Palmyra Nature Cove Revisted – Palmyra, NJ

Our second guest post!  This one is from my buddy Dave, who (along with his wife Mary) have been loyal followers of this blog, suggesting some great trails that I’ve gone to check out, and hiking many of the trails featured here.  Thanks for sharing your adventure Dave and Mary!

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Palmyra Nature Cover (Revisted) – Palmyra, Burlington County, NJ

Distances: 8 miles of trails (this hike covered four miles)
Difficulty: 2 of 10
Rating: 8 of 10

Highlights: Wildlife and views of Pennsylvania and the bridges

Took advantage of the recent cool weather and got in a 4 mile walk at this hidden gem.  It’s located at the foot of the Tacony-Palmyra Bridge on the South Jersey side. Just take the jug handle for in front of the F.C. Kerbeck auto dealer and follow the signs to the park.  The park has a large visitors center which was closed before we finished but definitely worth checking out.  The first thing to mention about this is that it is a nature park. That means no pets allowed. (Our dog Jodi was rather insulted by this).  The trade off is you can walk right up to wild turkeys and deer with no problem.  We saw a group of about 8 turkeys and over 6 deer during our trip.

We took the Yellow Cove trail out.  There is another trail along the sandy banks of the river during low tide.  Wouldn’t advise it.  You’re walking in sand, and get to wade through all the garbage that the Delaware washes up.  The Yellow Cove trail goes close enough to the river and unfortunately shares its pollution.  It tracks the bank of what formerly was an area where the Army Corps of Engineers dumped the spoil it dredged up while keeping the Delaware shipping channel 40 feet deep.  Part of this trail was almost completely surrounded by large (10 foot high) phragmite reeds and considering the pollution present wasn’t that great.  But then the trail came upon some wooden walkways that allowed you to walk out into the cove and further in along the shore.  These areas were much more scenic and worth the trip.  Great views of the Tacony Palmyra, Betsy Ross, Pennsy RR Bridges and the Philly Skyline as well.

So this made up for the garbage heaved up by the Delaware.  On our trip back, we took one of the side trails that really get into the nature preserve.  These were spotless, well marked, and full of wildlife.  This made the whole hike really.

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Our walk was just under 4 miles but there are over 8  miles of trails you can hike.  Terrain is flat but varies from riverbank, to wooden catwalk, to woodland trail, to several ponds, coves, and other wetlands.  Difficulty is 2 out of 10, a really easy walk, depending on how far you want to go.  Overall rating an 8 out of 10.  Would’ve been perfect but for the Delaware River refuse which they really can’t control.

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IMG_2098Thanks Dave and Mary!

For more info and a map, see our original posting where we covered just the Cove Trail. This was one of the blog’s first posts, look how tiny The Pres was!

 

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Bortons Mill Trails – Cherry Hill, NJ

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Bortons Mills Trails – Cherry Hill, Camden County, NJ
Distance: Maybe a mile and half of trails with all the loops (we did 0.9 miles)
Type: interlocking loops
Difficulty: 1 of 10.
Total score: 3 of 10.

Website: www.cherryhilltrailcrew.com/

Note: This trail connects across the street with the

Terrain – flat, immature forest

Trailheads –  39° 53.759’N,  75° 0.863’W (Bortons Mill Road)
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Directions: Parking lot is on Bortons Mill Road at the intersection of Kitty Hawk Road.

Parking: Lot (used mostly for soccer fields there)
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Standouts – A nice walk through the trees

Markings – Well labeled trails by color
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Map:
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Description: This is a nice, simple walk through some fairly young forest.  No great views, not much of a chance for animals, no challanging climbs, you won’t even escape road noise, but a pleasant way to spend thirty minutes.

We made a big loop of the blue, brown, yellow, and red trails, but there is plenty of room to poke around the woods.

Getting started.

Getting started.

Someone is excited.

Someone is excited.

Some parts are in the trees, others are mown paths.

Some parts are in the trees, others are mown paths.

Someone got a new hat that he won't leave the house without.

Someone got a new hat that he won’t leave the house without.

