Dot and Brooks Evert Memorial Nature Trail – Evert Trail Preserve – Pemberton, Burlington County, NJ
Distance – Official is 1.5 miles (but two gps apps came in at 1.9 miles and 1.95 miles with the walking back on the spur and walking to the observation tower)
Type – Lollipop
Difficulty: 3 of 10 – few minor downed trees, some tight spots with plant growth. Warned about flooded trail, but I didn’t see any problems during the hike at all.
Total score: 6 of 10
Website – njconservation.org
Open – Sunrise to Sunset.
Terrain – swamp and pine forest
Trailheads – 39°55’34.02″N, 74°39’30.09″W
Directions – Located on Ongs Hat Road in Pemberton, NJ. The address is roughly 187 Ongs Hat Road, parking lot is very easy to spot.
Parking – Small lot with room for four or five cars
Dog friendly? Yes
Stroller friendly? Blow downs are pretty easily navigated on foot, but would be tough with a stroller
Benches? No benches in preserve
Bathrooms? – None at preserve
Standouts – Observation tower, long stretches of boardwalk, birds
Markings – Usual plastic diamond trail markers. Thin in certain areas, but always seemed plentiful when I started to worry about losing the trail.
Map – Can be found here. Can also use the image below for a reference.
Description – So, The Pres said that he missed hiking with me (it had been a whole week and a half), so we set out Thursday morning to explore the Evert Preserve in Pemberton, NJ! There were warnings all over the website that the trail was flooded out due to beaver activity, but they’d been up for a few years now, so we decided to take a chance.
We parked at the lot along Ong’s Hat Road and headed off into the preserve. The entrance trail quickly ends up on a boardwalk, which we followed to a bridge across Jade’s Run.
After the bridge, a few more minutes of walking brought us to the loop section of the trail, with the option to go left or right.
We opted to head left first (toward the 24). After a few dozen steps, the trail split again, something that I wasn’t expecting from the map. There were boardwalks in each direction, so we opted for right. It turned out to be correct, as that section of trail followed the map.
Heading right, this stretch of trail passed areas on the map labeled “Deep Waters” and “Ancient Swamp”, which were some neat wetlands area. It was the longest leg of trail in the loop, and was really easy to keep track of because of the boardwalk sections, which covered pretty much all of this stretch of trail.
The trail eventually makes a turn for the northeast. This stretch moves off of the boardwalks and onto the forest floor, where the trail is a retaliative straight shot, but is definitely tighter than the first stretch, including some areas that are closer to tunnels! Just as I started to worry that the trail would be difficult to follow, the trail markers greatly increased in number, making it easy to keep track of.
The next turn sends the trail almost due East. This stretch is marked as having a lot of wildflowers and ferns, but I noticed few flowers!
The trail then turns for a run closer to due south. The trail crosses a good sized ditch before coming to a three way intersection.
We decided to head right (straight) here, which went a very short distance to an observation tower. Yay! We climbed up closer to the tree canopy and spent some time eating a snack and looking for birds.
Then it was back down the tower and around to where we’d entered the loop. This was where we had the tightest section of trail to squeeze through, but nothing that a little ducking couldn’t handle. Before we knew it, we were back at the lead in trail.
From there , it was the walk back across Jade Run to the trailhead. Along the way, I met a butterfly.
We got out just as it started to get really hot for the day, great hike!
Overall recommendation – So yes, the warnings about flooding due to beaver activity… we had no problems and a great time! So totally plan to check this out, but maybe have backup hike ready to go in case we just lucked out with trail conditions.
Nearby – Nearby are the trails at Whitesbog or at nearby Cranberry Trail or Mt Misery Trail or a section of the Batona Trail, all at Brendan Bryne State Forest. I have not managed to hike them yet, but there are several more trails in Pemberton including the Pemberton Railtrail, the Stavola Beachwoods Preserve, the North Branch Preserve, and the Pemberton Lakes WMA.