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White Trail – Parker Preserve – Chatsworth, NJ
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Seemingly endless beautiful cranberry bogs

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We loved this trail. Bogs, birds, and bviews (sorry, hard to think of a third “b” word). The Franklin Parker Preserve is a jewel, and I’m stoked to head back sometime and walk some more of its trails!

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White Trail – Franklin Parker Preserve – Chatsworth, Burlington County, NJ
Distance: 3 miles (officially), 3.6 miles by our GPS with only one very short side trip to the viewing tower.
Type: Loop trail
Difficulty: 2 of 10 – easy walking, but very exposed to the sun, so be prepared!  Also watch out for ticks!

Terrain – pine forests, swamps, but mostly old cranberry bogs

Trailheads – Speedwell Trailhead –  39° 46.737’N,  74° 32.493’W

To get to the trailhead, go around this gate.

To get to the trailhead, go around this gate.

The white trail goes each direction from this sign.

The white trail goes each direction from this sign.

Directions: on Rt 563 in Chatsworth.  If heading north, parking is on the right side of Rt 563 a short distance past Friendship- Speedwell Road (be careful, there is driveway just before the right turn).  If heading South from Chatsworth, the parking is located on the left side of Rt 563 about 2 miles south of where Jones Mill Road split is.

Keep an eye out for this sign.

Keep an eye out for this sign.



Parking – Parking is on a dirt road directly across Rt 563 from the White Trail trailhead (note that the Yellow Trail starts right from the parking lot).  Be careful not to pull into the private driveway next door!

Parking as seen from the trailhead.

Parking as seen from the trailhead.

Markings – Little diamond Parker Preserve markers in the correct colors on posts and trees.

Markings. The color designates which trail. You'll be following the white ones.

Markings. The color designates which trail. You’ll be following the white ones.

Map: Download the entire Parker Preserve Map by clicking here.  Here is a picture of just the White Trail.
ppwhitetrailmap

Description: After looking at all of the pictures from James’s guest post of the Red Trail in the Parker Preserve, The Pres and I were itching to get out and explore it ourselves.  With Memorial Day promising to be gorgeous, and with my last salvaged day off after the wrecking ball that was too many snow days this winter, The Pres and I loaded up and headed out to Chatsworth.  After a stop in at Buzby’s Chatsworth General Store (with it being up for sale, I stop in every time I go by just in case it’s not open the next time) and a bit of confusion on where the trailhead was, we arrived safely at the entrance to the trails.

This trail is less a trail in the true sense of the word, and more of long stroll along old cranberry bog roads.  Start at the sign.  Make sure to write in the book!

The sign!

The sign!

This guy was trying to figure out how to hold the pencil.

This guy was trying to figure out how to hold the pencil.

Since this a loop, you have the option of going either right or left from the sign.  We went right to follow the White Trail and Yellow Trail (they overlap in this first stretch) because I had the weird idea that I might do five miles today if The Pres was moving well.  The Pres was not moving well, and soon had to be put on my back, where he immediately conked out and took a nap for over an hour.  Thanks dude.

Anyway, the White Trail is a straight shot along the edge of the meadow and the reservoir, following an old cranberry trucking road.  It then leaves the water, following a trail through the trees.  The Yellow Trail will split off to the right while the White Trail continues to be a straight shot.

First stretch.

First stretch.

Water!

Water!

More road.

More road.

Then more water.

Then more water.

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The Pres takes some water. Drink up, it’s hot on this trail when the sun is out! Luckily, we had a nice breeze for most of the trail to help us out.

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The Yellow Trail will soon turn right, but we'll stay straight. At the Y with the blue connector trail, stay right.

The Yellow Trail will soon turn right, but we’ll stay straight. At the Y with the blue connector trail, stay right.

The White Trail will continue along this road a little while, then make a left turn into a shaded area.  Pay attention, because the road keeps going, it’s just the trail leaving it!

Make a left!

Make a left!

This path with go through a nice shaded patch, through a small swamp, then emerge next to some more boglands.  The Green Trail will come in from your right and join with the White Trail (you’ll be making a left onto both), they’ll follow each other around the edge of this bog.

Enjoy the shade!

Enjoy the shade!

Birdhouse.

Birdhouse.

Nice little wet area.

Nice little wet area.

Green Trail coming in from your right.

Green Trail coming in from your right.

Some nice bogs here.

Some nice bogs here.

Should have worn my boots today.

Should have worn my boots today.

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IMG_9555At the corner of the bog, you’ll come to a nice bench.  It’s a nice place to sit down for a bit.  The trail will turn right and follow the bog.  You’ll quickly reach an old building.  The Green Trail will turn right.  The White Trail will go left.  Take the left.

Nice bench.

Nice bench.

View back from the bench.

View back from the bench.

After you've turned the corner.

After you’ve turned the corner.

Beautiful water.

Beautiful water.

We made a friend!

We made a friend!

We paused here to adjust our stuff after taking that turtle picture.

