Sandy Hook multi-use trail
Distance: Approximately 6 miles (one-way)
Topology: Graded flat - Coastal dunes
The 6 mile multi-use trail in Sandy Hook provides another traffic-free option for riders
seeking a short to medium length ride. The trail runs the length of the public portion
of Sandy Hook, from the entrance booths to Fort Handcock (the northern tip of the peninsula
is closed to the public as it is a Coast Guard base). Other than the most southern section
the trail meanders through wooded and somewhat shaded terrain, passing the decaying remnants of
the past military defense use of this area. Once reaching Fort Handcock there are many short
interconnecting streets that you can explore amongst the semi deserted buildings. On weekends
the lighthouse is sometimes open to visitors, as are a few of the fort's buildings. It is
also possible to see some of the old gun batteries along the beach if you ride along Atlantic Drive,
this ~2 mile road route provides an alternate return path to the multi-use trail, as well as providing
access to some of the developed beach sections (i.e. concession) on the hook. In summer mornings there
is little traffic heading south on Atlantic Drive since most people are heading north towards the
beach parking lots.
For those of you who have heard that there is a nude beach on Sandy Hook... It is Gunnison
Beach where the naked people roam, however the waterfront (and clothing challenged) are
far from the paved surfaces that you and your bicycle crave. So unless you think you are
up to biking through a few thousand feet of deep beach sand you'll never come close.
Between Memorial & Labor day there is a charge to enter Sandy Hook, I don't
know if this applies to every car entering, or just those who wish to use the beach.
Since 12 miles is a little short for us to ride we started at the Long Branch-Monmouth Beach
boarder, parking at the Monmouth County Park System's Skate park. As it turns out the day we
made this trek there was a charity ride, Timmy's Tour de Shore, that was running south from
the hook to Seven Presidents park in Long Branch. We found ourselves intermixed in the
long string of returning riders back to the hook.
For those who dare to tackle the
treacherous entrance ramp that connects route 36 with Sandy Hook, it is possible to add two
extra miles (one-way) of traffic-free riding along the Sea Bright seawall and through
a few interconnected parking lots before you enter the Sea Bright business district.