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Overall recommendation: Not worth driving out of your way for, but a nice little walk if you’re close.

BONUS: This trail connects to the Croft Farm Trails (just cross Brace Road), which has further connections to the Hopkins Pond Trail and the Watchable Wildlife Trail, with a connecting trail all the way out to Cooper River Park in Pennsauken. With all the connections, you could easily turn this into a hike of a dozen miles.

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Trails East of Tracks – Wenonah Woods – Wenonah, NJ


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Trails east of the railroad tracks – Eldridge Loop, Indian Trail, Monongahela Brook Trail and Loop, Comey’s Lake Loop, and Garden Trail – Wenonah Woods Trails – Wenonah, Gloucester County, NJ

* NOTE – The Wenonah Conservation Area has a lot of trails and miles, I’ve decided to split it up but what’s east and west of the railroad tracks that split the town (which is how their map also splits it up).

Distance – 2.25 trail miles or so for recommended trip and a little under 1/4 mile roadwalk back to car.  Signs and maps disagree, and we missed a 1/2 mile trail, but clocked 1.9 on the GPS (not counting the road walk)
Type: Interlocking loops and a one-way trail.  Figure 8 with the roadwalk.
Difficulty: 4 of 10 – some ups and downs and a few trails on hillsides with tricky footing.
Total score: 7 of 10.

Website – Wenonah Trail System
Facebook page – Of course – Friends of Wenonah Trails

Terrain – marsh, woods, hills

Trailheads –  39° 47.156’N,  75° 8.720’W (Eldridge Loop Trailhead),  39° 47.057’N,  75° 8.470’W (Indian Trail Trailhead),  39° 47.146’N,  75° 8.916’W (Garden Trail Trailhead)

Directions – I parked at the Eldridge Loop Trailhead, on Pine Street just past the intersection with Princeton Ave in Wenonah, NJ

Parking – streetside parking

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Standouts – Lots of bridges over creeks, deep woods, some interesting walks up and down hills

Markings –No blazes, but use wooden signs at intersections.  Follow the wooden signs and the worn path (was a little confusing on the Indian Trail, but otherwise pretty clear).

Description -

It was a beautiful, warm 80 degree Friday, and I had off from work, so The Pres and I headed down to Wenonah to check out a series of trails that the town has built over the years.  I’d be given a heads up on these ones from James (who has a nice blog about pizza in Glassboro for those in need of the low down on Glassboro pizza) when I started this blog up back whenever I started this blog.

Because The Pres has short legs and I have a sizable gut, we decided to break down this series of trails into sections, focusing on the trails East of the train tracks that cut through town

We started at the Eldridge Trail at Pine Street.  Make a right from the road onto the trail!

Start of the trail.

Start of the trail.

Recognition for one of the fine people who made this system happen.

Recognition for one of the fine people who made this system happen.

Follow the trail down a series of spread out steps until you reach a bridge.  No handrails, so cross carefully.  You’ll notice that the trail splits to the right almost immediately after this.  Stay to the left on the Eldridge Trail.  You’ll cross another bridge, then some planks over marshy bits.  Finally, you’ll end up at an intersection.  The Eldridge Trail goes straight, the Indian Trail goes right.

Down the steps.  Run, run, run, run, run.

Down the steps. Run, run, run, run, run.

Some nice little views through the trees.

Some nice little views through the trees.

Keep running.

Keep running.

The first bridge.

The first bridge.

Nice little view from the bridge.

Nice little view from the bridge.

First intersection.  Stay left.

First intersection. Stay left.

The second, much smaller bridge.

The second, much smaller bridge.

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Boards.

Boards.

Intersection with the Indian Trail.

Intersection with the Indian Trail.

Not having a map (the office closed at 1 PM on Friday, we got there at 2… whoops), we decided to take the Indian Trail, which is listed as 0.25 miles.  In retrospect, don’t, it is just a connection with Indian Trail Road.  If you follow it, you just end up in a cul-de-sac and have to come back the way that you came.

Woods.

Woods.

More woods.

