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NJ Hiking by Nj Hiking - 1w ago

Short hike to a waterfall cascading over a rocky drop in Lockatong Creek.

1.8 miles, surface is roots and some rocks, and the beginning of the trail may contain deep, thick mud. Mostly level until a brief downhill just before the falls.

Our two cents: Decent sized waterfall payoff for a short hike – just be aware that the trail was incredibly muddy for awhile before drying out into a normal trail.

We hiked this after recent rain (the best time to see any waterfall…) so your results may vary on the mud. Conveniently, there was a large puddle in the parking lot to rinse our boots.

Map: Print ahead, nothing at the trailhead.

Books: None that we know of.

Parking: N40.44672° W75.01196°
Rt 519 in Kingwood Township, about 1/4 mile from the Kingwood Township Methodist Church. Long dirt driveway with a few pot holes that leads to circular dirt parking lot for the Lockatong WMA.

Restrooms: None and the immediate area is mostly houses/farms.

If coming up Rt. 29 there is the town of Stockton, and Prallsville Mill’s has restrooms back by the D&R Canal Towpath. Further out, Rt 29 also has Bull’s Island Rec. Area park office or the Washington Crossing parking lot.



Hike Directions:

Overview: WHITE out-and-back

0.0 – The trail starts towards the left if your back is to the main road.

Shortly, keep straight, passing a branch of the trail on the right.

——
Note: The map shows the trail is a loop but when we tried going to the right side in the beginning it was so muddy and overgrown we bailed and kept straight to do it out-and-back.
——

Keep following WHITE, possibly through mud, roots, and fallen branches before it turns to a regular trail.

Start to hear the falls as the trail slopes downhill.

0.9 – The falls are below the trail. There’s an area to carefully scramble down for a closer look.

Retrace the route.

Optional: Try taking the other side of the loop back.

All Photos:
Lockatong WMA parking area
Start of the trail
Muddy first section of the trail
Muddy first section of the trail
Rest of the trail was dry
Falls below trail level; small area to scramble down for a closer look.
Looking to the right
Looking to the left
At the end of the hike
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Hiked: 4/19/19.

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NJ Hiking by Nj Hiking - 1w ago

Short hike to a waterfall in Kugler Woods Preserve.

0.5 miles, surface is rough, rocky, and uphill.

Our two cents: Quick waterfall hike along a nice stream, or as a side trip while biking/hiking the D&R Canal Towpath.

As with all waterfalls, best results are in Spring or after rain. Without recent rain there might not be much flow at this one.

Map: Print out ahead but you can also follow our online map.

Books: None that we know of.

Parking: N40.42428° W75.06010°
Large lot along the D&R Canal just north of Bull’s Island.

Restrooms: None at this lot. Try the Bull’s Island Rec. Area park office on Rt. 29, a few miles south of the parking lot.




Hike Directions:

Walk to the south end of parking area and along the shoulder a bit.

Cross to the opposite side of Rt. 29 to a wooden trail kiosk. A small cascade may be visible close to the road.

Walk uphill on an unmarked path on the right side of the stream.

At a cut log, turn left to walk down closer to the falls, a series of cascades over a rock drop into a shallow pool of water. 

Retrace.

Optional: Back at the main path, turn left and continue a bit see the falls from above before returning.

All photos:
Walk to the south end of the lot
Cross to the other side of Rt 29
Trail kiosk
Casades near the road.
Head uphill on the path
Turn at the cut log to get closer
Kugler Falls
Looking back down the stream while at the falls.
Above the falls
Above the falls
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Hiked: 4/19/19.

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NJ Hiking by Nj Hiking - 2w ago

Hike to two pretty waterfalls – one stepped and the other angled – along Stony Brook.

1.0 or 3.8 miles, surface is easy to just the falls. Silver Mine loop has a very rocky section.

Our two cents: Short, easy hike to beautiful stepped waterfall (also known as “Stepping Stone Falls”), a sloped waterfall, with several nearby cascades.

Extend the hike using the Silver Mine trail (generally moderate except for a super rocky section), Blue Mountain Loop, or one of many other trails in Stokes.

As with all waterfalls, flow will be best in Spring or after a lot of rain.

Map: Kittatinny Trails

Books: None that we know other than individual trail descriptions in Kittatinny Trails… which is a little outdated as the Stokes trail system has been changed quite a bit.

Parking: N41.20638° W74.77501° [Kittle Field]
206 North until you enter Stokes, pass Rt 636 and then turn right for the park entrance. Drive down Coursen Rd and make a left at the end for the Kittle Field lot.

