Small Wonders – 10 Amazing South Jersey Hikes of One Mile or Less!

Happy 10th Birthday to us!  In celebration of 10 long years, we are doing a series of birthday posts.  Look, here’s one right now!

One of those things that has always made us stand out from those other South Jersey hiking blogs is that we have more bad puns thanwe have lower standards for our main writers than… we aren’t afraid to tackle the tiny trails.  Hey, being a small child, like many of my five small children have been in the past decade, can be hard when you are walking.  Heck, being an average sized adult with a hiking blog can be hard when you are walking.  So we don’t mind taking on the bitsy trails.  Here are a few of our favorites that are about a mile or less.  Feel free to click on the links for the full trail info like what the put in your GPS, the parking situation, a map (if available), whether there are benches or bathrooms, etc!

Whitman’s Walk- Laurel Springs, NJ – about a mile.

Hey, did you know Walt Whitman lived in New Jersey!?  Well, unless you live under a bridge like a troll you do (a bridge.  The Walt Whitman Bridge… never mind).  Anyway, Walt Whitman was nursed back to health at the Whitman-Stafford House in Laurel Springs, which is well worth a visit.  But here at Timber Creek in town, he would drink from a spring, hang out by the creek, and  be inspired to be one of America’s great poets.  Today, a short trail follows those same banks, offering benches at strategic locations where you can sit and be inspired yourself.  Need more inspiration?  Some of Whitman’s poetry is inscribed into the boardwalk.

Hopkins Pond – Haddonfield, NJ – about 3/4 of a mile

If you follow us on Facebook, you know that we are at Hopkins Pond all the time.  It’s short. It’s close.  It’s pretty.  It has turtles.  What more could you want?  Well, it also has some small hills, a few bridges, and a historic house whose owner was once governor and who another owner had the original Hadrosaurus bones.  If you want more than that from such a short hike, you are being pretty greedy!

Fish House Cove Nature Trail – Pennsauken, NJ – about 0.4 total round trip

Who wants a trail behind a nice fishing pond that crosses railroad tracks and then is completely made up of boardwalk that leads past a ton of birds before ending with a view of Center City Philadelphia across the Delaware River?  You do!  Me too.  It exists, and it’s called Fish House Cove Nature Trail, and you can experience the whole thing for less than a half mile of walking.  Oh, you do want more?  You can drive past a historic tavern that’s as old as the USA on your way out of the parking lot.

Dr. James Still Nature Trail – Medford, NJ – about a mile

Dr. James Still was an amazing man.  The child of former slaves, he decided he wanted to be a doctor.  The fact that he had little formal education, almost no money, and was African American in an era where many of his race were considered property and not human beings,  that didn’t stop him from studying medicinal plants and creating his own medicine.  While he never earned a doctors degree, his knowledge, medicine, and care saved many lives, and he became a very successful doctor and eventually the largest land owner in Medford.  Today, his former office is a state park and there’s a nature trail out behind the education center.  What better place to enjoy the peace of nature and reflect on the life of a remarkable human being.

 

Atsion Lake Red and Blue Trails – Shamong, NJ – 1 mile

Like pretty views of a lake?  Like eating blueberries while you go?  Ready to go for a swim at the end?  Then the Atsion Lake Red and Blue Trails are for you!  There are few things better than walking this loop in late July, eating blueberries, and overheating only to jump into the cool, iced tea colored cedar water of the swimming area. *note that this trail is only open seasonally in the Summer months*

Red Bank Battlefield Park – National Park, NJ – 1 mile

Did you know New Jersey has a National Park?  Or at least a town named National Park?  It’s well worth going there to find Red Bank Battlefield.  A mile walk through this county park will yield a Revolutionary War era home that is open for tours, beautiful views of the Delaware River, and the remains of a fort where the Continental Army killed a lot of German mercenaries.  There’s even a local folk hero involved – Jonas Cattell.

Steelmantown Cemetery Green Burial Preserve – Woodbine, NJ – about 1 mile

So when you think about nature preserves, you don’t usually think about cemeteries.  I mean, maybe a few graves from a family cemetery tucked away somewhere.  But how about a preserve where the entire thing is a cemetery?  That’s exactly what Steelmantown Cemetery Green Burial Preserve is.  Here, folks are buried naturally in New Jersey’s only certified green cemetery.  The hiking trails, which are carpets of moss, wind past the grave plots of loved ones.  While I just like visiting for now, I have to admit that it looks like a pretty great spot to spend eternity.

 

Webb’s Mill Bog – Lacey Township, NJ – 0.25 mile

A boardwalk over a bog in the pine barrens.  Tons of cedars.  A bog! I mean, you already has us at cedar trees and a boardwalk.

Maritime Trail – Barnegat Lighthouse State Park – Barnegat Light, NJ – 0.2 miles

After 10 years and well over 200 trails of this blog, this trail remains one of the shortest that we’ve done and is still one of my favorite.  It’s only 0.2 of a mile, but puts the hiker through a mature dune system… like pretty much the whole shore looked like at one point!  And it’s fascinating, with some nice views of the ocean and the lighthouse, but also so many plants and birds to try to pay attention to.

Thanks for 10 great years and counting!

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