Cedar Swamp Trail – Great Cedar Swamp Division – Cape May National Wildlife Refuge – Ocean View (Dennis Township), Cape May County, NJ
Distance – 1.2 miles
Type – Lollipop
Difficulty: 2 of 10 (Note: this looks like it would be a good spot to be a mosquito in the warm months, plan accordingly)
Total score: 7 of 10
Website – Cape May National Wildlife Refuge
Open – Sunrise to Sunset.
Terrain – meadows, woods, and, of course, swamps
Trailheads – 39°15’6.87″N, 74°42’10.94″W
Directions -Tyler Road, Ocean View, NJ
Parking – Small lot that can hold five or six cars
Standouts – swamps, family graveyard, big meadow.
Markings – Markers on posts.
Description – After an awesome Hikesgiving Day #1 at Forsythe, we’d had a not-nearly as good pretty rough Hikesgiving Day #2. The day started very well at the Delaware Bay Unit of this wildlife refuge, but then we started hitting closed nature preserves, which used up valuable “the kids are not tired and cranky” time. By the time we hit the Cedar Swamp Trail, it was getting close to the end of the day, and I was a little bummed out, as we don’t get down to Cape May County to hike very often.
This trail snapped me right out of that.
We decided to let Tree Rider hike to start, so The Pres and The Wife ended up way up ahead. Tree Rider and I ended up twenty feet from the trailhead, closely examining sticks.
Then I heard The Wife exclaim from further up the trail… “Hey, there’s a graveyard here!”
Tree Rider was up in the pack and away we went. The stick of the lollipop is very short, so when we hit the loop, we turned left.
As I crossed the meadow, I saw a large, gnarled tree up ahead. I started thinking to myself, “Please let that be where the graveyard is. Please let that be where the graveyard is.” And it was.
The graveyard is the final resting place of the Young Family. We spent some time snapping pictures and paying our respects, then moved on.
From there, the trail crossed the remainder of the meadow (only a few hundred more yards) before entering the woods.
Unfortunately, we’d taken so long to get here that Tree Rider was in desperate need of a nap. So The Wife turned around to take him back to the car. The Pres opted to go with his brother, so I soldiered on the remaining mile or so by myself.
Once the trail enters the woods, it quickly changes from a wide, clear path, to a more tangled tight hikeway. The trail is well marked and fairly well worn, but needs to be followed very closely. You’ll quickly hit the swamp areas, which are very nice to hike through.
Eventually, the trail wander back toward the large, open meadow, where it again widens out considerable. A short hike through the meadow will bring you back to the stick of the lollipop, which you can follow a short distance back to the parking lot.
Overall recommendation – This is a pretty short trail at 1.2 miles, but I loved it! Well worth hiking, just be careful of those mosquito infested times of the year (which this was not).
Nearby – Lots of great trails in Cape May County! Belleplain State Forest might be the closest, and is only 15 minutes from here.