Fee: Charged from Memorial to Labor day. Info on the NJ State Park Pass.

Restrooms: Bathroom building is across the road from the parking lot, in a picnic area. Also at the visitor center.

Remnants of a stone wall as part of an old sawmill site.
Stony Brook Falls as known as Stepping Stone Falls
Cascade on a hill.
Cascade spilling down the hill...
...and more....
...into the stream.
Going to the second, angled falls.
Silver Mine trail
Side trail to the silver mine
The small mine pit in a nice setting
This is all there is to the silver mine
Remains of a dam wall, with a dry pond beyond
Silver Mine gets rocky for a bit
Blue Mountain trail
Pass this bridge ...
...and keep on Stony Brook
Overview of the first falls on the wall back on Stony Brook
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Hike Directions:

To just the two falls, 1.0 miles:

Cross the park road to start following Stony Brook (BROWN) past the bathroom building. The trail also goes right, which you’ll hit on the way back.

0.3 – Near the start of the Silver Mine (ORANGE) trail, turn LEFT away from that and walk towards the stream – there isn’t a exactly a path.

There is a stepped falls, and if there’s enough flow, another cascade coming down the hill and spilling into the stream.

Return to Stony Brook (BROWN) and turn RIGHT to head back.

Optional: turn LEFT first and head uphill a little bit to see an overview of the falls from higher up.

0.6 – Once back near bathroom building, turn LEFT and follow Stony Brook (BROWN) a short distance to the second falls. Retrace to the parking lot.

Stony Brook Falls and Silver Mine Loop, 3.8 miles :

Overview: Stony Brook (BROWN) – Silver Mine (ORANGE) – Blue Mountain Loop (BLUE) – Stony Brook (BROWN]

0.0 – Cross the park road to start following Stony Brook (BROWN) past the bathroom building. The trail also goes right, which you’ll hit on the way back.

0.3 – Near the start of the Silver Mine (ORANGE) trail, turn LEFT away from that and walk towards the stream – there isn’t a exactly a path.

There is a stepped falls, and if there’s enough flow, another cascade coming down the hill and spilling into the stream.

Return to Stony Brook (BROWN) and pick up Silver Mine (ORANGE).

0.7 – Turn RIGHT to take a short side trail to the Silver Mine – a small hole with a fence over it.

Retrace and turn RIGHT to continue on Silver Mine (ORANGE).

1.6 – The long concrete wall is the remains of a dam and is marked Dry Lake on the park map.

Continue following Silver Mine (ORANGE) through a very rocky area.

2.0 – Turn LEFT to now follow Blue Mountain Loop (BLUE). [Silver Mine (ORANGE) ends, Blue Mountain Loop (BLUE) also goes right]

2.7 – Pass BLUE/BLACK on the right.

2.9 – Start following Stony Brook (BROWN) passing a bridge on the right. [Blue Mountain Loop (BLUE) leaves to the right, over the bridge].

Pass the waterfall from earlier, seen from above.

3.2 – Pass the Silver Mine (ORANGE) trail from earlier, on the left.

3.5 – Near the bathroom building, turn LEFT to follow Stony Brook (BROWN) a short distance to the second falls.

Return to the parking lot.

Hiked: 4/13/19.

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NJ Hiking by Nj Hiking - 3w ago

It’s been 10 years since we launched njHiking.com!

Back in the spring of 2009 when we started posting our hike descriptions, photos, and videos, we never imagined how many people would find it useful.

We’re celebrating by giving a $100 REI gift card to a lucky NJ hiker!

Use it to get swanky new boots, a backpack, or some other cool gear.

It started a long time ago…

The site was a long time in launching. We started putting together ideas in the early 2000s and registered the domain a few years later.

In 2006 we designed the first version on our local server and started logging our hikes. Dig deep enough and you’ll find those first not-so-great short posts.

Finally, after a few more designs and many more hikes, we went live in March of 2009. That first month the site received just a few hundred visits.

10 years and millions of website visitors, 3000+ miles, and untold gallons of post-hike ice cream later… here we are.

A huge THANK YOU to everyone who’s supported NJ HIKING over the years!!!

We’d also like to recognize the NY-NJ Trail Conference who have been building and maintaining trails in New Jersey for nearly 100 years, as well as the countless other groups and organizations that maintain trails in New Jersey.

– Dawn & Tom

Enter for your chance to win a $100 REI gift card: [contact-form-7]

Rules: Contest will begin on May 1, 2019 and end on May 31, 2019. Enter on njHiking.com. Entrants must be 18 or over. One (1) winner will be selected via random drawing upon completion of the entry period. One (1) prize of a $100 REI gift card will be awarded.

