Old Bog Trail – Whitesbog Village, Brown’s Mills (Pemberton Township), Burlington County, NJ
Distance: With the road walk to complete the loop and some garden wandering, 0.6 of a mile.
Type: a “U”. Can be completed as loop by walking down the road past some nice houses.
Difficulty: 1 of 10
Total score: 6 of 10
Website – Whitesbog Preservation Trust
Open – Sunrise to Sunset. General store open Saturdays and Sundays, 10 AM to 4 PM, February to December.
Terrain – bog, swamp, mixed forest, and native plant garden.
Trailheads – 39°57’35.77″N, 74°30’33.90″W
Directions: 120 W Whites Bogs Rd #34, Browns Mills, NJ 08015
Parking: There is a lot on Whitesbog Road, the main entrance road. It’s directly across from the general store.
Standouts – lots of boardwalks, labeled trees, views of the bogs, conservation garden, and Elizabeth White’s house.
Markings – No trail markers, but you can follow the numbered signs (correspond to a free trail guide in the general store).
After completing the Mount Misery Trail on a lovely spring morning, I’d had plans to tackle another “too long to do with a toddler” hike. But after ten miles, my knee (still sore from the beating it took on the Appalachian Trail two weeks ago) was a little too stiff to consider another seven miles. Not one to waste a day that my little ones are away (couldn’t go with, have to hang out with Jerry Blavat at work, I decided to head to nearby Whitesbog Village, home to Elizabeth White, who played a major role in making blueberries a cultivated crop.
Not, I’m a little embarrassed to admit it, but in 22 years of coming out to the pines, I’d never been to Whitesbog. I don’t know if it’s because I tend to stick to the vicinity of Wharton, or if I just have a mental block against blueberries. Either way, I fixed it yesterday. We’ll start with The Old Bog Trail, a short nature trail that starts across from the general store.
You’ll start at the information sign filled with flyers. Directly behind that is the info sign for the trail, which is pretty difficult to read at the moment. Nevertheless, onward! Take a straight line for the small pond.
You’ll get up on the boardwalk and walk along the bank of the pond. The trail will cross the pond on a small bridge. Make a left and get to my favorite trail marker ever.
That you’ve done a u-turn (or if there isn’t space, a K-turn), you’ll walk a few dozen feet up and recross the pond (now more of a stream) on another bridge. The trail then heads back, up on another boardwalk, and down to the edge of the bogs and follows along the edge, occasionally giving you space to poke your head out for a peak.
You’ll cross another small bridge, get onto another boardwalk, and then end up behind Sunningive, Elizabeth White’s home.
I lost the trail here. Totally on purpose. Why? Because Elizabeth White kept a very large native plant garden surrounding her home. I could have walked 30 feet to the road and ended the trail. Instead I wandered the garden. The part you walk into is dedicated to native plants. There is a nice view of the bogs at the back end. The other side of the house is dedicated to what I have to assume are blueberry bushes. Well worth wandering through.
From here, you can walk back down the road to where you started. There are a couple of old houses along the way.
Total, the trail is probably just under 0.4 of a mile, I did just over 0.6 with the roadwalk and wandering the garden.
Overall recommendation: This is a really nice little trail, I loved it. What made it special for me were the million little boardwalks and bridges and the views of the bogs, but mostly the garden at the end. It was a real treat. The Pres and I will totally be back for one of Whitesbog’s famous full moon hikes (thanks Carolyn!).
In the area: Don’t you dare go home after this hike, there is a lot more to see and do here! Visit the General Store for awesome stuff!
Also take a look around the village.