Meeting Bigfoot at Hopewell Township Park (Cumberland) – Hopewell Township, NJ

Hopewell Township Park – Hopewell Township, Cumberland County, NJ
Distance –  1 mile walk around the loops (could have added about another half mile if we walked down to the last part of the trail and back)
Type – Interlocking loops
Difficulty:  1 of 10

IMPORTANT NOTE – This is not to be confused with Hopewell Township Park in Hopewell Township, Mercer County, which also has a nice meadow, a playground with turrets, and the intriguingly named Frog War Trail (which turns out to be labeled Frog War Track when you get there – thanks to Martin for working out what the Frog War was!)

Website – Hopewell Township
Open – Sunrise to Sunset.

Terrain – Grasslands and woods
Surface – Mowed paths and dirt paths

Trailheads – N 39° 26.912 W 075° 16.035

Directions – 214 Sewell Road, Hopewell Township, NJ   – This will bring you to a two lane rut dirt road, follow that back all the way to the parking area.

Parking – Small grass lot for a few cars

Dog friendly? Unsure
Stroller friendly? Offroad stroller should be able to handle it
Benches? A few benches near the beginning

Facilities?: Bigfoot

Markings – Very occasional markings with arrows or a hiker sign, but easy to follow nevertheless.

Map –

Map of grassland restoration half of the trails
Map of out route. Trail on the right also has an out-and-back spur that goes out to a road.

Description –

On a hot August day, I took the kids on a kid and then to the zoo.  Nearby, I had noticed this park that I hadn’t heard of… and that Bigfoot was here (thanks Geocaching)!  The trails didn’t look like they could be super long, so I drove down to the trailhead and…. the baby was asleep.

So we drove away.  But then the baby woke up!  Quickly, to the trailhead!

The western half of this park is a rebuilt grassland area, a joint project of federal, local, and private conservation agencies and groups.  We started our hike there, keeping a sharp eye out for the big guy.  Well mown trails formed a series of small, sunny loops.  August seemed the right time of year to be here, as butterflies and bees were in every direction, and an explosion of grass and flowers surrounded us.

Headed west on the trail out of the small parking lot.
Just after you start, an inner loop has some nice benches to sit on while you observe nature.
So many flowers.
Sometimes these mowed trails get to be a mess when they aren’t mowed. This one was immaculate! Can’t speak to if it’s always this way, but made for easy walking and a non-tick friendly grass length.
Made a right turn to continue along the tree line. Tree Rider, Kite Flyer, and the Big Fella were playing some copying game as they walked, so if the photos are even stranger than normal, that might be why.
Made another right turn at the edge of the preserve. To the left is just a space for a farmer to get to the fields, which are not part of the park.
Some yarrow or Queen Anne’s lace or hemlock, I can’t tell the difference.  Which is why my assisted suicide rate on Greek philosophers is so low.
A spot of shade and an informational sign… hooray!
No, I don’t understand what they are doing.
I liked this part of the hike better than the kids, maybe because I could see over the grass.
Pretty.
Some yellow ones. My flower IDing is atrocious outside of pink ladies slipper.
Coming to the end of the grassland.
We did sneak down one of the interlocking loops to see what it was like (pretty and full of grass and flowers).

The trail then crossed the entrance road.  The two sides of the road are completely different – one is open fields and restored natural grasslands, the other is shady woods.  And Bigfoot.  The kids’ excitement level definitely went up as we crossed.

You know, after a sitting break.
Yes, he’s here too. But when you wake up from a nap, you don’t usually want to hike.  Also, who wears a sunhat in the sun?  And why is he so good at getting that knot untied that keeps the hat on his head?
The woods sections of trails has three small loops. We opted to head right at the split to stay to the outside of the loops.
Head right!
The loops are very small. This was the only muddy patch we came across this day, but it hasn’t been a particularly wet time of year.
Also, so much cooler in here.
Starting to think that Bigfoot isn’t here.
After the second loop, we turned left down the short path…
…then went left again for the main stretch of trail. This main stretch does go another quarter of a mile of a mile down to a road in the other direction, but we didn’t explore that today, because tired legs on the little ones after all ready having a pair of walks today.
We were approaching the entry road, and had given up, when suddenly…
BIGFOOT!
I had some happier hikers now. Then, second Bigfoot! (No photo, he was hiding too well in the plant life). Oh, and this shot is where the trail first split at the previous arrow picture.  We turned right here to keep going toward the road.
Our final Bigfoot spotting was a friendly one, he waved at us! We waved back, because manners. But we also kept rubbing our eye, because we got up too early.

We were happy at our trio of Bigfoot sightings (wait, isn’t he Big Red Eye in New Jersey?  Ugh!  Remembered too late and everyone knows that Internet posts can never be changed) and made the left turn to walk down the entrance road back to the car.

It’s not near the trail, but there is also a nice picnic area in this park where the entrance road leaves Sewell Road.

Bye!

Nearby:

The Bridgeton City Park Trails are very close to this one, which I haven’t reviewed yet (unless I have and have forgotten to go back and update this).  Natural Land’s Glades Preserve is about 25 minutes south of here.  Tindall Island Trail is less than 20 minutes away (not a good one for the summer, biting flies!) which is near Historic Greenwich, which is well worth exploring.  Maurice River Bicycle and Walking Trail is about 20 minutes east of here.  Parvin State Park is about 15 minutes northeast.  There are also about 74 different Wildlife Management Areas that I haven’t explored down this way.  Oh, and some beautiful, old stone churches.  And a pretty lighthouse.  Make a day of it.  Make a weekend of it.  Make a week of it. “Down Jersey” of Cumberland and Salem Counties is amazing.

Boston can’t have all the fun – Greenwich, New Jersey had to destroy some British tea too. Except we burned it instead of throwing it into the harbor.

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