Winner will be notified by email. Only the winner’s first name and city/state will be shared on the njHiking.com website and social media. Gift card will be mailed from REI to the address provided. njHiking.com is not liable for card being unable to be delivered. The gift card will be subject to the terms and conditions as set forth by the issuer of the gift card. Gift cards are not refundable or transferable and may not be substituted or exchanged for cash or credit at any time, nor will gift cards be replaced if lost or stolen.

Employees and their families of njHiking.com and REI are not eligible to win the prize.

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What’s inside the Cairn outdoor subscription box for April 2019. 

Considering getting a Cairn subscription or giving one as a gift? Here’s a rundown of what this month’s box offers.

Disclaimer: Cairn provided a complimentary box for review, but did not provide compensation or exercise control over the content of this post.

In this month’s box
    Value
Armored Outdoor Gear Ratsack Sturdy storage bag keeps critters from getting into food and supplies while camping. $33
Peak Refuel Strawberry Granola Granola, strawberries, and milk freeze-dried breakfast.  $8
Gear Aid Paracord 325 50 feet of 100% nylon multi-use cordage. $6

Total Value: $47


This month Cairn is “hungry for adventure” with an instant meal and paracord and a wire mesh bag to keep backpacking food away from clever critters .

Armored Outdoor Gear Ratsack Cache Bag

This stainless steel wire mesh bag has a super strong velcro closure and a grommet to secure the bag. Put food and/or toiletries in the bad to thwart gnawing critters. 

Also can be used as a “drag bag” to keep beverages cold in bodies or water, and as a underwater or beach collection bag. 


Peak Refuel Strawberry Granola

Open the bag, take out the ‘do not eat packet’, pour in a cup of cold water, stir, and let sit 5 minutes for a tasty instant breakfast.

I was skeptical about freeze-dried strawberries – expecting tiny gnarly bit of chewy of fruit – but, nope, these are large slices of fruit.

The taste was decent but a little too sweet for me. The consistency was pretty much like a bowl of milk with large granola chunks and strawberries. I ate it in a bowl but it was easy to eat out of the bag too.


Gear Aid Paracord 325

50 feet of 100% nylon strong thin cord has tons of uses – tent guyline, clotheslines, laces, zipper pull, stringing up food bags. Includes a carabiner. Not for climbing.

The latest specials from Cairn:The Spring 2019 Obsidian Collection - “Must Love Dirt" features Scarpa footwear, Biolite headlamp, and products from Coalatree (Hike Variation), Osprey (Run Variation), Skratch Labs, Noka Organics, and Rad Roller (Run Variation). Limited quantities available!

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Short-but-steep loop to Sunfish Pond via the Garvey Springs trail and includes Laurel Falls.

4.6 miles. Steep climb; surface is very rocky, especially where the Appalachian Trail hugs Sunfish Pond.

Our two cents: This solid hike packs Sunfish Pond, the Appalachian Trail, and a waterfall in under 5 miles… so what are you waiting for?

Garvey Springs is the fastest route to Sunfish Pond but you can do this loop in the opposite direction for a more gradual climb with a steeper return.

Laurel Falls is very close to the parking area, just up the Douglas Trail a bit, so it could be done first and then continue on this hike.

Map: Kittatinny Trails section #120.

Books: None that we know of, but individual trails are described in Kittatinny Trails.

Parking: 41.01317 -75.08217 [Douglas lot; Old Mine Road]
Rt. 80 W to the last exit in NJ (1) for Millbrook/Flatbrookville which bears right onto River Road/Old Mine Road.

Cross a one-lane bridge with a stop light and continue on Old Mine Rd for about 4 miles, passing a sign for Worthington and the driveway to the park office. The lot will be on the left and has a sign.

Note: Google Maps has errors – along Old Mine Road before the actual Douglas Trail parking lot there are two wrong points. They are marked as “Douglas Trail” and “garvey springs trail” but are not those trailheads.

Restrooms: From the lot, walk back into the campground area to a bathroom building on the left. Rustic outhouses at the Douglas backpacker camp.

