1

Grassland Trail, Wetlands Pond Loop Trail, and Forest Habitat Trail  – Supawna Meadows National Wildlife Refuge – Pennsville, Salem County, NJ
Note: I haven’t hiked the Forest Habitat Trail yet because it was nap time, but I’ll include the info that I have.  We’ll be back soon!
Distance: Grassland Trail – 1.25 miles round trip, Wetlands Pond Loop – 0.33 miles round trip, Forest Habitat Trail – 0.75 miles
Type:  Grassland Trail is a lollipop, Wetlands Pond Trail is an out and back, Forest Habitat is a lollipop.
Difficulty: 2 of 10 – wear bug spray!  The flies will carry you away!

Official Websites – Supawna Meadows National Wildlife Refuge
Friends of Supawna Meadows
Friends of Supawna Meadows Facebook

Terrain – Meadows, marsh, and wetlands

Trailheads –  Grassland Trail and Wetlands Pond Trail –  39° 36.882’N,  75° 31.713’W.  I believe the Forest Habitat Trailhead is at  39° 37.631’N,  75° 31.644’W

Trailhead sign

Trailhead sign

Directions – 197 Lighthouse Rd, Pennsville Township, NJ 08070 – this will take you to the information center, which is open just a few hours a month.  Trail maps are available by the door.  The Grasslands Trail is just up Lighthouse Road.  The Forest Habitat Trail is somewhere off of Fort Mott Road near Christmas Tree Road, but I didn’t find it yet.

Refuge office.

Refuge office.

Parking – Grassland and Wetlands Pond Loop share a large parking lot.  No lot at Forest Habitat Trail, assuming side the road parking, but haven’t been there yet.

Good sized lot, could fit 5 or 6 cars.

Good sized lot, could fit 5 or 6 cars.

Markings – None, but the trail is wide and well cleared.

Map –

Map of trails.

Map of trails.

Description:




Stopped off on our way home from Delaware to check out these two trails.  I’ve been to this area many times over the last decade, either to visit Fort Mott or during the New Jersey Lighthouse Challenge to climb the Finns Point Lighthouse, but I’d never heard of these trails until I stumbled across them online while waiting to pull the car out that morning.  It’s kinda on the way home, so why not?

The Wife and I arrived, got The Pres and Adorable-Nickname-Pending, and hit the trail.  We did the Wetlands Pond Trail first, but the beginning of this and the Grasslands Trail overlap, starting at the same trailhead.  Follow the Trail into the woods.  When it splits, go right to get onto the Wetlands Pond Trail.  This is a really short 0.15 mile walk through the trees before you hit a small deck/observation area.  Stop and check out the pond to see what sort of birds are hanging around.  When you’ve had your fill, you can turn around and head back, this trail is already done.

Walk in.

Walk in.

Edge of the forest

Edge of the forest

Entering the forest.

Entering the forest.

wetlandsponds04

In the woods. The Pres is making the right onto the Pond Trail.

In the woods. The Pres is making the right onto the Pond Trail.

Backpack with super important supplies.

Backpack with super important supplies.

Fast forward to super important supplies being used.

Fast forward to super important supplies being used.

You'll reach a deck with a nice view.

You’ll reach a deck with a nice view.

View.

View.



Carry-in, carry out. Lucky for you small baby.

Carry-in, carry out. Lucky for you small baby.

Headed back to the main intersection.

Headed back to the main intersection.

Back at the intersection, head the other way to take the Grasslands Trail.  This will wind a short way in the cool cover of the trees before exiting onto the old NWR Headquarters Road.  Turn right, and you’ll immediately see an old graveyard where smallbox victims of the Dunham and Fowler families are buried.  Continue up this road and the trail will leave the road on the left side.

Trail the other way.

Trail the other way.

Enjoy the shade, it's about to leave!

Enjoy the shade, it’s about to leave!

Graveyard.

Graveyard.

Head up the road.

Head up the road.

Four way intersection. Head left.

Four way intersection. Head left.

For the next quarter mile or so, you’ll be walking down a mowed path in the meadow.  There is forest to your left and the meadow to your right.  We saw some dragonflies and butterflies, as well as a few birds in this stretch.  Deer and other animals are possible.  When you come to the next trail intersection you can go straight or right.  Either one will meet back at the same place, but left is slightly further (maybe an extra 100 yards).



Down the trail.

Down the trail.

It starts hemmed in a bit, but will clear out (as long as you are taller than The Pres).

It starts hemmed in a bit, but will clear out (as long as you are taller than The Pres).

Open spaces.

Open spaces.

Short side trail to a nice spot to sit.

Short side trail to a nice spot to sit.

Easy to follow trail.

Easy to follow trail.

When the trails intersect next in the middle of the field, you’ll hang a straight or a right (depending on where you came from) and almost immediately hit the side trail for the blind.  Go see if there are any animals or birds out today that you can observe.

Take that right and head across the field.

Take that right and head across the field.

Keep your eyes open.

Keep your eyes open.

Open on both sides.

Open on both sides.



grassland14

Back on the trail, you’ll hit the road almost immediately.  Cross over to continue on the trail.  This will be a short loop through some much higher trees and brush, back around to the road.  You’ll the continue on the road until you hit trail intersection, where you’ll again do a little loop to the left before getting back to the road.  This last little loop was the only place the bugs really got to us.  The Pres and I ended up running to avoid the flies, although neither of us received any fly bites.  Not as much to see on these little loops, but we heard a lot of birds above and around us.

Crossing the road.

Crossing the road.

grassland16

No idea what he's doing here. I want my hat back though.

No idea what he’s doing here. I want my hat back though.

Any ideas what this is?

Any ideas what this is?

Take a left back onto the road.

Take a left back onto the road.

Old power lines. Turn left shortly after this, leaving the road again.

Old power lines. Turn left shortly after this, leaving the road again.

The last bit of trail looks like a green tunnel parts of the way.

The last bit of trail looks like a green tunnel parts of the way.

At the end of that loop, turn left back onto the road and head for home.

At the end of that loop, turn left back onto the road and head for home.

When you hit the road again, you’ll be back where you first left the road almost a mile ago.  Head back toward the little cemetery, then turn left and backtrack until you reach the parking lot.

Nearby – Fort Mott State Park, Pea Patch Island (ferry required), Finns Point Lighthouse, Finn’s Point Cemetery (lots of Civil War grave sites from the nearby prison on Pea Patch Island, plus a few Nazis for good measure).  This is also an area that had early settlements of Finnish and Swedish settlers.

Lighthouse.

Lighthouse.

Schedule 2014

Schedule 2014

The Good

Huge meadow, lots of birds, views over the marshlands, small cemetery.

The Could Be Better

Bugs big enough to carry you away.

Ratings
Mike's Review
Your Reviews
Rate Here
Rating
6.0
Bottom Line

The trail was a little buggy, but that’s what we get for doing it during the summer. Overall, lots of plants, birds, and insects to see, plus a ton in the area, you really can’t miss with this one. Let me know if you spot the bald eagle that is supposed to nest here!

6.0
Mike's Review
Your Reviews
You have rated this
About The Author
southjerseytrails

Leave a Response

Rating