Ted Stiles Preserve at Baldpate Mountain, Titusville, NJ

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Summit Trail, NW Loop Trail, and Ridge Trail – Ted Stiles Preserve at Baldpate Mountain – Titusville, Mercer County, NJ

Distance: 4 1/2 miles (12 miles of trails in the park)
Type: Loop (more trails we did not get to hike)
Difficulty: 7 of 10.
Total score: 8 of 10.

Terrain – hills, forests, fields

Trailheads – 40° 19.107′N,  74° 53.433′W (Parking lot at start of Summit Trail).  Other parking areas and trailheads in the park.

Directions: Located off of Fiddler’s Creek Road.

Standouts – nice 350+ foot climb, view from the top!

Markings – Colored blazes (blue for Summit Trail, white for Ridge Trail, red for NW Loop Trail)

NOTE: BE CAREFUL!!!  Hunting is allowed in this park during season, so it’s recommended that you do not hike on days where hunting may be taking place in the park (roughly November to February).  There is no hunting on Sundays in New Jersey, so Sundays are clear year round.

Description:  I’d heard a rumor that there was a mountain in South Jersey with nearly a 400 foot climb.  More unbelievably, this was supposedly located mere miles from Trenton.  What more do you need to drag you into an adventure?

Thus, one gorgeous Saturday in early October, my old roommate Skunk, the Pres, and I set off to find this mysterious mountain.  And find it we did, located at the Ted Stiles Preserve in Titusville, just a few minutes from Washington’s Crossing.

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Heading up from the parking lot, the first thing that we noticed was the rocks, a rare sight on the trails that we’re all used to.  We pushed further down the trail, which began to climb and climb and climb.  The rocks became more and more common, until the trail was nothing but rocks.  Steep inclines had rock stairs crafted into the trail to make the climbing easier.  It reminded me of the Appalachian Trail, which is a thought I never thought I’d express about a trail this close to our state’s capital.

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Thankfully, he had a haircut soon after this hike.  It was getting out of control.

Thankfully, he had a haircut soon after this hike. It was getting out of control.

Seriously, steps.

Seriously, steps.  The Pres is helping Unc Skunk.

The trail crossed a road, climbed through a field (you can see the park headquarters across said field), then reached the summit.  While far from the most spectacular view I’ve had it my life, it was some serious view for this far south in New Jersey.  The climb was something over 300 feet, and I was proud The Pres had done it like it was nothing.

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Getting close!

Getting close!

We made it!

We made it!

We admired the view and celebrated with sips of water and some pretzel sticks.  The Pres seemed well rested, and the climb hadn’t taken too long, so we decided to head down the white blazed ridge trail for a spell.  After a few tenths of a mile, we made a left onto the red blazed loop trail.  That began to drop us down in elevation.  We followed the trail down, then across the lower part of the mountain, talked to some Scouts on a warm up backpacking hike (Troop 1776 of Titusville, NJ, I was seriously impressed by some of the cool trips they’ve done, like backpacking in California and Oregon and canoeing in Ontario.  If you are from around Trenton and have a son in the right age range, check them out!) then back up at least 200 feet to the ridge to complete the loop with the white trail.

Ridge Trail and Summit Trail intersect.  Some nice picnic tables here to snack at.

Ridge Trail and Summit Trail intersect. Some nice picnic tables here to snack at.

Most of the Red Trail looked like this.

Most of the Red Trail looked like this.

Except when it looked like this.  Or was covered with Boy Scouts on a backpacking warm up hike.

Except when it looked like this. Or was covered with Boy Scouts on a backpacking warm up hike.

We stopped by the park office, which was closed, and checked out a few of the cool buildings in the complex.

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Then we reconnected with the Summit Trail, headed down to the parking lot, and took stock of our hike.  Overall, somewhere around 500 to 600 feet of elevation climbs, 4 1/2 miles of walking, and some great scenery.  The Pres had refused to ride in the carrier pack at all, finishing the whole thing himself, climbs and all.  That’s pretty ridiculous for a 2 1/2 year old.  He celebrated by running around in circles in the parking lot (seriously).

Overall recommendation: I LOVED this hike.  Elevation so close to home!  A view from a mountain top!  And there are several more miles of trails on the east end of the park that we didn’t get to see, which means more exploring in the future!

