Mill Pond Trail – Port Republic Trail System – Port Republic, Atlantic County, NJ
Distance – 1.9 miles total (does not include the cut through, nor the access trail to get to other parts of the wider trail system)
Type – Loop
Difficulty: 2 of 10
Total score: 7 of 10
Website – Port Republic Trail System (Facebook page, no website)
Open – Sunrise to Sunset.
Terrain – pine forest with a bit of swamp
Surface – dirt
Directions – 301 Riverside Dr, Port Republic, NJ 08241
Dog friendly? Yes, but must be on a leash and cleaned up after.
Stroller friendly? Should be doable with big wheels
Benches? A few
Standouts – pretty views of the lake, cedars, and pinelands
Markings – painted blazes and posts with arrows
Description – This trail system was brought to my attention via the wonderful Jersey Pine Barrens Facebook group, so we decided to stop here back in March after checking out the A Jerome Walnut Nature Trail and the wreck of the Sea King on LBI.
It took us a turnaround to find the trailhead, but we did manage to find it and park along the roadside. Packs on, kids out, away we go.
After a walk of thirty seconds, you’ll come to a split in the trail. We opted for right. It was only at the end that we realized we should have gone left, then immediately right. We ended up following an old roadway for several minutes instead of being on the trail, which was in the woods off to our left.
We hiked up, past where we would have merged with the trail that we had been on this whole time, and were back on track. Our next spotter was the intersection with the Red Trail, which serves as a cut through so that either side of the system can be accessed quickly. We hung a right to stay on the Green, which is the outer loop.
From here, the loop heads slowly down toward the water, and the pine trees slowly begin to have some cedars mix in with them.
After reading the point, you’ll have to climb up from the lake front. The trail will arch just slightly, coming around until you are within easy viewing distance of the part of the Green Trail that we’d already walked.
From here, the trail separates again, making a wide arc around until it meets up with the other end of the Red Trail cut-through. This is mostly more pine forest as you move away from the water.
From here, it is a short walk until the trail splits again, giving you the option to leave the Mill Pond Trail and access other parts of the trail system across English Creek Road. We stuck with the Mill Pond Trail for today, staying left.
Then, with a few wind arcs back and forth, the trail will head back to where we started, passing the turn where you will pick up the trail initially (and we missed), then hanging right toward the road, then popping out of the woods at the trail’s informational kiosk.
Overall recommendation: This is a great little trail through the pine barrens, with plenty of pinelands scenery, but enough variety by the lake to make it interesting.
Nearby: There is the rest of the Port Republic Trail System, which we will have to head back and hike in the future. The Bog Trail in particular has grabbed our attention.