Lochiel Creek County Park – Barnegat, Ocean County, NJ
Distance – 2.3 miles total including the cut through and the plus access trail to the Barnegat Rail Trail
Type – Loop
Difficulty: 1 of 10
Total score: 4 of 10
Website – Lochiel Creek County Park
Open – Sunrise to Sunset.
Terrain – pinelands and swamp
Surface – dirt
Trailheads – 39°46’18.46″N, 74°13’7.51″W
Directions – Barnegat Boulevard North, Barnegat, NJ 08005
Parking – Medium sized lot
Dog friendly? On leash.
Stroller friendly? Yes, with big tires
Facilities?: Pit toilet.
Markings – Painted blazes (white for the main trail, red for the cut through)
Map – Map and brochure can be found here
Description – While my wife worked on Saturday, the boys and I set out for a day of adventure. Our first stop had been Cloverdale Farm County Park, and Lochiel Creek County Park was our second stop for the day.
This park is a nice little patch of pinelands and cedar swamp wedged between several housing developments and a sports complex. We opted for the 1.75 mile White Trail that goes around the perimeter of the park. We headed right at the bathrooms, merged with the cut across for the White Trail, passed the intersection with the Red Trail cutoff, and found ourselves crossing the bridge over Lochiel Creek, which has a nice little view into a tunnel of cedars.
From here, we continued along the White Trail. Fairly quickly, a trail branched off to the right, but was marked with “X”s so that you know not to take it, just bear left.
After this is my least favorite stretch of the trail, as the woods is right up against a housing complex for a good while.
Once the trail curves to the left again, away from the homes, things get more interesting. You’ll use a bridge to cross a wet area, then come around to a stretch of trail that follows right by the road. Eventually, you’ll travel down what was obviously a road, turning left to stay on it (straight will put you out at the main roadway). After this, you’ll enter an area that looks like it might have been used for sand mining, then turn right to stay on the White Trail when the Red Trail Cutover continues straight.
From here, just follow the trail markers until you hit the road that brought you into the parking area.
At this point, Tree Rider (who hadn’t slept the night before) decided that Daddy needed to carry him in his arms and not in his backpack, so I have no more pictures. Just turn left when you reach the road, and then left off of the road just before the parking lot, which will loop you finally around to behind the bathrooms where we started.
Nearby: Cloverdale Farm County Park and Wells Mills County Park are both nearby and excellent spots to hike.
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Too much of the trail is up against a housing development.
In case you were not aware the red trail brings you to the Barnegat branch trail which you could follow north or south. If you have never been on the Barnegat branch trail the nicest areas are from the trail head in Barnegat to Waretown by the Shoprite on Rt 9. Another nice section is just past the power plant to Lacey Road (where it is not completed yet beyond that point until you hit Dudley Park in Bayville). The stretch from Dudley Park til it ends again on Hickory Lane (in Bayville) is pretty nice until you start heading into a more developed area where houses are on both sides of the trail which is about half of that total distance. There are usually plenty of people along that trail walking their dogs, cycling walking etc. If you like meandering paths with elevation changes this is NOT a hike you would want to do. I actually walked the entire length of what will one day become the completed trail from Toms River NJ to Barnegat which I believe is 14+ miles. It took me about 4 hours which included the distance from my house to where the trail will eventually begin (2 miles)
I am very interested to find out how the Lochiel name was given to this park. My maiden name is Lochiel so I am very interested to learn the history of this park and creek. If anyone can give me more info I will be grateful. Lochiel is not a common name and to find it on a NJ park is amazing.
My email address is
Nancy Lochiel Fleming