Amico Island County Park – Riverside (or Delran), Burlington County, NJ
Distance: 2 trail miles, can string together something slightly longer. (We walked a mile and a half this day, completing the blue trail and wandering after birdies along the shoreline)
Type: Interlocking loops leading from one parking lot
Difficulty: 3 of 10 (The Pres rates it a difficulty of 10 of 10, but that’s because he has little toddler legs and doesn’t like to walk in the snow)
Total score: 8 of 10.
Terrain – Beautiful woodlands on an “island” (Note: you’ll notice from the map it’s not really an island).
Trailheads – All trails lead from the parking lot at 40° 2.264’N, 74° 58.697’W
Directions: 81 Norman Ave, Riverside, NJ. Very close to Rt 130.
Hours: 8 AM to sunset
Standouts – Beautiful views of the Delaware River, birds galore, deer (saw plenty of tracks, didn’t see any live ones), picnic spots, and fishing.
Markings – Posts and paint marks.
Description: Cabin fever, the promise of decent temperatures, and a crushing loss of the US hockey team to Canada drove us out for our first real hike of 2014. The Pres and I decided to check out Amico Island County Park, which we had picked up a beautiful map of last Spring and hadn’t gotten to yet.
The good news was that it was already in the mid-40s, heading for the mid-50s. The bad news…
Nevertheless, we had an awesome two hours, just at a slower pace than usual (and the only time I’ve seen him hike without running).
Having picked up a beautiful map of the trails, I left it at home by mistake. So we took a left onto the blue trail because that’s the direction a dog was heading (Needless to say, I didn’t pick the direction). The blue trail weaves through marshier areas, mixed in with lovely clumps of trees. You’ll have half a dozen stairs to climb at one point (or be carried up, if you’re so lucky).
After the stairs, we quickly arrived at a point where you can walk out onto the shoreline to check out what’s going on. This day, it was tons of birds hanging out on or next to the ice. The only bird I could definitely identify was the seagull (The Pres’s favorite… he doesn’t get that from me), but those ones with the necks might be herons. Or might not. We spent a half hour or so here pointing and saying “dir-dee” over and over again. Time well spent.
Getting back on the trail, I figured it was around the corner to the parking lot. My sense of directions today was as bad as my map-remembering skills. It was time to give The Pres a lift, and we strolled down the snow covered trail, around a little cove, up on a bit of a ridge, past a pair of lovely overlooks complete with benches, and down a steeper hill than I expected on such a small peninsula.
The blue trail finally hooks back toward the parking lot. We stopped for a sit and a drink at the beach at this point, checking out more (but much further away) birdies.
After a while hanging out there, someone was really, really tired. He fell half asleep on my shoulder as I carried him the rest of the way to the parking lot. Along this stretch, the red trail split off twice (it’s a loop). Somewhere off to our left, the yellow trail split from the red trail to take you to the northern-most part of the “island”, where Rancocas Creek comes in (that part is in hindsight, after checking out the map when we made it home). Someday soon, we’ll be back to tackle those trails and see what the island looks like when it’s green.
Overall, it was a perfect day.
Until the USA lost to Finland in the Bronze medal game on the way home. My radio is in pieces somewhere along Haddonfield Road as we speak.
Overall recommendation: Beautiful park, I should have visited sooner! As I said, we will be back (when the snow melts) to check out the northern half of the island. Also, if you are a little too obsessed with hockey, make sure to become a Canadian citizen so you have a remote chance of seeing your team get a gold medal.
Also check out about Amico Island:
South Jersey History & Adventures (aka Yummygal’s Blog) – great post with pictures without snow. Also great historical information passed along from historian Paul Schopp.
Official Park Page
South Jersey Sun: Amico Island Park