More woods.

Lovely woods.

Lovely woods.

Emerging onto the paved road.

Emerging onto the paved road.

So after our 1/2 mile detour, we ended up back at the Eldridge Trail where we’d left it.

This looks familiar.

This looks familiar.

Because it is.

Because it is.

Back on the Eldridge Trail to complete our 3/4 mile loop through some really nice swamps and over some lovely bridges.

Trail.

Trail.

Monongahela Brook Loop turnoff.  We didn't turn here because someone was acting tired, but I totally suggest adding this loop to your hike.

Monongahela Brook Loop turnoff. We didn’t turn here because someone was acting tired, but I totally suggest adding this loop to your hike.

Of course, someone immediately decided he wasn't tired after all.  Oh well.

Of course, someone immediately decided he wasn’t tired after all. Oh well.

Run, run, run, run, run.

Run, run, run, run, run.

Awesome knobby tree.

Awesome knobby tree.

Did I mention how nice these trails were?

Did I mention how nice these trails were?

A few open patches.

A few open patches.

But mostly just a cool, shady walk.

But mostly just a cool, shady walk.

End of the Eldridge Loop.

End of the Eldridge Loop.

The end of the Eldrige Loop Trail will bring you to Comey’s Lake.  There is a nice bench there to sit at and admire the water.  You can then go left and follow the trail past the house up the road.  OR, you can hang a left and complete the Comey’s Lake Loop (3/4 of a mile).  This loop is a little more challanging than the Eldridge Loop, with some unexpected short climbs.  I totally suggest going with option 2.

The trail follows the water until it runs out, then follows the swamp muck until you reach a split in the trail.  Left goes across a bridge to the other side of the lake.  Right goes up to a really nice pavilion that is great for a picnic.  If you go up to the pavilion, you do have to backtrack to the split at some point (can’t live there, no matter how nice it is!)

We made it to the lake!

We made it to the lake!

Mr. Stewert, you are awesome.

Mr. Stewert, you are awesome.

Water and goldfish break.

Water and goldfish break.

We headed right to go around the lake.

We headed right to go around the lake.

At the split int he trail.

At the split int he trail.

View of the pavilion from the bridge.

View of the pavilion from the bridge.

From here, it’s a short climb up to the ridge.  The trail will follow the ridge for a while, stopping to decend and then re-climb a few times.  The most interesting is the enclosed steps.  Don’t follow them to the bottom, that’s not the trail.  Exit at the gap.  This route will eventually bring you to an entrance/exit in the fence at the road, next to the nice house.

Stairs!  You can see the gap to get out.

Stairs! You can see the gap to get out.

We, of course, did not notice it until the bottom.

We, of course, did not notice it until the bottom.

Some nice drop off here.

Some nice drop off here.

This is a really nice trail.  I think I said that already.

This is a really nice trail. I think I said that already.

The exit.

The exit.

We, of course, didn’t get off at the exit, and instead headed back down the path to the lake, headed out on the dock, then realized that the trail back to the car was up at the top where the gap in the fence was.  Whoops.

Still, not a bad turn to miss if we got this.

Still, not a bad turn to miss if we got this.

Someone climbed up to take a look.  Don't let his mom know.

Someone climbed up to take a look. Don’t let his mom know.

So we backtracked and walked down the road back to the car and trailhead.  This is the “official” trail, there is no other connection.

Head down the road.

Head down the road.

Stern, but timely, warning.

Stern, but timely, warning.

We made it!

We made it!

Having found the car, The Pres decided he was upset because he wasn’t done hiking, even after two miles.  So we headed back down the Eldridge Trail to where the Monogahela Brook Trail (not to be confused with the Monogahela Brook Loop, while shares some of it’s treadway, just not here) had come in and hang a right.

Remember this place?

Remember this place?

It’s a 1/4 mile to South Marion Road and the highway bridge.  This 1/2 mile has some tricky footing (see also: Difficulty 4 rating), so be careful!  It’s an interesting little jog in the trail.

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Steep.

Steep.

The Pres and I both slipped about here.

