Cedar Bonnet Island Environmental Trail – Manahawkin, NJ

Cedar Bonnet Island Environmental Trail – Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge – Manahawkin, Ocean County, NJ
Distance – 1.5 miles total if hike every bit of trail
Type – Loop with some spurs
Difficulty: 1 of 10

Website – None
Open – Sunrise to Sunset.

Terrain – Marshlands
Surface – Crushed gravel

Trailheads –  39°39’26.77″N,  74°11’39.19″W

Directions – If driving onto Long Beach Island from the mainland, the parking lot is located on the right side after the first bridge (which takes you onto Cedar Bonnet Island), but before the second bridge (which takes you onto Long Beach Island).  

Parking – Lot with 8 or so spaces.

Dog friendly? Yes, but must be leashed.  Please clean up after your pooch.
Stroller friendly? Yes (if it handles offroad)
Benches? Yes, and two pavilions too

Facilities?: None


Markings – None, but very easy to follow.
Map – 

Description – So after a good time at Webbs Bog Nature Trail, we headed south to a brand new trail at Cedar Bonnet Island, an island located along Route 72 between the mainland and Long Beach Island.  The rain let up a little (yay!), but on the bay we now had rain mixed with wind.  Rain suits back on, we headed out into the damp and cold knowing that at least there would be no mosquitoes or biting flies!  Yay!

To start, you’ll need to head down the sidewalk back toward the mainland, as the trail entrance isn’t right at the parking lot.

Turn left into the preserve.  The trail system is made of crushed stone, and is big enough to drive a truck down, so you really don’t have to worry about getting lost or losing the trail.

After a short distance, the trail will split.  This split creates the central loop of the trail system, so it really doesn’t matter which way that you go, because you’ll end up back here.  We went left, because I like saving the views for last whenever possible.  This stretch of trail followed the inside of the island, and each side of the trail was covered with planted trees that will look pretty great in twenty years or so.  We followed this around until the trail split again.

Trail split. We chose left.


Looking back toward the parking lot.


Definitely a rain suit day. This is where the trail splits. To the left (the way we’ll go) is a spur out to a view of the bay. To the right is the continuation of the loop.

Having chosen left at this second split, we headed down the spur to the view.  At the end, you’ll find a little pavilion with some tables.  

Can see the trees that have been planted.

Panoramic from the viewpoint, you can see the second pavilion that we’ll head to next at the right side of this picture.

After taking in the view, we turned around and headed back down the spur.  When we reached the intersection, we turned left to walk back onto the loop, which led along the water side of the trail.  We headed toward the second pavilion, which is conveniently located right along the loop.

After taking in the view here, we finished the loop and took the first spur back to the sidewalk and back to the parking lot.

Go left again to get back on original spur.


Almost back to the parking lot!

And if you’re trying to picture where on Earth this is, it’s pretty much where “the shack” was, which pretty much any one who went to Long Beach island at any point over many decades would recognize.  Sadly, Superstorm Sandy washed away it away.

BIG thank you to my wife, The Pres, Tree Rider, and Kite Flyer for humoring me on my birthday, despite the cold and  wet weather! 

Nearby – 

On Long Beach Island, you can check out the Maritime Trail, the Jetty Walk, or the A. Jerome Walnut Nature Trail, each located in Barnegat Light at the north end of Long Beach Island, or the nature trail and the Long Beach Island Arts and Science Center in Loveladies, which we have not hiked yet.

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