Fiddler’s Creek Preserve – Titusville, Mercer County, NJ
Distance – We did 2 miles (with some backtracking on a lollipop). Maybe 2 1/2 trail miles here.
Type – Series of connected loops
Difficulty: 4 of 10 – large ravine you can journey into, steep climb in and out
Note – these trails are connected with Ted Stiles Preserve and Baldpate Mountain next door.
Website – None
Open – Sunrise to Sunset.
Terrain – Woods, meadows (old farm fields), and a steep ravine to a creek
Surface – Mostly dirt.
Trailheads – 40°18’59.92″N, 74°53’4.79″W (From preserve’s parking lot)
40°19’6.20″N, 74°53’26.89″W (from Baldpate Mountain parking lot)
Directions – Fiddlers Creek Road, Titusville, NJ – can park in the main lot for Baldpate Mountain which is to the left side if driving in from Route 29/River Road OR at the Fiddlers Creek lot, which is to the right side after the Baldpate Mountain lot.
Parking – Large lot at Baldpate Mountain, smaller lot in the preserve proper
Dog friendly? Yes, on leash (despite the fence, on leash)
Stroller friendly? In the fields, yes. In the ravine, no.
So at the end of March, Skunk, Abby, and I went out hiking to celebrate Skunk’s birthday. After having to postpone a backpacking trip, Skunk decided that he wanted to go back to the Ted Stiles Preserve at Baldpate Mountain, which we had first explored 4 1/2 years before. We had a fun 6 mile hike there.
Afterwards, we opted to try the Fiddlers Creek Preserve, because one good hike deserves another! The trailhead for this left right from the same parking lot, so we grabbed another water bottle and headed for new territory.
From this parking area, the entrance trail is the stick of a lollipop, heading through a patch of woods that clearly was part of farmland for a long time before arriving at a fence and a gateway.
The sign on the gateway makes reference to FUTURE trails, but these trails are obviously well used, so it should read “Current Trails”.
Anyway, you enter through the gate and into the old farm fields, which differ greatly in feel from what we did already. Up to this point, we’d been on the blue trail. Just inside the gate, the trail splits. The Blue Trail heads right, while the Red Trail turns left. We opted to continue on the Blue Trail. The trail follows through the old farm fields, offering some fantastic views back toward Baldpate Mountain in the Ted Stiles Preserve. This hike is worth it for this view along. Eventually, the trail goes through another gate on the far side of the fields.
Once through the gate, you’ll hit another trail split. You can turn right and drop steeply down into a ravine (this was once a millpond for a mill here), or you can turn left to stay on the Blue Trail and stay along the lip of the ridge. With about seven miles under out belt already, we opted to stay out of the ravine this. Next time! Next time!
We passed the very steep White Trail and took the Blue Trail through the East Entrance of the fence and back into the farm fields.
Once back in the farm fields, we followed the Blue Trail around to the Fiddler’s Creek Parking area (just outside the fence), which is also the intersection of the Blue and Red Trails.
From here, we FINALLY left the Blue Trail and opted to take the Red Trail back toward where we’d first entered the farm fields (the Red Trail goes two directions here). This part of the fields is closer to the woods, so doesn’t have the same views of the mountains, but has some interesting birds and plants along the way. We ended up back at the very first gate that we’d come through.
We now finished our hike by hiking along the original lollipop stick approach trail that we’d first done.
Ted Stiles Preserve at Baldpate Mountain is attached to this trail system. The trail system is also only a few dozen steps from D&R Canal State Park, which has 70 miles of trails along the old canal route! Hopewell Valley is also chock full of parks and trails, which we’ll slowly explore over the next decade or so.
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The views, oh the views. Also, can't wait to come back and go down into that ravine.
I could see ticks being an issue in season with all the grass. Also, STEEP trail into the ravine. If you take that part of the trail system, just remember that you have to climb back out.