Parvin State Park – Elmer, NJ


Parvin State Park – Elmer, Salem County, NJ
Distance – 15 miles of trails in the park (we did 3 miles on the Parvin Lake Trail)
Type – Web of trails (we did a loop on the Parvin Lake Trail)
Difficulty: 2 of 10
Total score: 8 of 10

Website – Parvin State Park Official Website
Open – Sunrise to Sunset.

Terrain – flat swamp and woods

Trailheads –  39°30’38.41″N,  75° 7’58.49″W


Directions – 701 Almond Rd, Elmer, NJ 08318 (this bring you the maintance area, go just a few hundred feet more down Almond Road to get to the swimming area/information center parking!)

Parking – Large lot located on Almond Road.

Dog friendly? – Yes (and they now have a pet friendly loop dogs can camp with you in! – thanks for the update Sally!)
Stroller friendly? Yes, as long as you have good offroad tires
Benches? Yes, but concentrated at the lake.  Did not see any on the other 2 1/2 miles of the trail.

Markings – blazes on trees, signs at intersections.


Map – Can be found here
Description – So, we FINALLY went to check out Parvin State Park, which had been on my to do list from way before I started this dumb blog.  And it was great!

It was a warm day, so we opted from the 3.1 mile Parvin Lake Trail.  Starting at the entrance gate (for the swim area, you don’t have to pay to use the trails), we turned right and headed west along the green Parvin Lake Trail.  The first part of the trail followed the fence along the waterfront area.


The trail then left the fence and entered the forest area.  This area was great, because the laurel bushes were in bloom.



The “why are you taking my picture?” look.


Oh boy, were they in bloom.


Further along this straightaway, you’ll enter the area where the old Civilian Conservation Corp (CCC) camp was in the 1930s.  Look really closely, and you might see some remains of the camp.  If not, the pictures on the sign are pretty awesome too.

You’ll then hit a trail intersection with the reddish/orangish trail.  Turn left here, walk through the tunnel of bushes, and reach the bridge over Muddy Run.

Soon after, you’ll reach another four way intersection, where you’ll hook another left to stay on the lake trail.


You’ll walk another stretch through the forest until making a sharp left turn to start circling the campsite.


You’ll now come up near the lake, which is quite a nice view.

Which is good, because you’re about to hit the worst section of the trail.  The trail will travel next to some campsites.  Then the trail will travel directly through some campsites.  Finally, the trail gives up and deposits you directly onto the campground loop road, which it will follow for a short while.

Luckily, right after the worst section of trail comes the best section of trail.  From here to almost the end is nothing but lake views and swamps!

First by getting off the park road.
Start of the really good stretch of swamp.
See, good swamp.
This was on the back of a tree, but a lady that passed by pointed out this awesome face watching the hikers.


After rounding the back turn of the trail, you’ll cross a bridge and enter the part of the trail that is up against the roads.  There are nice views of the lake here, and the dam is pretty great.


After the dam, you’ll cross an old CCC bridge.


The its a walk across another bridge, through some open areas, and back to meeting the fence for the home stretch.


That’ll put you back at the swimming area.  Hot day?  Pay a few bucks to get in and cool off in the lake after your hike!

3 thoughts on “Parvin State Park – Elmer, NJ

  1. Excellent pix (as always)! I especially like the mountain laurel…definitely makes it feel like late spring/early summer! (I hiked at Belleplain State Forest last year around this time, and the mountain laurel along the 7-mile East Creek Trail were *abundant*!)

    I haven’t been to Parvin in over 2 years, but I had been to it very many times between 2004 and 2014, during all seasons. No matter what time of year you go to this park, it *never* disappoints! The Parvin Lake Trail is an excellent choice since (other than it being “right there to greet you”), it seems to hit all areas of the park…sort of a “Grand Tour” type of trail. And at just over 3 miles, you definitely get your hike’s worth in!

    I will say that while there is not one trail that isn’t interesting, the Red (Long) Trail can get a little tricky when beginning from the Parvin Lake Trail (i.e. at that 4-way intersection you encountered before the Muddy Run bridge.) Very mucky in some spots, and many bridges/boardwalks were destroyed over the years, making the hike difficult (and wet! Unless some repair work has been done recently…) But if one perseveres, he/she can reap the rewards of the trail — specifically, another nice (shorter) bridge over Muddy Run. Also, the Black Oak Trail is an out-and-back (almost 5 miles total), unless combined with the Long Trail to form a loop, but the scenery is nice nonetheless. (And, at one point along Black Oak, you will go by a short trail which leads to a gravel pit!)

    The next time you go, I would recommend the other “loop-around-a-lake” trail — the Yellow (Thundergust Lake) Trail. It’s only a mile long, but it has excellent views of Thundergust Lake, and runs through a camping area (but stays close to the lake at all times.) It can certainly be combined with other trails to form longer loops. (It connects to the other trailhead for the Long Trail…the not-so-mucky end!)

    Anyway, that should give you an overview of some of the other trails in the park — if you haven’t figured it out yet…I would *highly* recommend visiting the park again sometime! Happy hiking!

    — Jim

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