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Happy Earth Day!

River Overlook Trail and Jenkins Landing Trail – Harold N. Peek Preserve – Millville, Cumberland County, NJ
Distance: About 3 miles of trails
NOTE: This does not include that the access road is walk-in only, about 0.33 miles one way.
River Overlook Trail – 1 mile round trip  (according to GPS)
Jenkins Landing Trail – 0.4 miles round trip (sic)
Red Cedar Overlook Trail – listed as 1.5 miles round trip
Type: Lollipops, loops, spurs, and out-and-back
Difficulty: 2  of 10.
Total score: 5 of 10.

Official Website

Terrain – swamps, woodlands, fields, river

Trailheads –  39° 22.554’N,  75° 1.572’W (Parking Lot at gate)

Visitor's "Parking lot"

Visitor’s “Parking lot” (find a good spot between some trees, plenty of room for half a dozen cars)

Access gate - authorized vehicles only (but fine to walk past).

Access gate – authorized vehicles only (but fine to walk past).

Directions – Near intersection of S. 2nd Street and Columbine Ave (2100 S. 2nd Street), Millville, NJ

Standouts – Nice views of the Maurice River, plus nice swamps and boardwalks.

Markings – Arrow placards.

Trail marker.

Trail marker.

Map:
peekpreservemap

Description: The Peek Preserve is a little tricky to find at first, and looks closed when you first pull up because the gate is shut and locked.  It’s not closed, find a good parking spot between some trees, unload your supplies, and start hiking down the road!

Road in.

Road in.

You’ll have about 1/3 of a mile to go until you hit the kiosk that marks the beginning of both the Red Cedar Overlook and River Overlook Trails.  Keep an eye out for the wooden fence posts to the right, that’s the landmark for the trail heads.  The River Overlook Trail goes right (past the kiosk), the Red Cedar Overlook Trail goes right.  The River Overlook Trail also goes straight up the road, that’s the way that we’ll be coming back.

Found the trail!

Found the trail!

You’ll walk along through a bit of pine forest to start.  The trail will split, going straight on one way and making a sharp left the other.  Stay straight for now (we’ll take the other split on the way back).  This part of the trail will now look like a lollipop!  Keep walking until you find the solar panels in the field (just outside the preserve proper).   As you get to the field, the trail turns left and follows the edge of the woods.

Lovely pine forest.

Lovely pine forest.

Solar panel field.

Solar panel field.

Somewhere soon, the top of the lollipop trail will split off to the right.  I never saw it, and missed it coming back to (I lost the trail a bit and was out in the field).  I think the trail splits roughly where the treeline meets the corner of the field.  No matter, stay left if you find the split!  This will take you in a short loop on some banks overlooking the Maurice River.  No clear views, but it’s a nice stroll down the edge of the banks (watch your step!)

Spring is here!

Spring is here!

Trail nearing the water.

Trail nearing the water.

My hiker dude.

My hiker dude.



View of river.

View of river.

From here, the loop will circle back to the solar array field and meet up with itself, completing the lollipop.  Keep going a short distance until you have the option to turn right.  Go ahead and do it.  This will quickly take you past marshlands along the river’s edge before finally dumping you out on a very small road (yet, definitely a road).

Near the end of the "lollipop".

Near the end of the “lollipop”.

Solar field from a slightly different angle. Hand a right and stay just inside the tree line.

Solar field from a slightly different angle. Hand a right and stay just inside the tree line.

There are several "homesteads" listed on the map. This is the remains at one of them.

There are several “homesteads” listed on the map. This is the remains at one of them.

Nice marsh views from the trail.

Nice marsh views from the trail.

At the intersection with the road, left along the road will continue you along the River Overlook Trail.   Right along the road will take you on the Jenkin’s Landing spur trail.  The spur is a short one with a GREAT view from a boardwalk at the end, so I highly recommend taking it.

Jenkin's Landing sign.

Jenkin’s Landing sign.

Bird and tire. If a bird person can help id this one, I'd appreciate it!

Bird and tire. If a bird person can help id this one, I’d appreciate it!

The road toward the landing.

The road toward the landing.



You made it (off the road)! The road ends here next to a concrete pad with one handicapped space. Not sure how anyone uses it if the front gate is locked. The trail continues just on the other side of the handicapped space.

You made it (off the road)! The road ends here next to a concrete pad with one handicapped space. Not sure how anyone uses it if the front gate is locked. The trail continues just on the other side of the handicapped space.

I love Spring. Keep an eye out for the little things along the trail.

I love Spring. Keep an eye out for the little things along the trail.

Maurice River.

Maurice River.

Jenkins Landing Trail proper.

Jenkins Landing Trail proper.

End of the line - the boardwalk.

End of the line – the boardwalk.

View from the end of the boardwalk.

View from the end of the boardwalk.

House on a tiny island just across from the boardwalk. As soon as I figure out how to get over there, the family will be moving in.

House on a tiny island just across from the boardwalk. As soon as I figure out how to get over there, the family will be moving in.

The start of how to get to the shack?

The start of how to get to the shack?

When you’ve had your fill of the view, backtrack down the Jenkin’s Trail to the road, then follow the road a short distance to the real road (complete with parking lot).  You’ll see a house to the right, it’s labeled “Visitor’s Center (Opening 2008)” on the map, but we didn’t go knock on the door to see if it ever opened.  Instead, go left down the same red packed road that you started on.  Bathrooms are to the right.

The road will take you back to the kiosk.  You can turn right and do the out-and-back lollipop that is the Red Cedar Overlook Trail (about 1 1/2 miles total) or you can continue down the road back to the visitor’s lot.  Sadly, it’s a long drive back home, so we missed the Red Cedar Overlook Trail this time, despite it’s promises of a boardwalk over the marshland.  Hopefully wecan hike it one day when I’m in the area.

Overall recommendation:  Nice hike!  Can be combined with the nearby Maurice River Bluff Preserve or Parvin State Park (future hikes!) for a nice, long day.

IN THE AREA:  Parvin State Park and Maurice River Bluffs Preserve.

Not quite in the area – On the way home, we stopped to see how the rebuilding of the Palace of Depression is coming along.    I finished the highly-recommended-by-me-to-you book The Fantastic Castle of Vineland: George Daynor and the Palace of Depression by Patricia Martinelli recently, and I’ve been itching to stop by since. It’s less than five minutes out of my way off of Rt 55, so why not?

On the way home, stopped at the Palace of Depression in Vineland, just because it's ten feet off of the highway, and is awesome. Good progress on the rebuild! (

Palace of Depression. (April 2014)

Almost the same angle, April 2005.

Almost the same angle, April 2005.

Consensus: It’s going pretty good.  I can’t wait until it’s all done.

The Good

Nice views of the Maurice River, plus nice swamps and boardwalks.

The Could Be Better

BUGS in the wrong seasons.

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Nice hike! Can be combined with the nearby Maurice River Bluff Preserve or Parvin State Park (future hikes!) for a nice, long day.

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