Bear Swamp at Red Lion Preserve (Section B) – Southampton and Tabernacle, Burlington County, NJ
Distance – a bit over 2 miles total between the two trails
Type – A pair of out-and-back hikes that fork.
Difficulty: 4 of 10 – trails can be tough to follow at times
Website – Bear Swamp at Red Lion Preserve
Open – Sunrise to Sunset.
Terrain – Pine woods and cedar swamp
Surface – Sand
Trailheads – South Trail (Tabernacle) – 39°52’12.72″N, 74°42’28.12″W
North Trail (Southampton) – 39°52’34.72″N, 74°42’53.07″W
Directions – Located on West Patty Bowker Road in Southampton and Tabernacle. The Southampton Trailhead is located just off of Friendship Road, the Tabernacle one is also on West Patty Bowker Road just off of New Road.
Parking – A few spots on the side of the road.
Dog friendly? Yes
Stroller friendly? Would be tough
Standouts – Beautiful cedar trees, typical pine barrens scenery.
Markings – None on the north trail, many on the south trail.
Warning – deer hunting does take place on the property in season, and the south trail has at least 5-6 deer stands on it (we met a hunter while hiking)
Christmas Eve Eve, I was THRILLED to not be working. Therefore, The Pres and I joined our friend Bruce and his pup for an adventure at the Bear Swamp at Red Lion Preserve (Section B).
We managed after some circling to find the trail head and each other, and set off to do the north trail first (the trailheads are about half a mile apart from each other on West Patty Bowker Road). We walked a short way in, then hit the split in the trail.
We opted to go right first, and pretty soon were overtaken by a hunter. He was a nice guy, and we chatted for minute, before he continued on his way toward his car, as his day was done. We figured we’d keep heading down the trail, as someone was already ahead of us in case of hunters ahead. We followed the trail down to its end, spotting 4 or 5 tree stands along the way.
At the end of that stretch of trail, we dead ended, just as a gun blast went off a little too close for comfort. We back tracked to the trail split.
We went the other way, but lost the trail markers pretty quick, and didn’t want to go crashing through the brush with hunters in the area trying to find the next one. So we backtracked out without quite finishing the trail, and headed up to the next entrance.
At the south trailhead in Tabernacle, we set off into the woods, this time with orange on and talking quite loudly to warn any hunters in the area. So, of course, there weren’t any on the second part of the trail, and only one tree stand total (I suspect this is because there are houses closer to this trail).
This trail was a bit odd, because after the trailhead, we never saw another trail marker.
Despite the lack of markers, these trails were actually easier to follow than the other one we had just finished. We followed the left spur to its end, which ended fairly quickly.
We then looked for the right fork, which was supposed to be much longer, but couldn’t find anything that looked right, except next to a “No Trespassing” sign. Checking the map preserve against our track, we figured that this HAD to be the trail. So we went for it.
Comparing the GPS track with the map later, this was definitely the right trail, so that No Trespassing sign must be old (and is in pretty bad shape).
This trail went down past a lone tree stand. It was sometimes quite wide, and sometimes narrowed down to a smaller trail between laurel, but was always quite clear. It finally petered out amongst cedar trees as we neared a good sized swamp.
When this trail dead ended, we turned around and backtracked to the cars.
Thank you to Bruce for adventuring with us!
SO many trails nearby!
The Pembertons have the Pemberton Rail Trail and Stavola Beachwoods Preserve, as well as the trails Whitesbog Village.
Shamong has a walk through Atsion, the Atsion Lake Trails, the Mullica River Trail, and Pipers Corner Preserve.
Southampton has the Bishop Farmstead trails and Vincentown has the Eagle Walk.
Any about a billion more in the rest of the nearby pine barrens.
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