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.
Standouts – the swamp
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.
Overall recommendation: This is a nice bit of woods, but the closeness of the houses and the roads made it a letdown after Cloverdale. If you live close, check this one out. If you are coming from further off, than Cloverdale or Wells Mills would be better options to see similar terrain.