Songbird Trail and Woodcock Trail – Cape May National Wildlife Refuge – Delaware Bay Unit – Middle Township (Cape May Courthouse), Cape May County, NJ
Distance – official is just over a mile, but my GPS said 1.5.
Type – Loop trail
Difficulty: 2 of 10
Total score: 4 of 10
Website – http://www.friendsofcapemayrefuge.org/
Open – Sunrise to Sunset.
Terrain – Meadows, woods, and marshland
Songbird Trail –
Trailheads – Parking lot at Refuge Headquarters – 39° 5’58.64″N, 74°52’48.16″W
Trail parking lot – 39° 6’3.43″N, 74°52’53.89″W
Directions – 24 Kimbles Beach Rd, Middle Township, NJ 08210
Parking – Parking either at the refuge headquarters, or across the street and down 100 feet in the trail parking lot.
Standouts – Nice patch of woods, part of trail is well labeled nature trail.
Markings – painted blazes, metal blazes, and trail signs.
Description – As Day #2 of Hikesgiving arrived, we started a day of hiking getting warmed up on the Songbird Trail at the Delaware Bay Unit of the Cape May National Wildlife Refuge. Tree Rider fell asleep in the car, so The Pres and I left him with The Wife and set off from the parking lot of the refuge headquarters.
Heading in this direction, we immediately left the national wildlife refuge and ended up in the Hands Landing Preserve, which is owned by the Nature Conservancy, but has no online presence what-so-ever that I can find. I knew the trail more or less followed the road, but there were a few times that a trail branched off deeper into the woods. Some of those were even blazed, which made it confusing.
Eventually, the path keeps going straight, but the trail turns right, immediately reenters the national wildlife refuge, and quickly reaches the road. The trail continues on the other side of the road.
On the other side, the trail follows what looks like an old road, then turns left into the woods, then quickly turns back to the right. Pay very close attention to the blazes. It then crosses a ditch on a few downed logs, although you could easily hop across here without any aid.
On the other side of the ditch, the trail heads out toward the edge of some marshland. No clear views here, but a spot of mud, so keep an eye on the trail. It meanders back around after a bit and then makes a sharp left onto what appears to be an old road or dirt track.
You’ll follow this nice, clear pathway dead straight until it meets up with the nature trail portion of the Songbird Trail, which is surfaced in crushed gravel. This part of the trail is very easy to follow, and take a look at the information signs along the way explaining some of the plant life around you. This trail will go all the way to the trailhead parking lot (NOT the refuge office lot that we started at).
Here, we met up with The Wife and Tree Rider, one of whom had woken up from his nap. The trail runs into the parking lot, then leaves it past some shed-type buildings. Follow along the clear, right-of-way until you’re close to the refuge office. Then the trail turns toward the office, crosses a field, and then crosses the road back to where we started.
Overall recommendation – Nice little hike if you’re in the area, but there are nicer trails than the Songbird Trail near here that you can hike. If I did it again, I’d reverse the order and head across the street first.
Nearby – Lizard Swamp Preserve is supposed to be really good!
Woodcock Trail –
Have not hiked yet!
Trailheads – 39° 5’38.19″N, 74°52’51.96″W
Directions – Woodcock Lane, Middle Township, NJ
Parking – Roadside parking
Markings – N/A
Description – Have not hiked yet!