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Old welcome sign, the preserve has since been renamed.

Old welcome sign, the preserve has since been renamed.

Nature Trail – Abbott Marshlands (Formerly Hamilton-Trenton Marshlands) – Bordentown, Burlington County, NJ
Distance: Just under 1.5 miles
Type: Lollipop trail
Difficulty: 4 of 10.

Website: Friends of Abbott Marshlands

Other hikes in the Abbott Marshlands:
Roebling Park
Bordentown Bluffs
Terrain – Swampland and a good sized bluff

Trailheads – 40°10’17.14″N, 74°41’31.09″W

Directions: On Groveville Road between Route 206 and Route 130

Markings – red trail markers (sometimes unclear)

trailmarkers

Parking lot –
parkinglot

Description: This was a fun little trail, but was definitely confusing to follow.  I’ll be very specific with my directions to help you out.

You’ll start by following the paved path from the parking lot, around the baseball field, and past the dog park.  You’ll be walking along the top of the bluffs, so you can catch some nice views as you walk along if you peak through the gaps in the trees.  Walk until you reach the paved cul-de-sac.    There won’t be any trail markers up here, just follow the directions.

It'll be fun

It’ll be fun.

Start along the paved pat, past the bathrooms, and around the baseball field.

Start along the paved pat, past the bathrooms, and around the baseball field.  There are no markers up here, just follow the pavement.

The path will curve along and follow along the top of the bluff.



The path will curve along and follow along the top of the bluff.

Some decent views down into the swamp.

Some decent views down into the swamp.

The trail follows along past the dog run.

The trail follows along past the dog run.

You'll come to a cul-de-sac in the trail. This confused us.

You’ll come to a cul-de-sac in the trail. This confused us.

So we went down the bluff this way on what was probably a deer trail. I suggest not doing this.

So we went down the bluff this way on what was probably a deer trail. I suggest not doing this.

Instead go to the right and follow the woods line. You'll go through a field and into a second field. Keep an eye on the woods until you see...

Instead go to the right and follow the woods line. You’ll go through a field and into a second field. Keep an eye on the woods until you see…

The path into the woods. This is actually the second place the path enters the woods. The first entrance seems to have had a lot of pretty big blowdowns, hence the second entrance marked by the glove.

The path into the woods. This is actually the second place the path enters the woods. The first entrance seems to have had a lot of pretty big blowdowns, hence the second entrance marked by the glove.

We’re in the woods, yay!  From here on out, follow the red trail markers.  We walked this the opposite way that we are recommending (the trail would have been MUCH easier to follow that way), so all the pictures will be backwards from the directions being given.  The trail is going to enter the woods and then shortly head straight down the bluff.  The grade isn’t too bad, just take your time.  At the bottom of the bluff, the trail will make a very sharp left and run parallel to the bluffs.

Starting to head down the drop off.

Starting to head down the drop off.

Heading down (we're going the wrong way).

Heading down (we’re going the wrong way).

Near the bottom.

Near the bottom.



Once you hit the bottom, take a sharp left.  You’ll follow this section of trail along the edge of the swamp.  It’ll lead you along the rest of the way.  Don NOT climb up the bluff at any point!  The trail will lead along the bottom, including under several blowdowns, then up a gentle cut in the bluffs.  There will be several trails up to the left, but none of them are the trail.

Follow the red markers along the trail.

Follow the red markers along the trail.

Snow made it very interesting in parts, but I only ever slipped on the mud.

Snow made it very interesting in parts, but I only ever slipped on the mud.

There is quite a bit of trash dumped in the swamp, it's a shame.

There is quite a bit of trash dumped in the swamp, it’s a shame.

Blowdowns can be fun.

Blowdowns can be fun.

Nice, snowy walk.

Nice, snowy walk.

Some good trees in here too.

Some good trees in here too.

Try not to leave your name, it's obnoxious.

Try not to leave your name, it’s obnoxious.

Some of the trees have a lot of paint on them. I guessing that it's not all from trail maintenance.

Some of the trees have a lot of paint on them. I guessing that it’s not all from trail maintenance.

Do NOT follow side trails.

Do NOT follow side trails.



The last stretch of trail is one of the most confusing, which is why I sent you the direction that I did.  Do NOT head left up the side trails.  Stay straight and gently curve around and follow the gully up and out.  You’ll go under two pretty big blown down trees and emerge by a drainage gate in front of the bathrooms.

Coming toward the end of the trail.

Coming toward the end of the trail.

Under one of the final blowdowns.

Under one of the final blowdowns.

Up the gully.

Up the gully.

And out at the bathrooms.

And out at the bathrooms.

That’s it!  Overall, the hike is just a tad over a mile.  We had a lot of fun with the snow, but I’m sure this trail is enjoyable anytime the mosquitoes are under control.

In the area:  Bordentown is a fun, historical little town.  It’s worth heading the few miles down to walk through the main streets in town and take in the little shops and historic buildings.

Clara Barton started this school, the first free public school in New Jersey. It was so successful, growing from six students to six hundred in only a year, that the town expanded it... and hired a man to run it. Clara was understandably upset, but went on to become a nurse in the Civil War and to start the American Red Cross.

Clara Barton started this school, the first free public school in New Jersey. It was so successful, growing from six students to six hundred in only a year, that the town expanded it… and hired a man to run it. Clara was understandably upset, but went on to become a nurse in the Civil War and to start the American Red Cross.

Historic streets.

Historic streets.

Bordentown Beach at the place where Crosswicks Creek flows into the Delaware River. The Point Breeze estate, owned by Joseph Bonaparte, former King of Spain and brother of Napoleon, lived here for many years when his brother was in exile.


Bordentown Beach at the place where Crosswicks Creek flows into the Delaware River. The Point Breeze estate, owned by Joseph Bonaparte, former King of Spain and brother of Napoleon, lived here for many years when his brother was in exile.

And since you are in Bordentown, two of my favorite shops are there – Randy Now’s Man Cave (with its assortment of great records, novelty soda, old toys, and music) and The Old Book Shop of Bordentown (which has one of the best selections of New Jersey history books anywhere).  Well worth stopping into either, even if its just for a novelty soda.

The Good

Swamp and a bluff

The Could Be Better

Trail can be a bit confusing.

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Nice, short hike. Would be great to combine with some of the other hikes in the Abbott Marshlands.

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southjerseytrails
  • February 22, 2015 at 7:46 am

    Bordentown is a neat little town. I actually didn’t realize they had trails there! We do the Bordentown St.Patty’s Day 5k there every year. Now I am going to have to get there someday check out the trails too.

  • Patty Smith
    June 7, 2015 at 7:56 am

    My grandmother lived in Bordentown. I have a dim recollection from 40+ years ago of going to a place with lots of stone pathways in some sort of cavern situation. I was told that It was a dog run for Joseph Bonaparte’s dogs. For me, it was just a cool place to run around with my little sister. Do you have any idea what I’m remembering?

    • June 7, 2015 at 4:38 pm

      Hi Patty! I can’t answer specifically about dog runs, but I do know that the property had all sorts of tunnels running through it, from the river to the home, so “caverns” would make sense.

      A good source to start at would be Frank Stockton’s Stories of New Jersey (Rutgers Press 1966), which is at pretty much every library in the state, or you can pick up dirt cheap on amazon (I just checked, they have copies for a penny plus shipping). The chapter “A Jerseyman and His Crown” is all about Bonaparte in New Jersey.

      Bordentown Historical Society might be helpful too – http://www.bordentownhistory.com/

      Sorry I couldn’t be of more help!

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