Thanks to the hard work of volunteers, and some serendipity, one of the prettiest spots in Princeton's Mountain Lakes Nature Preserve is now accessible by trail. Walk up to the end of the long paved driveway leading from 57 Mountain Avenue to Mountain Lakes House. Just past the house, veer right into the woods on the new trail. It will take you past tall red oaks, then down into a small valley I've started calling Frog Hollow.
On May 23rd, the trail's stream crossing was given an extraordinary facelift by 18 volunteers--8 from the Friends of Princeton Open Space and 10 from the NJ Trail Association. The NJTA group was led by Alan Hershey.
Hikers and joggers in Mountain Lakes will have noticed great improvements in all the preserve's trails over the past couple years. Much of this has come about through the leadership of FOPOS board members Ted Thomas and Clark Lennon, who are out almost daily in the park, working on their own or with additional volunteers on periodic workdays. As can be seen from the size of the rocks used, this is probably the most ambitious and elegant project to date.
The element of serendipity came in the form of the recent windstorm, which blew so many pine trees down across the old trail to Witherspoon Woods that a new one had to be built. The new trail goes through far more interesting terrain.