Malaga Lake Nature Trail – Malaga Lake Park – Franklin Township, Gloucester County, NJ
Distance – 1.1 miles total
Type – Lollipop
Difficulty: 1 of 10
Website – Franklin Township Website
Open – Sunrise to Sunset
Terrain – woods and wetlands
Surface – Dirt
Directions – 445 Malaga Park Dr, Malaga, NJ 08328
Dog friendly? No dogs allowed on the beach, did not see any notices by the trail itself (and saw and pet three dogs along the trail).
Stroller friendly? Offroad stroller should work fine
Benches? Plenty of benches spread out throughout the trail
Facilities?: Port-o-potty located in the parking lot
So you haven’t really funned until you’ve been to a ninja party for a 3rd birthday.
Anyway, after everyone got all sugared up, I was NOT bringing them directly back to the house. Luckily, I’ve got my future hikes plotted out on a handy-dandy Google map, so I soon ended up… unable to find the place I wanted to hike. On to backup plans!
Our backup plan was Malaga Lake Nature Trail, which we found just fine. After passing a massive pair of playgrounds (Professional parent trip – playground is a treat for good hikers AFTER the hike!) and crossing the parking lot at the boat launch to arrive at the nature trail trailhead.
Once on the trail, it’s simple to follow the blazes. The trail is a series of loops that extend farther back along the lake, meeting in a series of figure 8s. We just chose left every time, which made life easy.
The first stretch closer to the lake has some beautiful trees alongside pee-a-boo-lake views. There are lots of spots to get down to the water to look out to see what there is to see (like birds and turtles!).
We stopped along the way to look for a few geocaches (this park is filled with them). As we went further and further along the trail, the land transitioned from lake to swamp. Toward the back of the trail, there are scattered remains of what I read were summer homes at one point.
Once you spot the railroad tracks, the trail turns back to head the way that we came (the trail gets a little confusing for a stretch, but we picked it up again soon). We continued to stay left whenever the trail connected with itself so that we could see the areas closer to the lake. There were a lot of bricks in the first part of this walk.
The trail then pops out at the parking lot for the boating area. The three boys were well behaved, which meant it was time for…
Nearby: Nearby hikes include Blackwater Pond Park in Buena, Piney Hollow Preservation Area in Franklin Township, and Unexpected Wildlife Refuge in Newfield. Parvin State Park, Scotland Run Park, and the Elephant Swamp Trail are also nearby.
Nice lake views, turtles, some ruins, lots of geocaches, and a playground. Well rounded!
The back end of the trail is a bit confusing, but not too bad.