Dinosaur Trail – Allaire State Park – Wall Township, Monmouth County, NJ
Distance – 0.75 out and back or 1.2 mile loop
Type – Out-and-back or loop, part of a larger web of trails
Difficulty: 1 of 10 (out-and-back) or 3 of 10 (loop)
NOTE – As of October 2022, many of the dinosaurs have, sadly, been destroyed. There is still some magic in the woods here, but it’s much diminished from the pictures from our first visit.
Terrain – Woods with some mountain biking hills
Surface – dirt
Trailheads – N 40° 08.030 W 074° 07.335
Directions – Allenwood-Lakewood Road, Wall Township, NJ
Parking – Roadside parking, make sure to stay off of the roadway.
Dog friendly? Trails are all dog friendly, but dogs are not allowed inside the buildings in the historic buildings
Stroller friendly? If you take the out-and-back, an offroad stroller should make it
Benches? Some benches by the dinosaurs
Facilities?: Facilities by the village, but none on this side of the park
Markings – Trail is mostly unblazed
Well, 2020 was something something. To finish it off right, we FINALLY went to check the only place in New Jersey where you can hike to dinosaurs – Allaire State Park.
Now we’ve been to Allaire before (actually, I’d walked these trails before when the Scouts have camped out at the Group Campsite), but back in 2019, a local artist began to construct things out in the woods. At first, it was just huts. But then, she began to create dinosaurs! The site is a work in progress, with the most recent addition (the Stegosaurus) being completed in October 2020.
So the whole clan was off! We drove up, found the parking area (helped that I’d camped here before), and away we went.
Now there are three main options to get to the dinosaurs, as laid out on the map above that we found at ExploreAllaire. There is the easy, mostly direct out and back route, coviently called “Easy Path”. We opted not to use this one.
There was the longer loop that is paved most of the way through the campsite, labeled “Alt Path 2”. We also decided against this one.
Instead, we took “Alt Path”. To start, we walked up the paved roadway into the camp and made the right turn to head down the trail.
The trail over here is mostly unmarked bike trails. There are no blazes and the trails roughly follow the map, although there are some alternate paths. I was wearing the Big Fella, so opted for the most level trails possible, while the other kids ran in and out and up and around the hills, bike obstacles, and ravines.
The trail then climbed a small hill toward a promising looking patch of forest. There was some stealth mud here, and someone fell over (it was me) and got muddy. The Big Fella thought this was hiliarious, and is now grounded.
We began to see some promising forests, and the kids headed into them. They quickly discovered some of the lean-to huts , which they had to check out.
The Big Fella was after bigger things though… he wanted dinosaurs!
But this also has to be one of the most popular trails in the state right now, because an army of families decended on the area after we’d been there about ten minutes. So it was time to head back. We took the “Easy Path” part of the loop back, stopping for our last balloon of 2020 (somewhere around 40 for the year, I need to keep better track next year!).
Nearby: Allaire Village, lots of hiking and biking trails, plus a steam locomotive.
Parts of the trail don't have dinosaurs?