Garvey Springs Trail
Garvey Springs Trail
Garvey Springs Trail
Turquoise Trail
Sunfish Pond
View of Sunfish Pond from Turquoise
Very rocky AT along Sunfish Pond
Rocky trail AT along Sunfish
Rocky trail AT along Sunfish
Viewpoint on the AT along Sunfish Pond
Rocky AT along Sunfish Pond
Beaver activity on the AT along Sunfish
Beaver activity on the AT along Sunfish
Beaver lodge along Sunfish
South end of Sunfish Pond
Sunfish Pond sign
Douglas Trail
Douglas backpacker camp.
Douglas Trail
Dead trees along Douglas Trail
Douglas Trail
Douglas Trail sign with Laurel Falls beyond.
Douglas plaque with Laurel Falls beyond.
Laurel Falls, lower.
Laurel Falls, lower.
Laurel Falls, lower.
Laurel Falls, lower.
Laurel Falls, lower.
Laurel Falls, upper.
Laurel Falls, upper.
Laurel Falls, uppermost cascade
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Hike Directions:

Overview: Garvey Springs (ORANGE) – Appalachian Trail (WHITE) – TURQUOISE out-and-back to a view of Sunfish Pond – Appalachian Trail (WHITE) – Douglas (BLUE on WHITE)

0.0 – From the parking area, cross Old Mine Road and veer left to start following Garvey Springs (ORANGE).

0.6 – Continue on Garvey Springs (ORANGE) as it turns left and follows Rock Cores (GREEN) for a bit, before turning right and continuing steeply uphill.

1.3 – Garvey Springs (ORANGE) ends. Turn RIGHT and now follow Appalachian Trail (WHITE) briefly. [Appalachian Trail (WHITE) also goes left].

Turn LEFT and follow TURQUOISE up to a view over Sunfish Pond and a nice break spot.

[Alternate: stay on Appalachian Trail (WHITE) to check out the pond instead; skipping TURQUOISE]

Retrace TURQUOISE back to the Appalachian Trail.

[Short – 2.8 round trip: Retrace the route from here: TURQUOISE – Appalachian Trail (WHITE) – Garvey Springs (ORANGE)]

—————
Alternate/longer: The Appalachian Trail along Sunfish Pond has very rocky sections that are nearly scrambling (see photos).

There is an alternate route using a Fire Road that has the same distance and a much easier trail surface. The trade-off is it’s duller and doesn’t hug the shore of Sunfish Pond so there are no views.

To do this, continue on TURQUOISE from the viewpoint over Sunfish Pond.

Make a right onto Sunfish Fire Road and meet up with this description at the other end of Sunfish Pond, at 2.2 below. There, turn LEFT to continue on the Appalachian Trail (WHITE).
—————

1.5 – From TURQUOISE, turn LEFT to again follow the Appalachian Trail (WHITE).

The trail is VERY rocky along Sunfish Pond. There are several open spots for views of the pond. In Spring, towards the other end of the pond, we’ve often spotted tadpoles in the shallow areas.

2.2 – Continue on Appalachian Trail (WHITE) passing a sign about Sunfish Pond and a stone marker.

2.9 – At the trail kiosk near the Douglas backpacker camp, start following Douglas (BLUE on WHITE). [Appalachian Trail (WHITE) veers off to the left]

The small sign for Douglas Trail has a right arrow that is slightly misleading; it points to a trail that toward the camp. The actual trail is the wide path and shortly there should be a blue trail marker.

Douglas (BLUE on WHITE) switchbacks steeply (but not as steep as Garvey) down a wide path with many dead trees.

4.0 – Veer RIGHT to continue on Douglas (BLUE on WHITE).

[Rock Cores (GREEN) goes left and leads to another parking area near the park office]

4.2 – Veer LEFT to continue on Douglas (BLUE on WHITE). [Rock Cores (GREEN) goes right]

Nearly back, with the lot in sight, the unmarked path to Laurel Falls is at the trail sign. Turn RIGHT and follow this along the stream to the lower falls.

Continue up the hill to see the upper falls.

There is a third smaller cascade after a steep climb – but this can be skipped as it’s not as as the first two and probably not worth the climb up.

Backtrack to Douglas and to the lot.

Hiked: 4/7/19. Trail Blog: “Laurel Falls and Sunfish Pond

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Checking out Laurel Falls, a waterfall just off of Old Mine Road, before climbing to Sunfish Pond.

Laurel Falls is just a 5-min hike from the Douglas Trail parking lot in Worthington State Forest and is a potential stop if you’re just out for a scenic drive and not looking to hike.

We hit the falls first before doing a nice loop up to Sunfish Pond using Garvey Springs, the Appalachian Trail, and the Douglas Trail. It was a little chilly in the morning but quickly warmed into the 60s with lots of sun.

For directions to the falls as well as the longer hike details, maps, GPX, and photos, visit our “Sunfish Pond – Garvey Springs and Douglas Loop” page.