The Pres and I each slipped about here.

Made it to the stream!

Made it to the stream!

Here, we turned up the road and completed our loop with a road walk.  That was dumb, don’t do that.

Instead, cross over South Marion Road and keep going about another 1/4 mile to where the Monogahela Brook Trail ends.  There, there should be another intersection.  One way will be the beginning of the Mantua Creek Trail (which we’ll talk about some other time, as it quickly crosses the tracks and into our next adventure here), the other way will be the very short Garden Trail, which will bring you up to Clinton Street and the playground.  You can then walk straight down Pine Street for 0.2 miles to your waiting car.  This is the same distance as what we did, only a safer roadwalk and a nice bit of forest to boot.

This concludes our “East of the Tracks” trails.  The only trail on this side of the tracks not accounted for is the unconnected 0.3 mile Wenonah School Trail, which we’ll do sometime and tack in here, deleting this current ending as if it had never been there at all.

Overall recommendation: I LOVE these trails.  Interesting, well maintained, with some tricky parts to make it really interesting.  And I have another one or two trips to cover the rest of the this system, which is something I’m looking forward to.

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Sunfish Pond II: Meeting Dr. Dave- Columbia, NJ

Sunfish Pond Hike II – Worthington State Park, Columbia, Warren County, NJ: Douglas Trail – Appalachian Trail

Distance: 15 miles
Type: Out and back
Difficulty – 9 of 10… you have a tough 1,200 foot climb.
Total score – 9 of 10.

Terrain – mountains

Trailheads: Campground at Worthington State Forest –  41° 0.770′N,  75° 4.943′W

So the Scouts and I were back up in Worthington State Park on the Appalachian Trail this weekend.  As previously mentioned in this blog, Sunfish Pond is one of my favorite hikes of all time.  There are plenty of details in my other post for a great day hike or weekend backpacker trip on this stretch of trail.

What made this trip extra great was meeting thru-hiker Dr. Dave Rough on the trail this morning.  For the two of you who regularly read my blog, you may remember Dave from my long winded ramblings about backpacking and my obsession with AT thruhiking.  Well, he’s made it to New Jersey, and I was thrilled to be able to welcome him to the greatest state in the union on his first day here.
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Hindenburg Crash Site and Lakehurst Naval Air Station – Lakehurst, NJ

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Hindenburg Crash Site – Lakehurst Naval Air Station, Lakehurst, NJ

Official Website – Lakehurst Historical Society
Tour information direct link – Tour information

Directions – Cathedral of the Air, 264 Hope Chapel Road, Lakehurst, NJ 08733 (where all tours start, this is outside of the base)

Back in mid-June, I went with family and friends over to Lakehurst to check out the Hindenburg Crash Site.  Needless to say, I was the only one with a two month old on the tour.

A note – this is an active military base, so you can’t just show up and take this tour.  You have to sign up at least two weeks in advance and send them some information about yourself and your tourmates (driver’s license info, etc) when they respond to your tour request.  This is so they can do the background checks ahead of time.  Again, active military base.

That being said, we met up at the Cathedral of the Air at the crack of 9:30, which is just outside the base proper.  It was built by the American Legion in the 1930s.  The tour starts by going through this chapel.  What makes it unique are the beautiful stained glass windows.  While many churches have beautiful stained glass windows, very few are aeronautically themed.  The memorials navy airships, the USS Shenandoah and the USS Akron, that crashed during active duty are located in the front of church close to the main entrance.

Cathedral of the Air

Cathedral of the Air

Beautiful stained glass windows.

Beautiful stained glass windows.

That are flight themed, like the Wright Brothers flyer shown here.

That are flight themed, like the Wright Brothers flyer shown here.

Memorial to the Shenandoah.

Memorial to the USS Shenandoah.

After touring the church, the tour heads onto the base itself for the main attraction – the Hindenburg Crash Site.  Here, the tour guide gave a lengthy (25 – 30 minute), detailed, and fascinating talk about the history of the Hindenburg, as well as breakdown of her final flight.  The weather was so nice, that no one minded, and this was the most riveting part of the tour.

