Route 287 to route 22 west. Take Round Valley Access Road Exit (there is a sign) follow road to park entrance(left) enter park, go through check in booth and make first right towards lake. Trail begins at lot.
Summary: I'm going to caveat this review with two things 1) it was wet when I rode it this morning, and 2) I like smooth, fast trails & I'm not a big fan of rocks. That said, I have 3 words to describe this trail - rocky, rocky, and even more rocky. Not big rocks that make a trail technical & fun, in fact this trail really isn't that technical (less so than Hartshorne). But they are smaller rocks that I would classify as "annoying". On climbs they would cause the bike so slip side to side & spin out quite a few times. If I knew this park well I could've gone much faster on the downhills, but being by myself, not knowing when a big rock would show up to send me OTB, and a lack of reliable cell service in case I took a serious digger made me take it easy. So the uphills were difficult and I couldn't even enjoy the payoff on the downhills. I had to drive an hour to get here, last time I'm doing that. Again, it didn't help that it was wet and that I don't like rocks... if you go when it's dry and you like rocks this may be a great place for you.
Recommended Route: Same as what everyone else said, there is only one trail - out & back.
Other recommended trails in the same area: Hartshorne, Allaire, Clayton
Summary: I'm gonna start by saying that I'm an ex-XC racer turned DH rider who can't really remember the last time I pedaled up a real mountain. I decided to goto round valley after a boring day at work and I definately found my fix. This place had a little bit of everything from technical uphills, LONG fast windy downhills, long flat-out fast straight downhills, and sections of flowy "singletrack". I was told the trail to the peak around the lake was roughly 3 miles one way (you double back). It definately tested my strength, endurance, tech skills, and what's left of my legs but it was worth every second of effort. I remember coming back to my car drenched in sweat, but with the biggest smile on my face.
btw, I was on a heavy-built specialized enduro 5"/5" travel bike, and I thought it was perfect for the trail. A light hardtail might be able to blaze up the hills, but might not be as fun going down.
Entrance to the park after 5pm is free, but you have to be out of there by 8 or you get ticketed, but that's more than enough to do one run to the top and back. Otherwise it's $5 on weekdays and $10 on weekends.
Recommended Route: From the south lot looking at the lake, head to the right and go around counter-clockwise on the trail marked with a red rectangle. Not sure of the trail name.
It starts uphill, levels out, windy fast downhill, to a ridiculously long uphill to the top.
Other recommended trails in the same area: chimney rock
Summary: I ride this trail all the time, and IMHO it is the best ride in NJ. By reading the other reviews, I see that there is a lot of miss information out there on this trail. First, it is multi-use but you will only see a couple campers/hikers here and there. Most people that go to RV go to the beach. Second, get there early on the weekend during the season (Memorial-Labor) or else you will be turned away as this park fills up. If you are turned away, head back out toward 22 (if you get to 22 you went too far) when you see a sign for boat launching ramp take a right (They won’t let you in with out a boat) go past boat entrance, around bend, down hill, under bridge and take your second right for some good street parking (no overnight). It will be a 3 mile ride back to the entrance on your bike. They will still ask you for $2 to enter on you bike.
Recommended Route: The trail is not a loop so you will have to ride back. The first 2 miles are up and downs and a ton of fun. That segment will end with a big rocky stair-case down with a sharp left and a steep drop in to the woods and finally a big grassy down hill with a killer bump at the bottom. (This is definite the most dangerous part of the ride, but not the most technical.)
The next 2 miles are up hill the whole way. Some people talk about a gravel path, if you end up on a gravel path by the water you have went the wrong way. That is for the campers. Basically anytime the road forks go right and up hill. Should be over a mile before the first fork, and then there will be two more forks, each time left is down to the gravel road and right is up to the single tracks. Go right.
Now comes the fun. You’ve made it to the top of the mountain (2nd bench you see- you’ll know it when you see it.) Stretch out those arms, because the next two miles is some wicked single track down, with a couple of spots of heavy rocks. Keep your eyes pealed for obstacles or else some good log jumps might pass you by as you fly down the mountain. (On this section they’re off to the side of the track so you don’t have to hit them if you don’t want to.)
This will lead right down to the water. I usually break here, catch a swim and eat a sandwich. If you tight on time or just whooped you can bike back on the gravel camper trail and when you get to the 1st campsite (#1) take the trail up the mountain about 100 yards and you will be back at the first fork. (Don’t continue past the campsite entrance on the low trail as it dead ends after about a half mile.)
Anyway, if your ready for some technical riding the trail gets serious from this point on. Locals have put a ton of love in the next 2-3 miles and this is a great place to train on those log jumps, and some other crazy stuff that you’ll just have to see for yourself.
The last 2-miles of the trail is closed except from September – December. I don’t know why this is?
Summary: Definitively a challenging trail with the potential for some great cardio training, and fast downhills. Unfortunately as you get closer to the actual park area the trail widens out and the park service has laid down a ton of thick slow gravel (not so fun). Ironically it is these gravel areas that get the most eroded after heavy rains. Until that point though, enjoy some tight single track and technical climbs that make this a very worthwile trip...
Recommended Route: You can access the trail from the park entrance off of Stanton Lebanon Rd, but unless you didn’t really come to ride hard, you will hate the first 2 miles. My favorite route is to start from the back at the Cushetunk Mountain Nature Preserve off Old Mountain Road, this way you hit some great singletrack right from the start. “Technically” you’re not allowed to access the Round Valley area from this section, but the trails conveniently connect (just buy a season pass during the summer for good karma and you should be fine). The only down side with this route is a steep climb/hike-a-bike at the beginning and end of the ride.
From the parking lot at Cushetunk you will have basically 8 empty miles of terrific trails, lung busting climbs, screaming downhills, and middle of nowhere nature. When you cross a paved road just turn around and head back the way you came. Yes, you will have to climb back up the hill you just blasted down but you will avoid some lame gravel roads and 90% of the hikers.
Other recommended trails in the same area: Chimney Rock
Summary: I have only ridden this trail 5 times in 3 years. Just finished riding the entire main trail today. I have to admit up front that I have a lot more fun at Ringwood, Chimney Rock, Clayton, Allaire, Hartshorne, and Six Mile. But for some reason, once in while, after a long break from Round Valley, I decide to give it another try....thinking I will enjoy it. Nope. However, I have a great deal of respect for this trail. I just don't enjoy it. The trail definitely provides a tremendous cardiovascular challenge with the long, chunky, rocky climbs. The trail itself is not super technical. In terms of riding surface, the rock-to-dirt ratio is very high. If you're not into rock gardens and long climbs/descents through sometimes loose fist and helmet sized rocks, this is not the place for you (nor me). In fact, I actually have more fun at Sourlands near Princeton, which also has a similar rock-to-dirt ratio. I guess Sourlands' climbs through said rock gardens are no as long and challenging. I guess I just don't have the lungs and legs anymore. To sum up: I have a great deal of respect for this trail. I also admire those who can bike up the chunky climbs at Round Valley.
Recommended Route: There's really only one trail. Take your pick: clockwise, counterclockwise, or out and back.
Other recommended trails in the same area: Chimney Rock is fun and close by. Sourlands is also close by. But the best NJ riding, in my opinion, is at Ringwood.