Laurel Falls are on a stream that is the runoff of Sunfish Pond and, like any waterfall, the flow depends on recent rainfall and is usually best in Spring.

There are three sections to Laurel Falls. The lower section is the closest to the road and is accessed on an unmarked path near the Douglas Trail signs.

Continue climbing uphill on casual path to the upper section. There is a third cascade above that but’s it’s pretty steep up and not as impressive as the main ones and can be skipped.

The lower cascade of Laurel Falls:






The upper cascade of Laurel Falls:



The third cascade of Laurel Falls is longer but not as tall:
After spending some time photographing the falls, we headed uphill on the Garvey Springs Trail. This is the shortest but steepest route to Sunfish Pond.

When choosing a route for this weekend, I was looking something steep but not overly long to get back into it after spending the winter mostly tooling around the flat pine barrens.

Garvey is one of our go-to trails for prepping for harder hikes because it’s steep. Normally, once at the top we pop over to say hello to our old pal Sunfish Pond and then head north on the Appalachian Trail to Raccoon Ridge or something similar.

This is when I realized we’d never actually hiked the Douglas Trail.

Whaaaaat? Not sure how we managed to overlook that all of these years.

And I don’t think we’d ever noticed Laurel Falls per se. While it can be sort of seen from Garvey, if it wasn’t flowing much or leaves were on the trees it might not be noticeable as it would just sound like a stream. Time to fix all of this.

So this time after a brief break at Sunfish, we took the ever rocky Appalachian Trail along the pond. There were stacks of rock cairns in areas along the pond last time but they were no longer standing.



Lot of trees that had been gnawed on by busy beavers and a dam near the shore.


Once at the backpacker camp, we took Douglas on the way down. This has switchbacks and is less steep than Garvey Springs but is still steep.

There were many dead trees along the way as well as views across to Pennsylvania because the leaves hadn’t sprouted on trees just yet.


We had to pass Laurel Falls again but were happy with the morning lit photos we’d already taken so we called it a day.

Miles: 4.6 (plus meandering around the falls)

Route: Garvey Springs (ORANGE) – Appalachian Trail (WHITE) – TURQUOISE out-and-back to a view of Sunfish Pond – Appalachian Trail (WHITE) – Douglas (BLUE on WHITE)

Taste Test: At Sunfish we split a Caramel Toffee with Sea Salt Clif Bar from their new “Sweet & Salty” line. Decent. It was still pretty sweet with just a hint of salt. It was also super fresh so it was soft – always a bonus.

Post-Hike: Venti iced vanilla lattes and split a chocolate chip and almond Skratch Anytime bar. These are soooo good but the chocolate got a little melty so I might have only pack them in cooler weather.

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NJ Hiking by Nj Hiking - 2M ago

Easy romp through the Pine Barrens that includes a long and rather nifty section of boardwalk.

This area was used as a munitions plant in WWI, check out some history and photos on the Bethlehem Loading Company page.

6.4 or 4.0 miles. Super easy – flat, level, packed sand. The trails are multi-use.

  • Shorter: 4.0 miles – Take the boardwalk at the start, and skip the entire south section of this route. Noted in bold in the directions below.
  • ADA accessible: 3.6 mile out-and-back on the Swamp Trail, a 1.8 mile fully accessible elevated wooden nature trail.
  • History Trail: Follow the numbered info boards to visit the remains of the Bethlehem Loading Company.
  • Longer: Route could be extended by hiking the Duck Farm loop in the mountain bike area in the north end of the park, but we didn’t so we don’t know if it would be worth it.

Our two cents: This park is more of a ‘hey let’s go for a walk or have a picnic” kinda park and not a really a hiking-focused park but there’s quite a bit to see and the long boardwalk is neat to hike.

The flat wide trails could be nice option in the winter when there is snow cover, and sand roads crisscross the entire park allowing for many route options.

Bikes can even be rented from the nature center to ride instead of hike most paths or the loop drive (no bikes allowed on the boardwalk trail). The north end of the park contains mountain bike trails.

Updated 3/2019: Re-hiked, description tweaked, route adjusted to go to the glassworks, new photos, updated GPS/Google Map.

Note: Ticks are utterly in love with the Pine Barrens… so be prepared for them. For the most part, trails here were pretty wide and not brushy however.

Map: There were paper maps outside the door of the nature center as well inside (and with a lot of other info, such as a Bethlahem Loading Company History Trail packet), or print the trail map ahead.

Our GPX file contains a track for the 6.4 mile as well as the 4.0 mile hike.

