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.
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
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).
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!
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.
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.
So after our 1/2 mile detour, we ended up back at the Eldridge Trail where we’d left it.
Back on the Eldridge Trail to complete our 3/4 mile loop through some really nice swamps and over some lovely bridges.
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!)
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.
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.
So we backtracked and walked down the road back to the car and trailhead. This is the “official” trail, there is no other connection.
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.
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.
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.