunting season and the dates of the season.  The main trail is something like a balloon with a string tail.  The string tail is the entrance walk to a loop walk.  There are nine posts consecutively numbered around the loop trail.  The only trail blaze is white and this caused me some confusion as I did take a path heading south for a long ways.  But if one keeps heading in a circular direction it would be hard to get lost.  The loop trail with its numbered posts heads in a counter-clockwise direction. 

On the entrance trail I crossed over a small stream via a wooden bridge with railings.  At the start of the loop trail I turned left, heading west, but when I saw the number 9 post instead of the number 1 post, I turned around to take the right turn of the fork.  Looping around the trail I reach a fork in the road.  I went to the right, knowing that the loop trail would continue left.  Heading right leads the hiker up hill and to the backyards of several large houses.  Turning around from the top of the hill, I got back on the loop trail noticing that there are quite a few large boulders in the area.  The trail heads downhill to post number 6.  Here there is a small ravine and some gullies with the land quite carved up.  A bridge takes the hiker over one of the gullies.  Come to a fork in the road where I got off the loop trail again this time heading south.  When I confirmed it was not the loop trail (even though white blazed) I turned around and made the turn to the left that I should have taken.  From here it is a short walk back to a right turn onto the entrance trail and out.

I talked to a couple of fellows who are hunters, but they did not have their bows.  One fellow had two buckets of corn to feed the deer.  He mentioned that there were too many deer in the park and it was necessary to eliminate some of them, although he himself had not killed anything in 15 years.  "I didn't see anything I wanted to shoot," he added.  He also complained that a lot of people come out to the area to drink and party.  He said he used to pick up the trash left by the partiers, but that the town told him to leave it until they could take pictures to document what is going on in the park.  He also mentioned that at times he sees the cross country runners from Princeton Day School running in the reservation.  Dr. Patrick L. Cooney.

Dr. Patrick L. Cooney
* = plant found in bloom on date of field trip, 10/18/04

Acer rubrum (red maple)
Betula lenta (black birch) 
Carpinus caroliniana (musclewood)
Carya cordiformis (bitternut hickory)
Carya ovata (shagbark hickory)
Castanea dentata (American chestnut)
Cornus florida (flowering dogwood)
Fagus grandifolia (American beech) a beech forest
Fraxinus americana (white ash)
Ilex opaca (American holly)
Juniperus virginiana (red cedar)
Liriodendron tulipifera (tulip tree)
Picea abies (Norway spruce)
Prunus serotina (black cherry)
Quercus alba (white oak)
Quercus palustris (pin oak)
Quercus rubra (red oak)
Quercus velutina (black oak)
Sassafras albidum (sassafras)
Ulmus americana (American elm)

Berberis thunbergii (Japanese barberry)
Corylus sp. (hazel)
Euonymus alatus (winged euonymus)
Hamamelis virginiana (witch hazel) 10/12/04
Ilex verticillata (winterberry)
Ligustrum sp. (privet)
Lindera benzoin (spicebush)
Lonicera mackii (Amur honeysuckle)
Lonicera morrowii (Morrow's honeysuckle)
Mitchella repens (partridgeberry)
Photinia villosa (photinia) hort. escape ? same plant that is in abundance at Mountain Lakes
Rosa multiflora (multiflora rose)
Rubus phoenicolasius (wineberry)
Rubus sp. (black berry)
Sambucus canadensis (common elderberry)
Vaccinium corymbosum (highbush blueberry)
Viburnum acerifolium (maple-leaved viburnum)
Viburnum prunifolium (blackhaw viburnum)

Celastrus orbiculatus (Asiatic bittersweet)
Hedera helix (English ivy)
Lonicera japonica (Japanese honeysuckle)
Parthenocissus quinquefolia (Virginia creeper)
Smilax herbacea (carrion flower)
Smilax rotundifolia (round-leaved greenbrier)
Toxicodendron radicans (poison ivy)
Vitis sp. (grape)

Actaea alba (white baneberry)
Agrimonia gryposepala (common agrimony)
Alliaria petiolata (garlic mustard)
Amphicarpaea bracteata (hog peanut)
Aster divaricatus (white wood aster) *
Aster spp. (aster) *
Boehmeria cylindrica (false nettle)
Epifagus virginiana (beech drops)
Galium circaezens (wild licorice)
Geum canadense (white avens)
Lycopus sp. (water horehound)
Polygonum cespitosum (cespitose smartweed) *
Polygonum virginianum (jumpseed)
Potentilla canadensis (dwarf cinquefoil)
Potentilla simplex (common cinquefoil)
Prenanthes trifoliata (rattlesnake root)
Prunella vulgaris (self-heal)
Solidago caesia (blue-stem goldenrod)
Solidago rugosa (rough-stemmed goldenrod)
Viola sp. (violet)

Juncus tenuis (path rush)

Carex laxiflora type (loose-flowered type sedge)
Scirpus atrovirens (dark green bulrush)

Cinna arundinacea (wood reed grass)
Elymus hystrix (bottle-brush grass)
Elymus sp. (wild rye grass)
Microstegium vimineum (Japanese stilt grass)
Panicum dichotomiflorum (fall panic grass)

Ferns and fern allies:
Athyrium filix-femina (lady fern)
Onoclea sensibilis (sensitive fern)
Osmunda cinnamomea (cinnamon fern)
Polystichum acrostichoides (Christmas fern)
Thelypteris phegopteris (broad beech fern)
Thelypteris noveboracensis (New York fern)