Scotland Run Park – Clayton , Gloucester County, NJ
Distance – Unknown miles of trails total ( we covered 2.8 miles by doing the outside loop behind the nature center, the Nature Trail, and the road walk to the boat ramp road, plus the distance between the trailheads).
Type – Loops/out-and-backs
Difficulty: 2 of 10 – trails unmarked
Total score: 5 of 10
Website – Gloucester County Parks
Open – Sunrise to Sunset.
Terrain – Lake, woods, fields
Surface – Part paved, part grass, part dirt
Trailheads – Nature Trail – 39°39’27.27″N, 75° 3’9.80″W
Trails behind Nature Center – 39°39’20.19″N, 75° 3’6.17″W
Road walk down to boat ramp (closed to traffic) – 39°39’27.09″N, 75° 3’7.11″W
Directions – 980 East Academy Street, Clayton, NJ
Parking – Two large lots, one on either side of the road.
Dog friendly? I think it is NOT dog friendly, but the sign is worded oddly.
Stroller friendly? One with large wheels should be fine.
Benches? A few scattered through the park
Facilities?: Bathrooms open in season (or at least they weren’t open when we were there)
Other notes – Nature Center, playground, canoe and kayak rentals available on weekends in season.
Standouts – pretty lake, nice nature trail.
Markings – None, but paths are clear.
Map – No map of the whole park, which is a bit frustrating. I can help with a map of the trails behind the nature center –
And a copy of my track, which includes the trails on the map above, the nature trail (errr, other nature trail?) and the road walk to the boat ramp.
Description – Like many parks in South Jersey, the internet presence on this one is pretty bad, and I never could work out if there were 25 feet of trails here or 25 miles of trails. If only there was some sort of South Jersey hiking blog that would make themselves willing guinea pigs to go figur… alright, alright, we’re going, we’re going.
So, on a cloudy April day, The Pres, Tree Rider, and I headed down to Clayton to check this one out. We parked in front of the Nature Center, and headed down the trails into the woods behind the Nature Center.
Having no map to work from, we used the tried and true method of wandering down trails while attempting to look like we knew what we were doing (only later did we discover a map posted on a bulletin board by the lake, which is now posted in this post… our mistakes are your good fortune!)
Anyway, we headed down the trails along the creek. At one point a trail went down toward the creek, which we followed (it was a four way intersection, right would have taken us to a cut through trail known as “The tunnel”). We quickly discovered it wasn’t a real trail, and bushwhacked to the main trail, an old road. From here on out, we stuck to the wide path, and it worked out well. We eventually crossed a footbridge.
Just after the footbridge is another intersection. We opted again to stay straight to stay on the outside loop of trails, and soon the trail curved around. At the back corner, we reached another four way intersection.
Here, we opted to turn left and head out further from the parking area. This turned out to be a spur, and we followed it out to the end, then backtracked to this intersection.
Once back at the four way intersection, we opted to go left (or what would have originally be straight). We hit another intersection immediately, but stayed straight, which put us in an area of more recent growth. There was another intersection right after that, but we stayed straight again. We followed the trail all the way out to the road.
From here, we backtracked to the most recent intersection, where we turned left to continue around the more open area of recent growth. Some neat birds here, but also BEES. I hate stupid bees, but we soldiered on (sometimes at a very quick pace). The trail ended in a “T”, and I went left just to make sure that it went back to the road, which it did.
We then turned and looked for the first intersection to get us out of the fields. We found it within a few dozen feet, and turned left to stay on the outside of the loop again (if we had gone straight, we would have gone through “the tunnel”). This quickly curved through more woods back to where we had entered next to the nature center. We then turned left and walked back to the parking lot.
This is where we’d usually sign off… but more trails! Yay!
We headed straight toward the road, crossed under some pretty blooming trees, then crossed the road, entering the gate into the lake half of the park.
The paved walkway goes past the playground, then crosses a small bridge, and finally hooks left to head away from the lake and toward the lake side parking lot. On the right, the access road to the parking lot will be abruptly gated off after the parking spaces. This was the spot for our next hike toward the boat launch.
The road hike is basic. The road curves to the right, then to the left, and ends up dead ending at the boat launch access road. It’s a nice little walk.
Here, we could have gone right and walked down the open-to-traffic boat ramp access, but I decided I wasn’t up for that with the kiddos this day, so we turned around. There unmapped trails on the other side of the boat launch road that have some cool stuff on them (thanks for letting us know Amy!). No map, but a reason to go back!
Anyway, we got back to the gate and decided we should end with the Nature Trail through the arboretum. It’s short and sweet, although its an odd figure-8 shape. This led us to do it the way I’d write an 8, rather than walk it as a loop. Still, nice little walk, lots of interesting trees, and labels to go with them.
Then, it was back for views of the lake, followed by playground time. A little something for everyone.
After the playground, it was back across the street to where we’d left our car.
Overall recommendation: This is a great little park. between the meadow, the woods, the road, and the trees on the Nature Trail, there’s a lot of variety in a little area. The views of the lake are nice, and you have a playground too. There’s even some more trail we didn’t get explore yet. A nice little park!