Cooper River Park – Pennsauken, Camden County, NJ
Distance: 4 miles
Difficulty: 1 of 10.
Total score: 3 of 10.
Terrain – river walk
Trailheads – Main lot – 39° 55.692’N, 75° 3.924’W, but you can street park or lot park many places on the loop.
Directions: 5300 North Park Drive, Pennsauken, NJ
Standouts – View of the Philly skyline
Markings – None
UPDATE: I may have to rethink this one. Within a short time of posting this, I received a few responses from my loyal readership (two responses = about 2/3 of the people who read this blog, so I have to listen!) I may have been too hard on the ol’ Cooper River Park. I updated her score a bit (to a 3) and share with you some responses. The quotes are in italics, anything not in italics is from me.
From Dan (on our facebook group) – I run here almost daily and last week saw a (very large) beaver at the edge of the water. It was really cool.
That’s awesome. I stand corrected on wildlife.
From Jim (in the comments below) – NOTE: I’ve included links to some of the connecting hikes that he is talking about.
Agreed, there is quite a bit of traffic (especially the short “hop” along Crescent Blvd., which is also known as Route 130), as you are indeed along roads the whole time; however, the walk is quite nice in spots…lots of memorials near the Cuthbert Road area (along N. Park Blvd.) It should be noted that there is actually another section of the path on the east side of Cuthbert Blvd — it still parallels N. Park Blvd., eventually goes under the NJ Transit railroad tracks, and continues on to Grove St. This is essentially the eastern end of Cooper River Park.
However, if one wants to continue his/her walks (i.e. if Cooper wasn’t enough for ya!), you can cross Grove Street, make a left (over the bridge), and continue on a path which is in a small park called Maria Barnaby Greenwald Memorial Park. A paved path will lead to a dirt path which continues to follow along the Cooper River. This path/trail is called the Cooper River Watchable Wildlife Walk, and will stretch for about 3/4-mile or so straight into Hopkins Pond Park (simply make a right at a trail junction near Driscoll Pond towards Hopkins Lane, cross it, and meet up with a hiking trail around Hopkins Pond. From Mike – this is called the Tree Trail) Continuing straight on the Cooper River WWW will take you towards King’s Highway. The path will loop around near an underpass, through which you will see a spillway — this is a part of yet another park called Wallworth (still part of the Camden County Park System.) If you cross King’s Highway and follow a small trail towards the south side of the Cooper River, you will soon be between two ponds: Wallworth Pond & Evans Pond.
Finally, if you walk up a paved path towards a parking lot (actually the beginning of Bortons Mill Rd.), you will notice (on the right side) yet another trail which is part of the Croft Farm trails. There are about 6 of them (most well under a mile long), but at this point, you’ll be a little more isolated from traffic.
O.K. — that’s the end of my little “rant” here, but I wanted to let everyone know of the many additional hiking opportunities if you venture out to the Cooper River Park area! Happy hiking! 🙂
You can even extend this a little further by crossing Brace Road from the Croft Farm Trails to get to the Borton’s Mill Trails, which I’ve walked, but have yet to review. Overall, you can easily fit in a ten mile walk between the connecting trail systems.
Original Description: I’ve been debating forever whether to include this or not, and have decided yes. Cooper River Park has a four mile loop around the river, used by bikers, joggers, dog walkers, and people out for stroll. It’s a nice, peaceful walk usually, with a nice view of the Philly skyline. I even canoed it.
The drawbacks are that there really isn’t much nature (there could be some birds – see correction above – giant beaver) and that you’re constantly walking right next to a road. So it might have some good distance, but is it a hike when some guy on roller blades is going past?
It also might just be my familiarity with it, I remember walking this loop when I was in grade school for the Juvenile Diabetes Walk.
So here it is, complete with pictures of backpackers (boy did we get some weird looks that day).
Overall recommendation: Nice place for a hike, but I still wouldn’t go too far out of my way. I’d also suggest skipping this park and heading right to the Watchable Wildlife Trail, the Hopkins Pond Trail, or the Croft Farms Trail.