Nature Center
Glassworks remains
Glassworks remains
Observation deck over Stephens Creek
Stephens Creek
Bridge remains on Stephens Creek
Veterans Cemetery
On older maps this area is marked as a native american village
Downed tree at the end of Point Trail, scramble up it...
...for a view.
Observation blind off to the side of Cribbers Field
Cribbers Field
Swamp Trail
Swamp Trail
Swamp Trail travels through a cedar swamp
Swamp Trail travels through a cedar swamp
Side trail to a viewpoint along the Swamp Trail
South River from the Swamp Trail
Swamp Trail
Power Plant remains sign
Each info board has a map showing the locations
Power Plant remains
Power Plant remains
Artesian Well - not drinkable
to Smith-Ireland Cemetery
Smith-Ireland Cemetery
Smith-Ireland Cemetery
Smith-Ireland Cemetery
Smokeless Power Run trail
Admin building remains, off an optional side trail
Sign marking the Bethlehem Loading Co remains
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Books: A different route is found in Best Day Hikes in New Jersey. A similar but shorter route appears in Hiking New Jersey, listed as “Belcoville and the South River”.

Parking: N39.39824° W74.74275°
Garden State Parkway South to exit 38A for Atlantic City Expressway W, toward Camden/Philadelphia. Exit 12 for Rt. 40W. Left onto 50S. Park entrance is on left, there is a sign.

Restrooms: In the nature center (8:00 AM – 4:00 PM daily). Some porta-johns in the picnic area by the soccer fields and Veteran’s Cemetery.

Hike Directions:

The trails are not really blazed, there are some directional signage at junctions, and blue blazes appear… but it’s vague.

We use the trail names in the description below to match up with the map, but a lot of the time when on the actual trail there are no markings or names. For this route the map is really needed to follow along.

Overview: Pond Trail – Exercise Trail – Glassworks Trail – Center Trail – Exercise Trail – Point Trail – Cribbers Road – Swamp Trail – Smokeless Powder Trail – Duck Farm Trail – North End Trail

0.0 – The Pond Trail starts behind the nature center. If facing the front door, walk to the left of it on a paved path. Pass a tall wooden sign of directional arrows.

Shortly, reach wooden trail kiosk. On the left is the start of boardwalk, called the Gunpowder Trail on the map.

A few steps past the kiosk, bear RIGHT to continue on the Pond Trail.

[Shorter 4.0 mile option: Turn LEFT onto the boardwalk  (Gunpowder) and follow it until coming to a T with another boardwalk – continue where indicated below]

Follow Pond Trail as it turns LEFT over a wooden foot bridge.

0.4 – At the big wooden trail sign with “Laurel Trail” a blue number 5 on it, veer RIGHT to now follow Exercise Trail [Laurel Trail goes to the left. A picnic area come into view off on the right.]

0.5 – Turn RIGHT over a footbridge, through the gap in the fence, and across the park road towards the Glassworks ruins. There are several display boards explaining the buildings and the glass making process.

When ready, continue walking past the ruins (not marked). Follow the Glassworks Trail as it turns LEFT past the ruins.

0.8 – End up at the Stephens Creek observation deck with a bench.

Posts from a old bridge are visible in the water. The water level was much lower than when we visited in 2012.

When ready to continue, backtrack a few steps and turn RIGHT to now follow Center Trail, there are now large blue blazes on trees.

Cross the park road (Purple Heart Drive).

1.1 – Turn RIGHT and now follow the Exercise Trail.

1.4 – The Exercise Trail comes out to a cleared area near the park road with Veterans Cemetery across the park road .

—-
Optional add-on: Visit Veterans Cemetery as well as Steelman’s Creek burial ground behind that. 
—-

Turn LEFT and walk along the park road towards a playground and soccer field and follow the road as it curves around.

1.5 – Just after a field and the end of a wooden fence turn RIGHT onto Point Trail. There are two blue blazes indicating a right turn. The path has a chain blocking vehicles and is torn up, but then turns into a trail, with blue blazes.

1.7 – Past the bird/bat shelter on a pole is a metal dome frame in an area marked Native American Village on some maps, no longer marked on others.

The path continues a little further back to a large downed tree that can be (carefully!!) walked up for a view over the marsh.

Backtrack to just after the pole and veer RIGHT to now follow Cribbers Road.

2.1 – Pass Oak Barrel Trail on the left. (not marked and we didn’t notice it the last time we hiked).

2.4 – Cribbers field. Off on the left is an observation blind that overlooks the field.

Continue past the end of the field (don’t turn left). The trail was a little overgrown and hard to spot.

Shortly, hop over a little stream and continue in a little overgrown area.

