Berlin County Park (South side)– Berlin Boro, Camden County, NJ
Distance – I did 2.5 miles
Type – Loop with spurs.
Difficulty: 3 of 10 – blow downs
Total score: 4 of 10
Note: We previously explored the more developed Berlin Park on the North side of Cross Keys Road
Website – Camden County Parks Department
Open – Sunrise to Sunset.
Terrain – woods
Directions – Located on South Park Drive, just off of Cross Keys Road.
Parking – Lots on either side of the baseball field.
Standouts – Some nice, big old trees. Great Egg Harbor River source.
Markings – None, but trails are mostly very obvious, as they seem to follow old roadways.
Description – I went to check out this wilder side of Berlin Park at the end of August. The Pres had had enough hiking for a while on our vacation, so this one was just me. A website somewhere had promised five miles of trails, but even with backtracking, I only had half of that, although blow downs blocked a short section of trail on one side of the creek, and what appeared to possibly be another trail was too overgrown to take.
You’ll start in the parking lot next to the baseball field, by the sign reading “Joy’s Way” (which is the name of the playground there). Walk up what looks like a road, across the field, then enter into the woods.
Just after you enter the woods, you can turn right and use a bridge to cross the Great Egg Harbor River. This park is the river’s source, and this end of the park has several nice bridges over the creek.
Once across, continue straight through the woods. A split in the trail, in what looks again like an old road, you can head left or right. Right will shortly take you out to Cross Keys Road.
Left will take you up the old road. This road parallels the creek on this side. It seems to be not as well maintained as the other side. I continued up it, but encountered a ton of blow downs. I went over, under, and around them, but (as the track on the map shows), eventually gave up when I got to a particularly tricky one. This trail does continue all the way out to New Freedom Road.
After finally getting blocked off, I backtracked until I hit another bridge, where I crossed the creek, and rejoined the trail/road I originally started on. This I followed through all the way up to New Freedom Road.
Having reached the end of the line, I turned around, and backtracked all the way down this trail/road until I hit the playground area again. This side of the creek was MUCH clearer and easier to navigate.
I also walked out to the third and final bridge that crosses the Great Egg Harbor River in this end of the park.
Then it was back across the field to the car, a lovely 2 1/2 mile jaunt.
Overall recommendation – These trails are more isolated that the other half of the park, just on the other side of Cross Keys Road, but aside from the bridges, they aren’t particularly special. I wouldn’t go out of my way to hike here EXCEPT if you want to combine it with…
Nearby – Next door is the infamous Berlin Farmers Market, which has an amazing outdoor flea market on Saturdays and Sunday. It’s always a great destination. Always.