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Glades Wildlife Refuge – Dividing Creek (Downe Township), Cumberland  County, NJ
Distances:
Bald Eagle Trail – 1.5 miles round trip listed (1.75 miles round trip by GPS)
Maple Street Trail – Did not hike (yet)!
Warfle Farm Trail – Did not hike (yet)!
Tat Starr Trail – Did not hike (yet)!
Type – A series of out-and-back trails
Difficulty:  2 of 10 – although this has to go up in the summer, when I’m sure the bugs and the sun might be brutal.
Total score: 7 of 10

Website – Natural Lands Trust
Open – Sunrise to Sunset.

Terrain – tidal marshland
Surface – Dirt
Trailheads –
Bald Eagle Trail – 39°15’40.79″N, 75° 7’33.15″W
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Maple Street Trail – ?
Warfle Farm Trail – ?
Tat Starr Trail – ?

Directions –
Bald Eagle Trail is located on Turkey Point Road in Downe Township, NJ
Maple Street Trail is located where Maple Street and Turkey Point Road intersect
Warfle Farm Trail is located on Turkey Point Road.
Tat Starr Trail is located on Fortesque Road (Route 637)

Parking –
Bald Eagle Trail – a few spots by the side of the road.
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Dog friendly?: Yes, as long as they are leashed, kept out of the water, and cleaned up after.
Stroller friendly? Strollers with good sized wheels would work on the Bald Eagle Trail. Unsure about the other trails.
Benches?: No benches in the park
Facilities?: No facilities in the park

Markings – No marking on trails, but relatively easy to follow.
Map – The official map can be found here

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Bald Eagle Trail – GPS track overlaid on Google Earth

Description – So the Saturday after Thanksgiving, we decided to walk off some of the turkey and the mashed potatoes and the stuffing and the…

Okay, now I’m back after a sandwich.

Anyway, the family and I loaded up into the car and headed deep into Cumberland County to Downe Township, home of the Glades Wildlife Refuge run by the Natural Lands Trust.  This refuge hosts a series of four short hiking trails through the marshes, as well as a series of paddling trails.  Today, our goal was to explore the hiking trails.

Bald Eagle Trail:




We opted to start with the Bald Eagle Trail because I like seeing bald eagles.

The trailhead follows an old road and the whole way it was quite wide and easy to follow.  It starts in the woods, but then emerges into more open areas with tall reeds, especially after it’s first curve to the right.

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After the trail curves, you gain some pretty wide open views of the marsh for a spell.

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After you cross the marsh area, the trail will reenter the trees, and will rise a little bit as it goes along.  The trail seems to split at one point.  We opted right, which we realized afterwards took us off of the main trail.  It looped back around, and there was nothing that wasn’t lovely about our detour, but it was definitely not the way the map showed.

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Back into the woods.

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We went right here.  We should have gone left.

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The way right.



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Back on the main trail.  You can just make out the final rise ahead.

Once you climb the last bit of rise, you are in the cul-de-sac at the end of the trail.  Here, the trail circles a small, hidden pond.

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The pond is hidden behind the plantlife in the left of this shot.

 

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What is that through the reeds?

About halfway around the cul-de-sac, they have mowed a little path out to a clear view of the marshes.  It’s a very short detour that is worth taking.

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A path through the reeds.

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Nice view at the end.

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Panorama of your view at the end of the little side trail.

From here its back to the cul-de-sac to complete the circle.  In the second half of the loop, you’ll have two spots to look into the pond area for a birds hiding out there.  They’ve set up houses for some birds as well.



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You’ll leave the cul-de-sac just before you make it all the way back around to where you started.  You’ll follow this leg of the trail back until you see a birdhouse in by the side of the trail.

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From here, it’s just a dozen or so more steps back to where we rejoin the stick of this lollipop trail.  You’ll quickly leave the trees to head across the more open marsh area, then enter the first set of trees before arriving back at your vehicle.

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Turkey Point:

After this hike, we drove down to the end of the road where Turkey Point is.  Here, you can lauch a kayak onto one of the water trails, climb the observation tower, or cross the footbridge to poke around in the reeds on the other side.

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Edge of the refuge.

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Warfle Farm Trail, Maple Ave Trail, Tat Starr Trail:

Sadly, my wife felt sick at this point in our adventure, and we took her home to rest.  We’ll be back to do these other three trails, and hopefully a water trail or two!

The Good

Beautiful views of the marsh. Great place for birding.

The Could Be Better

Bugs are probably terrible certain times of the year.

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7.0
Bottom Line

I loved the Bald Eagle Trail, and can’t wait to get back here to try a few more trails!

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