Nearby:  Washington’s Crossing is mere minutes away.  Skunk and The Pres had never been, so we went over to take a look.

And to wonder why George Washington didn't have his men use the bridge.

And to wonder why George Washington didn’t have his men use the bridge.

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Richterman Trail – Cherry Hill, NJ

Richterman Trail – Cherry Hill Trail System – Cherry Hill, Camden County, NJ
Distance: 0.45 miles (one way)
Type: Out-and-back
Difficulty: 1 of 10.
Total score: 2 of 10.

Terrain –Flat woodlands

Trailheads –  39°52’13.55″N,  74°57’25.82″W

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September 24 -I Made It

southjerseytrails:

Back in March, I blabbered on about backpacking and the Appalachian Trail and some thru-hikers I’d be following virtually this season. Today, one of them summited Katahdin. HUGE congrats to Dr. Dave on achieving his dream of doing the whole AT!

Originally posted on Hike It Forward:

Today was a perfect day to summit Katahdin. More details tomorrow but I am officially a Thru-Hiker!!!!!

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Conestoga Trail: Pequea Creek to House Rock – Pequea, PA

Down.

Conestoga Trail: Pequea Creek Campground to House Rock– Pequea, Lancaster County, PA
Distance: 6 miles round trip
Type: Out and back
Difficulty: 8 of 10 – some very steep up and downs, including areas
Total score: 10 of 10.

Terrain – Steep hills, not for the faint of heart.

Trailheads –  39° 53.577′N,  76° 21.480′W (Pequea Creek Campground)

Camping – Pequea Creek Campground - family owned campground run by some really nice people.

Directions - 86 Fox Hollow Road, Pequea, PA 17565

Parking – If camping, park at the campground.  Not sure where you would park otherwise, as I’ve always camped when doing this hike.

Standouts – House Rock with a great view of the Susquehanna River and Wind Cave, which you can explore!

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Old Orchards Trail – Cherry Hill, NJ

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Old Orchards Trail – Cherry Hill Trail System– Cherry Hill, Camden County, NJ
Distance: Just under a mile of trails
Type: Figure 8.
Difficulty: 1 of 10.
Total score: 3 of 10.

Maintained by the good people at Cherry Hill Trail Crew

Terrain – Forest and meadow

Trailheads –  39° 53.242′N,  74° 57.223′W

Directions: Located on Thornhill Road in Cherry Hill, NJ.

Parking – Along Thornhill Road or a few spots at the playground.

Standouts – No real standouts, but a nice little hike.

Markings – Color coded signs at intersections

Description -

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As always, a nice job by the Cherry Hill Trail Crew.  This path meanders through a small patch of forest and meadow back in the Old Orchards neighborhood.  You can park at the small lot near the playground on Thornhill Road, or there is an entrance at the back of the soccer fields at the middle school.

The trail is short, but the woods are nice, I saw five deer, and there’s a small meadow (with a crushed stone pathway) to break it up a bit.  If you’re up for a bit more exploring, leave the trail at the crushed stone part and wander along the stream bank.  Maybe they’ll expand the trails down that way soon, it wouldn’t surprise me.

Road connection past the playground to the trails.

Road connection past the playground to the trails.

Small creek next to the lead in trail.

Small creek next to the lead in trail.

As always, the trails are marked with color coded signs.

As always, the trails are marked with color coded signs.

When is this bum going to hike on his own?  He's almost 5 months old!

When is this bum going to hike on his own? He’s almost 5 months old!

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Trail toward the middle school fields.

Trail toward the middle school fields.

Popped off the trail into the soccer fields.  Turn around here and you can do the other half of the loop.

Popped off the trail into the soccer fields. Turn around here and you can do the other half of the loop.

Nice trees.

Nice trees.

He's trying to figure out how I got ahead of him.

He’s trying to figure out how I got ahead of him.

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Somewhere in this picture there are five deer hiding.

Somewhere in this picture there are five deer hiding.

Well constructed bit of trail.  There is still a pile of stone to be spread out, so the rest of this part of the trail should be really nice.

Well constructed bit of trail. There is still a pile of stone to be spread out, so the rest of this part of the trail should be really nice.

Oh no!  Rain! (Hard to see in this picture)

Oh no! Rain! (Hard to see in this picture)

Overall recommendation: Nice little twenty minute hike if you’re in the area.

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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.

 

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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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