Cooper Mill Trail is a 2.3 mile point-to-point trail located near Chester, NJ. The trail is rated as moderate and primarily used for hiking.
Black River County Park - Cooper Mill a 7.5 mile point-to-point trail located near Chester, New Jersey. The trail is rated as moderate and primarily used for hiking.
Love this trail but it can be very muddy at times
We started our hike along the Black River from the trail head on Hwy 24 at the Cooper Mill. There is a foot bridge across the Black River that leads to a nice stroll in the woods. This hike can be a moderate challenge IF you do the entire 8 or so miles. But an out and back to the Kay Environmental Center is only 4 miles with one or two very mild inclines.
The trail hugs the bank of the Black River, at one point widening to a very lovely pond full of lily pads, croaking frogs, and we spotted a blue heron. Almost all of the trail is under heavy tree coverage providing much appreciated shade on a July morning.
Arriving at the Kay Center was very nice. The inside has a lot of helpful trail maps and out back is a natural, and free, butterfly garden. From that point, you can continue on for a longer lasso hike or even further on into Hacklebarney State Park. As we were pressed for time, we decided to turn and hike back to the car.
The 4 miles we did would be easy for young kids, but not toddlers or inexperienced five years olds. Novice hikers would find this a great starter trail. Of course it is very scenic, but I'm fond of the lush forest found in this part of New Jersey.
We only encountered four other people, all in one group, the entire trip. It was a Monday, which helps keeps a sense of solitary trekking, but as it is the week of Forth of July, I wouldn't have been surprised to see more people.
I gave the trail 4 stars instead of 5 because it really is a mild trek and not a challenging hike, and the four miles we covered were beautiful, but there are no particularly special scenic stops to make it a stand-out trail.