Thursday, April 2, 2015

Hiking Institute Woods Trails - Princeton, NJ

We went on a new hike last Sunday. This time we explored the Institute Woods Trails. Funny it's another hike very close to our home and it has taken us this long to explore it. The Institute Woods Trails is 589 acres of land (woods, wetlands, and farms) and is part of the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton. 

We parked our car by the Charles H. Rogers Wildlife Refuge which is only about 7 minutes from our home (so close). There are no bathrooms at the parking area. This parking area is pretty small and I'd say only 3 cars can park here.
Rogers Wildlife Refuge Parking area
Below is a map of the trails. 
Institute Woods Trails Map
We started at the Rogers Refuge Parking and first off we checked out the viewing platform. The viewing platform looks over a marsh and is supposedly a great place for bird watching. We did see a blue heron which was neat. There is a notebook at the platform to record what you have seen.
Wildlife Refuge Viewing Platform
We continued down a road towards hut looking things which looked to be part of the water company and where we saw the dirt trail that went along Stony Brook. The dirt trail, called the River's edge trail was certainly along the edge at times. 
Some parts were muddy due to rain on previous days, but it wasn't too bad as we all had our hiking boots on. There are a couple of bridges we come across like the one below.
Institute Woods Trails
My favorite bridge we came across was the swinging bridge. It's a pretty neat bridge that does swing or move a little while you walk on it. The kiddos were totally fine walking on it and in fact enjoyed it.
Institute Woods Swinging Bridge
Institute Woods Swinging Bridge
From the swinging bridge, we continued up the Founders Walk trail. Here the trail is really wide. 
The Founders Walk trail leads up to the Trolley Track Trail where we see the Institute of Advanced Study buildings.There is a little pond that is neat to see nearby. The boys found probably the last piece of ice in the area and had a blast sliding and playing on it.
We saw this sign near there as well. It's always nice to thank those that make cool places like this possible for the public to use.
We headed back towards the car by taking the Trolley Track Trail to the Olden trail. It was a pretty nice hike. We did about 2 miles total. What I like about the Institute Woods trails is you can make it as long or as short as you want. The trails are perfect for kids in this aspect. Maybe next time we will venture to the Princeton Battlefield and check it out. 


  1. Very fun! The cool thing about this hike doing it now, in a couple of months when all the tree's are green and everything is alive, you can do it again and it will feel like seeing it all over again:)

  2. Thanks Kristy! You are so right, can't wait to see it when everything is alive and more green! :)

  3. So close to your house you can run there! It looks like a place I'd get lost in - but looks like a very nice place to hike. Awesome bridge too. You're like us...we are still finding out about places near our house. Not sure why wait so long to check them out! Enjoy your weekend Sharon!!

  4. It is awesome that you have so many trails so close to you.

  5. What a pretty day for a hike! Gorgeous pics!

  6. Looks like another great place! The bridges are cool!

  7. I have to agree with Sherry, the bridges look so fun!

  8. Thanks Jenny! I agree, they are!! :)