If you love nature, long walks, the option of paved roads or the beaten path, Duke Farms is for you! Located in Hillsborough, New Jersey right next to the Raritan River this park features many moderately trafficked trails with plenty to see along the way. Duke Farms has over 1000 acres of land devoted to native species, preservation and sustainability efforts, and natural beauty.

There are about 18 miles of trails that wind through woodlands and meadows and around lakes and lagoons. These trails feature waterfalls, fountains, a Japanese Garden, old estate structures and sculptures, botanical gardens, greenhouse, water ponds and more. 12 of the 18 miles are open to bikes and many are wheelchair accessible and friendly to strollers.

Hay Barn

I spent about 3 hours in the park starting at the farm barn orientation center. I took the pedestrian path to the South Gate making my way to the Hay Barn. This barn features an outdoor sculpture gallery filled with individual marble statues.

Coach Barn

After stopping and taking a few pictures I took central way, past the orchid range all the way up to the Coach Barn. The Coach Barn features a distinctive clock tower and rustic walls. This building was restored and is used for educational classes and conferences related to the mission of Duke Farms

Meditation Garden

This was part of the park I was most excited to see. The meditation garden (Japanese garden) is located where Duke Doris’ mansion used to be, you would never know otherwise. The area has a feature red bridge, Komainu (lion dogs), and a group of four-foot sculptures called the Elfin Band. I find they’re kind of creepy and kind of cool.

After visiting the spot I was most excited to see I was ready to head back. I took the west way back stopping at the Great Falls and the Old Foundation. The falls weren’t on by the time I got there and I didn’t want to wait 40 minutes for the next cycle. They are turned on 4 times a day for about 10 minutes.

Until next time

Duke Farms is well maintained and kept. It was features so many beautiful things to see and I can’t wait to go back! If you are ever looking for a nature day out I’d highly recommend Duke’s Farm! You can visit all of the key spots within half of the day with plenty of time to rest in between. Be sure to wear sneakers or comfortable walking shoes and don’t forgot to bring water! You can even bring a blanket and food and lay out in the park, either way you’ll have a blast!

 

 

 

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