The climbing starts as soon as you leave the parking lot and hit the Arney’s Mount Trail. Climbing is a relative term, though, because this is flat, flat Burlington County, and the highest point is … Arney’s Mount. It’s all of maybe 249 feet, and that’s standing on tip-toes.
The new Arney’s Mount Trail, which just had its official opening, doesn’t go all the way to the top. Instead, the 2.2-mile paved loop soon takes you out of the woods and skirting open field. One surprise is that the loop encircles private property.
(Psst… if you do want to claim you’ve been to the county’s highest point, look for the unsigned paved path to your left not long into your ride. You’ll need your gears. On a clear day, you might see the Philadelphia skyline. So they say.)
The trail swoops gently up and down, curves one way, then another. The backdrop this time of year is all red, orange and gold. Just before a bridge, look left. More private land, and the field was full of pumpkins one day after Halloween(!). Or have I discovered Linus’ Great Pumpkin Patch?
Then there’s a straightaway that had me thinking Indy 500 (I know! But you can imagine how kids would love this chance to show off their speed!) before this sign that was a first for me on a trail:
After that it’s back to gentle curves and eventually it’s decision: time: turn left and head back to the parking lot or go around again. Really, go again because it’s that enjoyable. This route might be as pretty as the recently opened Delaware River Heritage Trail section from Crystal Lake Park to Roebling, just less than half its length.
I volunteer with Girls in Gear, and I couldn’t help but think how perfect this trail would be for my current group of 11-13-year-olds (who could use more practice using their gears) and even the 8-10-year-old group. The older girls could do two loops, three loops with some pushing. The younger girls would do one.
You want more? The gravel-minded should look out for a couple of options off to the sides. Equestrians get a place to ride as well. And of course walkers are welcome.
The trailhead includes four inverted-U bike racks, a picnic shelter plus another table outside the shelter, a port-a-potty and of course a generously sized parking lot. Click here to get directions from your GPS.
Burlington County has an ambitious trail program, and this is only the first phase for Arney’s Mount. You might say the trail right now goes nowhere, but the next part, perhaps 3.5 miles long, will meander northwest through county open space and preserved farms to the Burlington County Fairgrounds (think by Recklesstown Farm Distillery). Heading in the other direction eventually will be more trail that leads to the developing Rancocas Creek Greenway. (Read about my ride along that trail’s new 4-mile section.)
Overall, it’s another great addition to the Circuit Trails.