Big group.

Big group.

Crash site (note: the area outlined is roughly where the command capsule crashed.  The whole airship was much bigger, it took up almost this entire field).

Crash site (note: the area outlined is roughly where the command capsule crashed. The whole airship was much bigger, it took up almost this entire field).

Plaque.

Plaque.

The baby is super impressed (you can tell because he is asleep).

Tree Rider (aka, that little baby) is super impressed.  You can tell because he is asleep.  Two month olds are had to impress.

Halfway between the cell phone tower on the right and where the taller trees start on the left, you can see the nub of the mooring mast (which dominates most pictures of the crash).  This is the same mast that the USS Los Angeles did a headstand on as well.  Sadly, it was cut down back in the late '30s.

Halfway between the cell phone tower on the right and where the taller trees start on the left, you can see the nub of the mooring mast (which dominates most pictures of the crash). This is the same mast that the USS Los Angeles did a headstand on as well. Sadly, it was cut down back in the late ’30s.

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The tour is far from over…

Our last stop is Lakehurst Hanger #1 (the one to the left, the other two weren't there when the Hindenburg went down).

Our last stop is Lakehurst Hanger #1 (the one to the left, the other two weren’t there when the Hindenburg went down).

The last stop for the day was the longest part of the tour, taking roughly an hour and a half.  We started in the small gift shop/museum.  They have a great selection of zeppelin and airship themed books, posters, and such (we got a patch and a magnet for cheap).  You can even buy a piece of the USS Los Angeles, which I would totally own right now if I had $80 to spare.  The rest of the room is dedicated to memorabilia and pictures of the Hindenburg and of the US airships.  I am assuming this is the greatest collection of airship artifacts anywhere, because were else in the world would anyone go to see them than where the Hindenburg went down?  Our guide spent a good amount of time (at least 30-40 minutes) going through to explain about the different airships.  While I found this interesting, The Pres found running in circles and accidentally crashing into people interesting (this is why we have a hiking deep in the woods blog, and not an exploring populated places blog).  I had to take him outside, where he was very sad.

This building is HUGE.  Paul poses to help give you an idea.

This building is HUGE. Paul poses to help give you an idea.

Into the Heritage Center.

Into the Heritage Center.

A piece of the Hindenburg.

A piece of the Hindenburg.

Signal lights that used to help guide the airships in.

Signal lights that used to help guide the airships in.

One of the tour guides noticed that I had taken The Pres out (it was very noticeable) and came to find us.  He took us (and my brother-in-law, who The Pres adores above all others) into the main hanger so that The Pres could run around some.  I was absolutely blown away by the size of this building.  I actually got dizzy when I tried to lean back and look straight up at the roof.  What made this even better is that the only remaining navy blimp was in the hangar that day.

Awesome.

Awesome.

The size of the blimp, which is substantial, was still dwarfed by the size of the hangar.  Our group soon joined back up with us, which gave us bonus time to check the place out (or run really fast, depending if you are me or The Pres).

Fun fact of the hangar tour: the Hindenburg had only 18 inches of clearance at the front and back end of this hangar.  That’s it!

The tour then worked its way past a restored blimp capsule, up onto a fake (but large) aircraft carrier runway, then out the back door.

This is so cool.

This is so cool.

This place is big.  You'll see how big in about four more pictures.

This place is big. You’ll see how big in about two  more pictures.  You can see the tracks here that were used to steer the airships into the hangar.

Fake aircraft carrier.

Fake aircraft carrier.

Remember that huge blimp?  Look how tiny it looks from the other side of the hangar.

Remember that huge blimp? Look how tiny it looks from the other side of the hangar.

Outside, we looked at the massive doors that had to be opened to allow the airships to stay in this building.  This massive door took SEVEN HOURS to open.  It was last opened in the 1980s (which used to seem not that long ago, but really was).  These doors are so big, only a panorama shot will fit them in.

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Gears to open the doors.

Gears to open the doors.

