The Rutgers Ecological Preserve is one of the largest forests in New Jersey. The expansive preserve, spanning 316 acres, features numerous fresh water streams that feed into the Raritan River and houses numerous hiking and biking trails for the public to enjoy. For stressed college students, the Rutgers Ecological Preserve offers a quiet, peaceful alternative to the urban bustle of New Brunswick.
Rutgers buses pass the Rutgers Ecological Preserve daily, but few students take the chance to explore this massive preserve.
Located adjacent to Quads I and II, the Rutgers Ecological Preserve is easily accessible from the Livingston Campus.
There is an entrance to one of many hiking trails on Avenue E, between the Quads and the Livingston circle.
There are signs and maps located throughout the forest to help you navigate your adventure. Arrows help you stay on track with the trail that you started on, but you always have the option to veer off course onto another trail and explore another area of the forest.
Signs located around the preserve explain different sights and attractions. In addition to signs explaining the history of the Buell Brook (pictured below), we found information regarding the forest’s diverse tree species along with information regarding nature restoration zones.
There are many unique trees throughout the preserve, such as the one pictured below that has a hollow stump.
This tree had carvings at its base. In addition to names, many dates were included. Carvings such as “Jeff 1978” allude to the preserve’s extensive history.
The preserve is home to animals such as turtles, wild turkeys, pileated woodpeckers, salamanders, foxes, red tailed hawks, and more.
The variety of plant species is equally diverse. In addition to various types of trees and moss, we encountered different species of fungi, such as these orange mushrooms sprouting off of a fallen tree branch.
October is the perfect time to visit the preserve. The trees are transitioning for winter and the forest is a beautiful mixture of green, yellow, orange, and red. As the leaves continue to fall, the colors will become even more vibrant.
The EcoPreserve is open to the Rutgers community and the public during daylight hours. We recommend that you explore with a friend or two and stay on designated trails to ensure that your visit to the preserve is safe and enjoyable. Click here for more information regarding parking, trails, and trail access. Take advantage of the beautiful fall scenery and weather by visiting the Rutgers Ecological Preserve.