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!
Total score: 7 of 10.
Terrain – pine forests, swamps, but mostly old cranberry bogs
Trailheads – Speedwell Trailhead – 39° 46.737’N, 74° 32.493’W
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.
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!
Standouts – seemingly endless beautiful cranberry bogs
Markings – Little diamond Parker Preserve markers in the correct colors on posts and trees.
Map: Download the entire Parker Preserve Map by clicking here. Here is a picture of just the White Trail.
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!
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.
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!
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.
At 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.
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.
Climb, climb, climb…
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.
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.
Overall recommendation: 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!
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