After seeing the doors, it was back inside to a small museum.  The museum mostly held old war uniforms and detailed models of various military vehicles: planes, ships, tanks, etc.  This was, by far, The Pres’s favorite part of the tour.

He loved it.

He loved it.

Overall, a completely awesome way to spend 2 1/2 hours.  The tour is entirely FREE, but please make a donation to the Historical Society so that they can continue to offer these great tours!

The fine looking group that braved the tour.  Next time, we need a number other than 13 though.

The fine looking group that braved the tour. Next time, we need a number other than 13 though.

ALSO IN THE AREA:

Since we drove so far…

The Lakehurst Diner:

We had lunch at the Lakehurst Diner.  The food wasn't great, but they do offer a burger called "The Blimp".  I hear you can only get it well done.

We had lunch at the Lakehurst Diner. The food wasn’t great, but they do offer a burger called “The Blimp”. I hear you can only get it well done.

Colliers Mills Wildlife Management Area:

Colliers Mills Wildlife Management Area is only about ten minutes away.  Since we were so close, we took a half hour to explore by car while the kids slept in the backseat.

Colliers Mills Wildlife Management Area is only about ten minutes away. Since we were so close, we took a half hour to explore by car while the kids slept in the backseat.

I strongly suggest reading Whispers in the Pines: The Secrets of Colliers Mills by Karen Riley.  I just had, which is why we made sure to stop here.  We'll be back when we have more time and awake babies.

I strongly suggest reading Whispers in the Pines: The Secrets of Colliers Mills by Karen Riley. I just had, which is why we made sure to stop here. We’ll be back when we have more time and awake babies.

Ice cream:

The boys and wife were good sports about today, so we got ice cream.

The boys and wife were good sports about today, so we got ice cream.

My mom used to get my brother and I ice cream here on the way back from Long Beach Island when we were kids.  The ice cream is still cold and delicious.

My mom used to get my brother and I ice cream here on the way back from Long Beach Island when we were kids. The ice cream is still cold and delicious.

Overall, a great day.

Overall, a great day.

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Newton Lake Park – Oaklyn, NJ

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Trail – Newton Lake County Park – Oaklyn/Collingswood/Haddon Township, Camden County, NJ
Distance: Somewhere around 4 miles of trail (we did 1 1/2 miles this time)
Type: Loop (with some options for smaller loops).
Difficulty: 1 of 10.
Total score: 5 of 10.

Terrain – flat walk along a lake.

Trailheads – Pretty much anywhere along the trail, just park along the side of the road. Good sized parking lots just off the White Horse Pike on Newton Lake Drive.

Directions – Newton Lake Drive in (I think) Oaklyn. We parked just off of Cuthbert Blvd on Lakeshore Drive (Haddon Township)

Standouts – The lake

Markings – None, but it’s a very clear, paved pathway.

Description:

Hey wait, didn’t I post about Newton Lake before?  Well remembered, but that was canoeing, this is hiking.

So last night, we went for a hike here after dinner.  It’s a nice walk in a beautiful park.  The bugs were not out at all, the fountains were on, it’s cool by the water, the bunny rabbits were out hopping around.  Lovely way to spend an evening.

So why only a 5 of 10?  One reason – people, people, people.  Bike riders flying past, people running past, a whole running club of 5,000 kids tearing around, dogs (okay, The Pres loved the amount of dogs)… it was a madhouse.  Some of the enjoyment was taken out of the walk by constantly making sure that The Pres wasn’t trampled to death or the recipient of a permanent tire mark across his body.

With that being said, there is a reason so many people are there – it’s really nice.

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Although, I definitively preferred canoeing it.

Overall recommendation: Nice lake, beautiful park, just expect to share it.

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Wheelabrator Wildlife Refuge – Westville, NJ

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Wheelabrator Wildlife Refuge – Westville , Gloucester County, NJ
Distance: 1.5 miles (one way)
Type: Out and back
Difficulty: 1 of 10.
Total score: 7 of 10.

Terrain – marshland and meadows

Trailheads –  39° 52.288’N,  75° 8.223’W
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