We paused here to adjust our stuff after taking that turtle picture.

One of us wasn't very helpful. I wish I could hike AND nap at the same time.

One of us wasn’t very helpful. I wish I could hike AND nap at the same time.

Cranberry bog building.

Cranberry bog building.

The White Trail will soon head out onto a dike (after passing the other end of the blue connector trail, so you’ll have the reservoir on one side and a bog on the other.  Not too many views here, but we had a beautiful breeze.  You’ll end up at a t-intersection, turn left.  This will put you along another dike, only this time with clear views on both side.  Enjoy them!  Up ahead will be a viewing tower.  It’s a short detour off the trail, but well worth it.

Dike (although hard to tell).

Dike (although hard to tell).

Peek through a gap in the trees.

Peek through a gap in the trees.

Opening up to one side.

Opening up to one side.

After the turn, meadow to one side.

After the turn, meadow to one side.

Other side of the trail is the reservoir.

Other side of the trail is the reservoir.

Time to climb the tower for some good views!

Time to climb the tower for some good views!

Climb, climb, climb…

As soon as I dropped the pack, someone woke up.

As soon as I dropped the pack, someone woke up.

Views from the tower.

Views from the tower.

Time for snack and a drink.

Time for snack and a drink.

Panorama from the tower.

Panorama from the tower.

Back down the steps, oatmeal cookie in hand.

Back down the steps, oatmeal cookie in hand.

Backtrack from the tower to the trail and continue along for a very short distance, then make a right to head toward the road.  You’ll walk this straight down until almost the road.  There is a low, wet spot and are some crossroads, but stay straight until the trail comes to a “T” after more than half a mile.

Very sunny, but a nice walk.

Very sunny, but a nice walk.

Nice little patch of water.

Nice little patch of water.

Wide open skies out here on the bog.

Wide open skies out here on the bog.

Beautiful walk.

Beautiful walk.

At the “T”, hang a left.  You’ll have a very short walk until you arrive back at the sign where we started our hike.

Almost there!

Almost there!  This is a look back at the turn.

A bird up a tree. Not sure what type, maybe a red-winged black bird (I saw a lot of them).

A bird up a tree. Not sure what type, maybe a red-winged black bird (I saw a lot of them).

A final view from an old dam before heading back to the parking lot.

A final view from an old dam before heading back to the parking lot.

Also nearby: Red Trail – Franklin Parker Preserve
The other Parker Preserve trails that I’ve yet to check out.
The Batona Trail through the Parker Preserve
Historic Chatsworth

About The Author
southjerseytrails
4 Comments
  • Jim Ryan
    June 1, 2014 at 2:14 am

    Excellent pix of the trail…it’s just the way I remember it (considering it was only last year 🙂 But seriously, there is absolutely plenty of opportunity to see many a bog, reservoir and dike. I also find the trail markers to be plentiful & very helpful! I’ve seen all the trails there, and will offer my “take” on the other trails you have yet to discover:
    – The Green Trail (which you’ve seen parts of as the White Trail merges with it at some points), is very similar to the White Trail — only longer (6.7 miles; may be shorter or longer according to GPS, which I do not have.)
    – The Red Trail is a little different in that it is a footpath only (as opposed to the wide-open Green & White Trails.) I would say that James’ pix of the Red Trail are spot-on. There are a few areas that require caveats, though: (1) After one of the merges with the Green Trail, I missed a trail marker where the Red breaks off…not really a big deal since the trail merged back with Green a little while later…(2) After breaking away from the Green again (near Wading River), a section of the trail was overrun by a stream; I’m not sure if this happened over time, but I had to hop back onto Green for a bit before rejoining Red (not too far from the small suspension bridge in James’ pix)…(3) I had a little trouble following the trail after yet another split from the Green Trail; also, there were some wet spots/swampy areas; however, I managed to find my way and complete the trail. Well worth the effort though!
    – The Yellow Trail is an interesting mix of open sand roads and “footpath” style walking. There is a section that was closed off, however…not sure it was opened up again. One very interesting thing along this trail (and can be reached if you follow the trail in the opposite direction from the trailhead you parked at) — in about a quarter-mile or so, off the trail (on either side of the trail) are bodies of water that appear blue! (Not “ocean” blue; more of a lighter bluish-green.) Not sure what causes this…maybe it’s a “hot spring”?? Makes for very beautiful pix, especially with the dark green of the surrounding pines!
    Anyway — hope you can get back out there and try the rest of the trails, because they’re all worth the effort!
    Happy hiking!

    • June 1, 2014 at 9:11 pm

      Thanks for the tips and descriptions Jim! I’m excited, hoping with the summer coming up that I can The Pres on some nice, long hikes, and the rest of the Parker Preserve is definitely near the top of my list now.

  • June 1, 2014 at 8:09 am

    Great to see pictures here! I really have to get over there soon. I have no excuse since I live and work so close! I actually did some work on that property when it was a working cranberry farm. I haven’t been back since they opened the preserve.

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