Lenape Woods Nature Preserve
Middletown Township, Atlantic Highlands
50 acres


The eastern section is located near the corner of Ocean Boulevard and East Highland Avenue. This section is home to the Claypit Creek Headwaters Valley and Claypit Creek.

The western section is surrounded by residential buildings. It is home to the Many Mind Creek Headwaters Valley and Many Mind Creek. 

They hope to connect the two sections via a trail corridor. 

Head east on Route 36; soon after Stewart’s Rootbeer fast food place, take the u-turn for Linden Avenue and at the light turn left onto Route 36 heading west; two signs (Mt. Mitchell Scenic Outlook and Scenic Road) point to Ocean Boulevard on the right (so turn right); pass by Mt. Mitchell Scenic Overlook (with its absolutely great views over Sandy Hook, Manhattan and Long Island); turn left onto East Highland Avenue. The entrance for the eastern section of Lenape Woods Preserve is on the right in a very short distance.

One could walk the 0.4 of a mile west to the western section of the preserve. It is located at the conjunction of East Highland Avenue, East Mount Avenue and Sears Landing Road on the left side of East Highland Avenue. There is another entrance on the southern side of the western section of the preserve. This is on East Washington Avenue between houses #182 and #148. There is a kiosk here with information on the preserve.


The 1.75 mile long Many Mind Creek originates  in the western section of Lenape Woods Nature Preserve.  If forms the boundary between the Borough of Atlantic Highlands and Middletown Township. Its course is: corner of East Washington Avenue and Sears Avenue; southward under Highway 36; Many Mind Avenue; parallel to Highway 36; Leonardville Road; turns north to cross under Highway 36 again; towards Sandy Hook Bay; near West Highland Avenue; and into the New York/New Jersey Harbor Estuary.  The twistings of the creek gave rise to its name because concerning its flow it seemed to be of many minds.

The Atlantic Highlands Environmental Commission will be planning studies and community/business/government dialogue on the concept of a greenway along Many Mind Creek. (Source: http://www.ah-nj.com/ManyMindCreek.htm)

Claypit Creek is a tributary to the Navesink River.


1998 --  the Borough of Atlantic Highlands obtained a court order for New Jersey Natural Gas to clean up and remove coal tar in the Many Mind Creek and its environs.

Much of the land was held by Middletown Township under its open space program, with NJ State Green Acres co-financing.

April 18, 1999  --  The Atlantic Highlands Environmental Commission and 100 Girl Scouts from the Monmouth County Hartshorne Unit planted over 400 tree saplings.

The borough council of Atlantic Highlands  approved a grant of $24,676 to partially fund the Lenape Woods Nature Preserve 2004 Trail Project. (Asbury Park Press, 12/12/03;by James A. Broderick; http://www.app.com/app/story/0,21625,868206,00.html)


The Long Slope Trail goes through the western section.

The Old Oak Trail in the eastern sections makes a circular loop. It connects to the Woodchuck Hill Trail for a longer hike.  There is also a Mountain Laurel Trail and the Popamora Trail.

There is a call for a trail that will connect the southernmost edge of the preserve to the approaches of Hartshorne Woods County Park in Middletown Township thereby creating a green corridor between  the two forested areas.

The Many Mind Creek Greenway will connect with the Henry Hudson Trail in Leonardo and extend into the harbor.


April 10, 2004. Took a circular walk along the perimeter of the eastern section of the preserve using the Old Oak Trail, switching to the Woodchuck Hill Trail, coming back to the Old Oak Trail, then taking the Popamora Trail, and returning to the preserve entrance by finishing the hike using the Old Oak Trail again. The area is small so it would be hard to get lost. There are houses and highway surrounding the area. Oaks and mountain laurel dominate the dry, sandy area.

Drove to the western section of the preserve and hiked down hill along the short Lone Slope Trail. Oaks and mountain laurel also dominate this section of the preserve. But, because of the Many Mind Creek, there are a few new species here, including sweetgum, elderberry and skunk cabbage.

Crossed over the bridge spanning the Many Mind Creek and continued to the end of the preserve at East Washington Avenue. Then I returned on the same trail to my starting point.


Dr. Patrick L. Cooney

* = date plant found in bloom, field trip 4/10/2004


Acer negundo (box elder maple)

Acer rubrum (red maple) *

Ailanthus altissima (tree of heaven)

Betula populifolia (gray birch)

Betula sp. (birch)

Carpinus caroliniana (musclewood)

Carya sp. (hickory) (mockernut)?

Celtis sp. ( hackberry)?

Cornus florida (flowering dogwood)

Ilex opaca (American holly)

Juniperus virginiana (red cedar)

Liquidambar styraciflua (sweetgum)

Morus rubra (red mulberry) ? or white mulberry?

Pinus strobus (white pine) lots of them planted here

Prunus serotina

Quercus prinus (chestnut oak)

Quercus rubra (red oak)

Quercus spp.

Quercus velutina (black oak)

Robinia pseudoacacia (black locust)

Sassafras albidum (sassafras)



Berberis thunbergii (Japanese barberry) on the border (should eliminate it)

Chimaphila maculata (striped wintergreen)

Clethra alnifolia (sweet pepperbush)

Comptonia peregrina (sweet fern)

Forsythia sp. (golden bells) * found on the highways

Kalmia latifolia (mountain laurel)

Lindera benzoin (spicebush) *

Myrica cerifera (bayberry)

Rosa multiflora (multiflora rose)

Rubus phoenicolasius (wineberry)

Sambucus canadensis (common elderberry)

Taxus sp. (yew)

Vaccinium corymbosum (highbush blueberry)

Vaccinium sp. (low bush blueberry)



Campsis radicans (trumpetweed)

Celastrus orbiculatus (Asiatic bittersweet)

Celastrus scandens (American bittersweet)

Lonicera japonica (Japanese honeysuckle)

Parthenocissus quinquefolia (Virginia creeper)

Smilax rotundifolia (round-leaved greenbrier)

Vitis sp. (grape)



Alliaria petiolata (garlic mustard)

Aster sp. (aster)

Hemerocallis fulva (tawny day lily)

Narcissus sp. (daffodil) * soon

Polygonum cuspidatum (Japanese knotweed)

Rumex obtusifolius (broad-leaved dock)

Symplocarpus foetidus (skunk cabbage)



Carex pensylvanica (Pennsylvania sedge) *



Panicum virgatum (switch grass)

Schizachyrium scoparium (little blue stem grass)

OLD OAK TRAIL, by Joe Reynolds, AH Environmental Commission Member http://www.ahherald.com/oaktrail/2003/oot031016_gate_cottage.htm