2.9 – Cribbers Road ends at a T. Turn RIGHT at this T-intersection to start following the boardwalk Swamp Trail.

[Shorter 4.0 mile option: Turn LEFT on the boardwalk, now called Swamp Trail. Follow the rest of these directions]

Follow a looong section of boardwalk through coastal forest and a cedar swamp. Intersecting trail names are on plaques on the boardwalk.

3.6 – Pass a boardwalk that leaves to the left.

[We took this to see if there was anything interesting… there’s not. It leads to Crossover Field observation deck with absolutely nothing to see so we backtracked. Continuing on it would lead to Oak Ridge Trail.]

There are two platforms on the right side that look out over the South River. 

4.4 – At the end of the boardwalk, make a short side trip to the right to check out the Power Plant ruins. The pipe with water coming out are the remains of an Artesian Well… not suitable to drink!

Return to the boardwalk and turn RIGHT to follow a section of boardwalk to the small Smith/Ireland Cemetery with graves dating in the 1800s.

Continue past the cemetery to covered picnic tables. Cross Artesian Well Road.

4.6 – Follow the path along the left of the parking lot. Pass info board #11, Magazine.

4.8 – Follow the path as it curves left, now called Smokeless Powder Trail on the map. [A path is also on the right, called Camping Loop.]

5.0 – Smokeless Powder Trail ends at a T with Duck Farm Road. Turn LEFT and now follow Duck Farm Road.

Duck Farm woods road curves to the left at a parking..

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Hiking the highlights of Estell Manor Park – glassworks, ruins, and a long boardwalk through a cedar swamp.

It had been seven years since we visited Estell Manor Park. It’s a little far for us to drive for the length of hike, but when we got a loaner with The Hikemobile in the shop we’re like ooooooo let’s put some miles on this baby.

They gave us the 2019 version of our car, in the same color, so all it needed was one of our stickers slapped on the back… but I restrained myself.

For detailed hike directions, maps, GPX, and photos, visit our “Estell Manor Park” page.

Somehow we missed the glassworks ruins last time – no idea how I managed that. This we time we headed over to check it out.

Glass was produced here in the 1800s, using all that south Jersey sand, several boards explain the process.



We headed around to Stephens Creek which was quite a bit lower than last time.

This time we explored the Veterans Cemetery a bit.

Behind Veterans Cemetery is a Steelman’s Creek Burial Ground, with graves dating to the late 1700s.


We made our way around to the Point Trail. On some maps there is a marker for a Native American village but there is only a wire frame there, so if anything was every displayed then it’s long gone.

At the end of the point is a marshy area but it’s hard to see anything now. There is a large fallen tree that I don’t think was here before. Hurricane Sandy damaged the park so it’s possibly from that. 

Of course, Tom clambered right up this check out the view. (Disclaimer: We’re not suggesting you do too. Don’t run with scissors. And watch the tram car, please.)


Hiking in New Jersey never ceases to amuse:

Eventually we got around to the boardwalk trail and the neatest area of the park.



View of the South River.

Power Plant remains from when this area produced munitions during WWI.

Smith-Ireland cemetery.

North End trail is a straight shot back. This time we wandered down a side trail we’d missed that lead to remains of the Administration Building.

Not a lot to see at some of the sites, so we just continued on and didn’t do that whole side loop. In a bit, pass the remains of the reservoir:

For detailed hike directions, maps, GPX, and photos, visit our “Estell Manor Park” page.

Miles: 7.9 (Wandered around the cemeteries plus some extra here-n-there.)

Route: Pond Trail – Exercise Trail – Glassworks Trail – Center Trail – Exercise Trail – Point Trail – Cribbers Road – Swamp Trail – Smokeless Powder Trail – Duck Farm Trail – North End Trail

Post-Hike: Split the yummy yummy Bobo’s Apple Pie Bite from the latest Cairn Box with a venti iced vanilla latte… the first iced coffees of the season.

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Enjoyable hike through pine barrens with informative forestry and nature displays along the way.

7.2 or 2.5 miles. Easy sand and pine needled covered trails. Mostly level, except for a few teeny hills around the center.

Our two cents: Lots of educational stuff for kids – but it’s interesting for adults too. We didn’t get to check out the displays inside the Interpretive Center because it’s closed on weekends.

This route puts the shorter and more interesting trails first so that the long stretch of YELLOW (Pine Acres) can be easily cut out if needed. That’s a pleasant pine barrens stroll if you want the miles though.

Minor downside – heard low flying military jets all day long.

Map: Print ahead or pick up at the center. When it’s not open there should be maps in the box outside the door.

