Updated: Jun 9, 2020
The 589 acres of Institute Woods actually consists of three different parks. Princeton Battlefield State Park, Charles H. Rodgers Wildlife Refuge and Institute Woods. Visit one or all three but don't worry we break them all down for you right here!
Princeton Battlefield State Park
This historic park is home to what is said to be the fiercest fight of its size during the Revolutionary War. The battle that ended the "Ten Crucial Days" and lead to the historic Delaware River crossing by George Washington. In this park, you'll find the Princeton Battlefield, the Clarke House Museum, Mercer Oak, the Ionic Colonnade, and a stone patio marking the grave of 21 British and 15 American soldiers killed in the battle.
This park is mainly the open battlefield and historic sites. There are paths and trails to walk which can be viewed on this map here. At the south end of the park on the other side of Mercer Rd is Institute Woods. The park is located on Mercer Road (Princeton Pike). 1.5 miles south of Princeton University. Get Directions Here.
Between 1936 and 1945 the Institute for Advanced Study bought the land parcel by parcel to create Institute Woods. Formerly much of the land was farmed or planted as orchards. Till this day a working farm still meets at the western end of the woods. 45 species of trees make up the woods along with Stony Book and many marshland areas. Trails Crisscross all through the park making it an enjoyable place for walking.
The Woods are normally home to about 45 species of birds however this number jumps to nearly 200 during the Fmigratory season making it a great area for birding! Another exciting feature of these woods is the wooden swing bridge that crosses the Stony Brook. The park about 3.6 miles of trails that gear towards a more casual stroll. The Woods can be entered by either the Batfleid State Park or through the Wildlife Refuge.
Charles H. Rodgers Wildlife Refuge
Charles h. Rodgers Wildlife Refuge is made up of 39 acres of marshland, woods, and the north banks of Stony Brook. Visiting the Refuge is a great opportunity to learn about the importance of marshes to the environment. There are many signs throughout the trails pointing out important parts of the Refuge. Like the woods above the Refuge is a great place for birding and enjoying the specials of animals that inhabit the land. Get Directions Here.