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Holly Hills Nature Preserve – Alloway Township, Salem County, NJ
Distance – 2.2 miles total (walked a figure eight of the main road)
Type – Figure eight
Difficulty: 3 of 10 – some hills and sugar sand

Website – NJ Fish & Wildlife of Alloway Township
Open – Sunrise to Sunset.

Terrain – fields, woods, and wetlands
Surface -tiny part paved, mostly dirt and sand

Trailheads – 39°32’32.81″N, 75°18’40.97″W or 39°32’33.81″N, 75°18’46.12″W

Directions -374 Alloway Friesburg Rd, Salem, NJ

Parking – Very large lot

Dog friendly? Yes
Stroller friendly? l think there are some sections (ruts, sugar sand) that would make a stroller tough
Benches? None
Facilities?: None

Rules –

Markings – None, but we followed an obvious road around the outside
Map – No official map, but here is our GPS track

NOTE: Saw a number of tree stands here (and none looked like they were used to shoot golfers from), so definitely be careful and take precautions during hunting season.

Description –

Almost two years ago, loyal reader Roger gave us a heads up about this old golf course that was slowly returning to nature (thanks Roger!)  He mentioned that he went in June and there were tick issues, so we waited until this Spring to take a look!

So while Mrs. South Jersey Trails headed to work, The Pres, Tree Rider, and I hopped in the car and drove down to Salem County to check this place out.

We found it without too much trouble, hopped out of the car, and away we went.  Kite Flyer opted to walk to start.

The trail started out on a small, paved section before quickly turning to dirt.  It seemed to head down an old fairway, and was bordered on one side by an archery club.  It then dropped down a good size hill, merged with an old dirt road (official use only for vehicles), passing a pond that was tough to see thanks to the reeds around it.

The trail then climbed up a hill and ended up at a four way intersection.  This is the central junction for the figure 8 we’d do on this hike.  We opted to head straight first.

Holly Hills has some holly.

 

Four way intersection.

As we said, we headed straight here.  We walked a bit more old fairway before ending up in a wetlands area with a stream.  Here, signs to the left of the trail were marked “No Trespassing”, as that land is part of the Rancocas Wildlife Management Trust (not sure what that is, no online presence).  The trail curved around to the right along the edge of some woods.

Kite Flyer decided he’d had enough walking for a while.

Some nice wetlands.

Not sure who these folks are, but mark their land well.

 

The trail looped around along another fairway before re-crossing that same stream we’d already crossed.  The trail then ended up back at the central intersection for the figure eight.

Back at the central, four-way intersection, we opted to head straight to take the one stretch of trail that we hadn’t taken yet.  This cut across another old fairway, entered a bit of woods, and then threaded between two lakes.  I suspect these are good for fishing, judging from the line caught in the trees.

Second pond is tough to get near.

From here, we hit a very sandy section of trail that lasted from the ponds to nearly the end of the hike.  Some of this was really loose and kind of tough to walk in comfortably, but the stretch isn’t too long.  It ends with a climb out of what may have been a sand trap.

The last curve of the trail put us back on better footing.  I let Kite Flyer down from the backpack to finish up his hike (he did just under a mile total).  This last stretch was grassy meadow, and there were a TON of birds flying around.  SPRING MIGHT REALLY BE HERE!  The trail finished up back in the parking lot, the opposite side of where we’d started.

So Kite Flyer insisted on picking this up and proudly carrying it the last stretch of the hike, despite The Pres’s many attempts to trade him for a stick that was NOT a log (it’s big, it’s heavy, its wood).

 

Back to pavement.

 

Made it back to the parking lot!

After picking up a geocache in the park, we piled into the car to head home (stopping only to pick up another Geocache at Daretown Lake in Upper Pittsgrove Township.  No hike there, but a pretty lake, supposedly some good fishing, and the restored Fox Mill).

Nearby: Parvin State Park is nearby with lots of hiking, and the Elephant Swamp Trail is also nearby.

 

The Good

Birds, pretty lakes, and a nice swamp.

The Could Be Better

Ticks have to be a nightmare the wrong time of the year. Also, be cautious during hunting season

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Bottom Line

Not our favorite hike in Salem County, but was interesting to see the golf course returning to nature!

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