Saddler’s Woods – Haddon Township, Camden County, NJ
Distance: 1.4 miles – that was with wandering and backtracking so that we could check out all the parts of the trail system.
Type: Trail network.
Difficulty: 2 of 10 – crossing the stream is tough, but you can also go around on the sidewalk and go a little further.
Updated – 3/20/20
Website: http://www.saddlerswoods.org/ or like them on facebook
Terrain – Mostly flat forests. Patch of meadow at the end of the red trail.
Trailheads – 250 MacArthur Blvd Haddon Township, NJ. There are three ways into the woods within a short stretch on this road. One is partially paved.
Markings – Trails are labeled in colors on the map, but there are no blazes in the actual preserve.
So Saddlers Woods was one of the earliest trails that I specifically checked out after I started this blog. I’ve been back probably 20 times since, largely because it’s directly across the street from the library. Need to drop books off? Let’s go to Saddlers Woods. Want to pick up more books? Let’s stop at Saddlers Woods first.
The draw of Saddler’s Woods is some very large, very old trees. I don’t know as much about trees as I would like to, but I can tell you that these are beauties. Or as their website puts it, “Saddler’s Woods is a 25.8 acre, old growth forest fragment which provides a good example of what the landscape looked like when European settlers arrived.”
Our initial tour is pretty exactly as the preserve is now, so I’ll stick with that, just adding in some newer pictures.
The Pres and I headed in on the green trail, which begins at the large “Saddler’s Woods” sign.
In a very short time, this connects with the red trail, hitting the heart of the old growth section of the reserve.
We opted to turn left here and head down the red trail. The trees here are really big, and the trail winds down to Saddler’s Creek. Here, a fallen tree crosses the creek.
Looking at the picture, the way the trail goes is to the left of the tree over those rocks. We got confused and went over the right of the tree, “waded” through the creek (it didn’t get my socks wet in my sneakers), and blundered up an unofficial trail to the yellow trail. This did let us see a tree that came down pretty recently, so it was no loss:
The red trail crosses the yellow, goes out to another large tree. and ends up at the school yard. We looked at said big tree, then headed back to the yellow trail. The yellow trail is far more finished than the trails on the other side of the creek, parts of it are even paved! I saw a bunch of people on this side, but no one on the other. We followed the yellow trail past some more impressive trees to the other side of the school yard where it ended up.
We then turned around and retraced our steps to the red trail, but opted to stay on the yellow trail to see where it popped out onto MacArthur Blvd.
Not wanting to miss anything, we headed back to the red trail (found the real one this time), recrossed Saddler’s Run at the correct spot, and headed back to the first intersection we had come to.
Once we got back to the intersection of the red and green trails, we headed up the red trail in the opposite direction. At the end of the trail is a very small meadow, but there were butterflies hanging out there.
On the way back, we took the purple loop through the younger section of forest. The Pres made sure that every stick was played with on the trail.
We then went out the way we came in.
Been back many times since 2013 (it’s right across from the library, which I can never remember the correct opening times for), so I’ll occasionally add pictures from different seasons –
Check out nearby: Drive around the corner to see the old Rhoads Church and houses that made up historic Saddlertown.
Each September, Historic Saddlertown Day is held here. There are displays and presentations at the church, and guided walks through the woods. We have been twice, it’s a nice way to spend a few hours and learn something!
One of the largest stretches of old growth forest in South Jersey.
Must cross a stream, which can be a bit hairy.
Looks like a great place….next time I am in the area, will check it out. Thanks!
Having visited most of the forests of South Jersey, this to me is the second best their is if your a tree nut. (The best being Bear Swamp) The old growth here is impressive. There are two Willow Oaks off trail near the elementary school that are two of the largest trees in New Jersey. The huge Beech tree on trail is maybe the oldest (300 plus) in NJ.
Old growth forest no matter the size is not easily found. This is a great, albeit small example.
The usual druthers, trash, etc.
I have been coming here for years. I like the walk and the seclusion.