Friendship Creek Preserve – Tabernacle, Burlington County, NJ
Distance – no marked trails here, I explored to the tune of almost three miles total
Type – No marked trails, roads and deer paths only.
Difficulty: 5 of 10
Total score: 6 of 10
Website – Rancocas Conservancy
Open – Sunrise to Sunset.
Terrain – woods and swamps
Surface – sand and muck
Trailheads – Entrance to the preserve is by walking down Irick’s Causeway.
Directions – Parking located at the intersection of Powell Place Road and Irick’s Causeway in Tabernacle
Parking – Parking located at the intersection of Powell Place Road and Irick’s Causeway in Tabernacle
Dog friendly? Unsure
Stroller friendly? Definitely not
Standouts – Lots of fun exploring through swamps and forest
Markings – None at all, look for Rancocas Conservancy signs to stick near the preserve, and make sure to print the map!
Map – Map available at Rancocas Conservancy
December 30th, I squeezed in my last hike of 2016. The kiddos weren’t along for this one, so I decided to take a risk and check out the Friendship Creek Preserve in Tabernacle, which I knew has no blazed trails. A giant “No Tresspassing!” sign did not deter me, as I had read on the New Jersey Audubon website that this applied to the land on either side of the road, but not the road itself, which you need to hike down to get into the preserve. So head down the road I did.
The road will fork, take the left fork. The right fork is actually a driveway.
Each side of the road will be filled with “No Trespassing!” signs. Respect them!
After 0.3 of a mile, you’ll begin to see Rancocas Conservancy signs on the trees to the right of the road. At this point, you are free to explore that side. The left side is still private property.
I opted to pass some dirt roads that are hikable and stick to Irick’s Causeway up to the far edge of the preserve, which is across the bridge. Just after the bridge, the Preserve stretches on each side of the road.
From here, I opted to explore to the right first, where I wandered for a while. The highlight was an old car surrounded in trash. Should have packed in some big trash bags!
I explored the other side as well, which has some trails that had clearly been cut. These lead to private property, but it was impossible to tell where the preserve ended and the private property began. My rule of thumb was that when I saw dumping, I backtracked to be safe. There were some nice swamplands on this side, and I wandered around by the creek on deer trails for a while.
Eventually I wandered back to the road, and explored the original side road that I had passed by earlier.
Then it was back out Irick’s Causeway to where I had parked my car by the road.
Overall, I wandered for just over three miles, and had a great time exploring. Hopefully trails will be cut and blazed here at some point, but until then, there is still fun exploring to be done.
Overall recommendation: If you’re looking for a few hours of adventure with you GPS, this is a great spot. If you want trail maps and blazed trails, don’t come visit this preserve.
Nearby – The Michael Huber Prairie Warbler Preserve is a few miles away if this one doesn’t work out for you.