Books: A shorter route is in Best Day Hikes in New Jersey.

Parking: N40.09514° W74.32151°
495 Don Conner Blvd Jackson, New Jersey 08527

Large dirt lot by the interpretive center. The other side of the property is connected to the Forest Service Nursery and online or GPS might send you there. Complete directions on the park site.

Restrooms: Accessed from the outside of the center, but these were closed when the center was (on a weekend in March).

A porta-john is down the park road just over the bridge and is passed on this route early on. Or walk down the road first.

Another porta-john is on the Light Green (Forest Products Loop) trail.

Prescribed burn the day before.
Cross Don Connor Blvd
Turn around point on YELLOW
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Hike Directions:

Overview: RED (Firewise) – WHITE (Project Learning) – Light Green (Forest Products Loop) – BLUE (Swamp Life) – RED (Firewise) – PINK (Swamp Loop) – RED (Firewise) – YELLOW (Pine Acres)

0.0 – Across the parking lot from the Interpretive Center, start following RED (Firewise) briefly, then turn RIGHT to start following WHITE (Project Learning).

Continue on WHITE (Project Learning) as it crosses and briefly joins YELLOW (Pine Acres) a few times.

The trail is very mossy in spots and there are some display boards with various nature topics.

0.5 – Continue following WHITE (Project Learning) passing parts of the Sensory Trail with rope railings and the “Forest Fragrances / Natures Harvest” display.

Walk out-and-back on the boardwalk platform overlooking Toms River.

0.8 – After the “Indian Oak” tree cross section display board and a “White Oak” plaque on a tree with ORANGE and WHITE markers, turn LEFT and head towards the park road.

Turn LEFT to follow the park road on a bridge.

After the bridge, and before the porta-john that should be there, turn LEFT and continue following WHITE (Project Learning).

On the trail map a “connector trail” is indicated but we didn’t notice it.

After the “Sugar Shack” the trail is marked Light Green (Forest Products Loop) – start following this in a square loop.

Pass a wooden old-timey-looking outhouse (was locked).

1.2 – Turn RIGHT (not really marked) on to a sand road through the nursery area. There is another porta-john off to the left.

Continue on Light Green (Forest Products Loop) past the sawmill and logging truck. Walk under the “Forest Products Loop” sign.

Turn LEFT at the Bee kiosk and head back to the bridge/porta-john.

Continue straight a few steps (don’t turn back down the bridge) and then turn RIGHT to re-enter the woods to start following BLUE (Swamp Life).


Alternate: Cross the bridge to shorten the route by cutting out the Swamp Life loop.

Follow BLUE (Swamp Life) along the edge of a pond, through a wet area, and back around to the park road.

Turn LEFT on to the park road.

1.9 – Turn LEFT and start following RED (Firewise).

2.0 – Swamp Loop sign and a board about prescribed burns. We hiked here a day after one and the forest floor was burned in this area.

Take the path all the way to LEFT to follow PINK (Swamp Loop).

[Straight is the other end of the loop, and right is the continuation of RED to just this short not-actually-swampy trail out]

After the PINK (Swamp Loop) continue following RED (Firewise) again. Cross the park road.

2.4 – Turn LEFT to now follow YELLOW (Pine Acres) for the rest of the hike.


Shorter version, 2.5 mile: Turn RIGHT to return to the parking lot.

Cross Don Connor Blvd.

2.7 – Pass a side branch of YELLOW on the right that leads back to the main lot.

There are occasional blue blazes that are not on the trail map.

Continue following YELLOW (Pine Acres) as it turns left. We encountered some wet areas in this stretch.

3.2 – Turn LEFT on to a wide sand road.

[YELLOW (Pine Acres) also goes right and will be the return route so note this intersection.]

3.4 – Turn RIGHT off of the sand road. This turn was easy to miss but there are blazes on a tree. [Sand road continues straight.]

3.6 – Bench.

3.8 – Pass a BLUE blazed trail off to the right that crosses a wet area on pallets.

This is not on the trail map and we decided it wasn’t worth tottering over all that to find out if it went anywhere.

Another bench.

4.4 – Turn around at the trail kiosk and small dirt parking lot to start retracing the route back to the wide sand road from earlier.

5.6 – A few steps past where you came in, turn RIGHT to continue following YELLOW (Pine Acres) on a parallel path.

6.1 – Cross Don Connor Blvd. again.

7.1 – Cross WHITE (Project Learning)

Hiked: 3/9/19. Trail Blog: “Forest Resource Center after a Prescribed Burn

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