Coppertone stops on the bridge crossing over the creek that empties into Lake Ralphine just a stone's throw away.
Howarth Park is one of those parks that boasts of activities that can interest almost any child. The features found here include playscapes, fishing spots, boat rentals, tennis and pickle-ball courts, a carousel and even pony rides and a miniature train. Not to be lost amidst this plethora of options is a small set of hiking trails.
To be certain, this park is not a destination park for serious hikers who travel from a great distance for an experience in the great outdoors. There is little solitude here and reminders of the surrounding civilization are ever present. That said, one can be a bit surprised by the variety of trails here and hikers looking for a short outing on easy trails should consider the park if they are in the area.
The trails vary from level flat paved surfaces to slightly more challenging packed dirt and rock paths which require a bit more attention to foot placement. None of the paths could be deemed to be difficult. There are 12 named trail segments within the park, many with a unique characteristic.
Old Fishermans Trail is a 0.3 mile segment that follows the southern edge of Lake Ralphine. Because it follows the shore it tends to be quite flat. Periodic side spurs lead from the trail to the lake shore where anglers look for the best fishing spots.
On the opposite shore, the Eagle Scout Trail also follows the lake's edge. But the character is different here. The trails tightly hugs the shore and thus provides better views of the lake. It's also has a rougher surface and requires careful footing at times.
The Spur 6 Trail had rocky, lumpy features and rock piles that reminded us of quarry locations that we'd seen elsewhere.
The Sullivan Ridge Trail
is one of the longest segments entirely within the park and follows the northern edge of the park property. It also follows the ridge that marks the high point of the property so a very modest little climb is required. The packed dirt surface is relatively smooth. Houses line the trail, which takes away a bit from the experience, but these eventually end once the trail reaches the boundary with the adjacent Spring Lake Regional Park
. There are plenty of oaks with large boulders on either side of the trail, all covered in thick applications of moss.
The unexcitingly named trail Spur 6
turns out to be a bit more interesting than it's moniker. The rocky path twists through a field containing numerous small depressions, some filled with standing water. Piles of rough rock also speckle the landscape. The evidence seems to point to a quarry being in the area in the past.
After looping through a couple of trails the main parking area provides restrooms and even a food and drink convenience stand to refuel.