NJ Trail Spotlight: Bayshore Trail In Atlantic Highlands
On its ascent, the sun tears through grey clouds demanding its presence with its illumination. As a result, the canvas above includes soft pinks and lilacs that mirror on the water. The water glistens and waves are gently rolling peacefully as seagulls graze by, dipping low. They land on the sand and scale the rocks that serve as a barrier between land and sea. The air is slightly salty but smells fresh. It looks like a postcard, and if you live in New Jersey, you get to experience it. A new day awakens, and the best way to start the day is with a run at the Bayshore Trail.
Located in Atlantic Highlands, the Bayshore Trail is one of the best trails every NJ runner should know about. The spotlight is on this trail because it is flat and fast, scenic and remote (besides a few fellow runners, walkers and bikers). It’s perfect for those looking to switch up their typical running routes and find a peaceful place to enjoy a slice of nature right in our backyards.
The Bayshore Trail isn’t long, but what it is lacking in length it matches for in beauty. The trail itself is only two miles long. That means a solid four miles when running to the end and back. Located in Monmouth County, it is known as the Atlantic Highlands portion of the Henry Hudson Trail. However, the trail does not exactly connect to the Henry Hudson Trail.
The course itself consists of the 2-mile section that starts at the marina on 1st Avenue through to the end of Bayside Drive. Runners should know that in order to make it the full 2-miles (or 4 running to the end and back) they need to backtrack a bit past the parking lot where the gazebo is to be right across the street from the Atlantic Highlands sign.
The course itself is flat and paved. It starts out as a concrete path that has the runner passing parked boats who aren’t set to sail to the left. Beachfront homes that could be featured on HGTV scale the steep hill along the entire right side of the trail. The runner can start to daydream about life in those homes as they continue along the trail.
Sea oats stand tall, the greenery giving the runner the feeling that they are in some far away forest. The walkway curves, exposing the Sandy Hook Bay in all its humble glory.
Sailboats float off in the distance. Rocks make primitive sculptures Stonehenge style along the route. The runner crosses a bridge and gets further in the greenery as the ground then turns to gravel (a mixture of cinder and sand).
Following the shoreline on the left and houses on the hill to the right, the course is easy to run and known for its view. The sights are breathtaking, calming and serene. It’s a runners paradise. It’s hard not to appreciate a run when on the Bayshore Trail.
Once at the end, the runner might have to run a bit longer or loop around the parking lot in order to be at the two-mile mark.
When To Run
The Bayshore provides a scenic course that is perfect for a short run. It gives the runner the feeling of being at the beach without running on a boardwalk or dealing with the crowds. The best times to run is early morning around sunrise and late afternoon as the sun sets.
With that said, morning is much more ideal. The runner faces the rising sun on the first two-miles when timed right. But the time they are at the end of the four-miles the day has begun. Running mid-morning or afternoon is good too in the fall, spring and summer, but early mornings mean fewer people without being completely alone on the trail. Plus early morning runs in the summer is a must for those hot as Hades days.
Running at sunset also provides the view worth waiting all day for, but there are no lights along the trail. This means bringing own headlamp or making sure to finish the run before it gets dark for safety.
Tips To Running The Bayshore Trail
The Bayshore Trail is the perfect distance for a short run. However, A great tip to know is that runners can link up on the Henry Hudson Trail and go a longer distance. To do so, the runner has to pass through some residential streets for about less than a mile once at the west end of the Bayshore Trail.
Continue west on Bay Avenue and left on D Avenue before turning right on Kennedy Court to get to the Henry Hudson. A good rule of thumb to remember is that if you come onto Route 35, you ran too far.
The easiest way to enter the Trail into the car GPS is by putting in the address to the Shore Casino at 1 Simon Lake Dr, Atlantic Highlands, NJ 07716. There is ample parking in the lots but look for the gazebo and park there.
There are bathrooms as well as a water fountain at the end of the trail. This is ideal for refueling before heading back to the start. Bring your own water bottle. The trail is very clean with garbage cans along the way to throw out fuel wrappers.
An added bonus is that this is a great path for cyclists look tin to reach Sandy Hook safety without traffic and climbing a big hill.
Atlantic Highlands provides arguably the most beautiful part of the Henry Hudson Trail, which is why running the Bayshore Trail is a must.
- Bayshore Trail (Henry Hudson Trail) Description, Trail Website, ,
- The Bayshore Trail -- Highlands to Atlantic Highlands, Biking Blog, ,