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Nature Trails – Cape May Bird Observatory Center for Research – Cape May Courthouse, Cape May County, NJ
Distance –  We did 0.35 miles total, listed as 1/4 mile
Type – loop with another loop inside
Difficulty:  1 of 10

Website – https://www.capemay.com/play/cape-may-bird-observatory/
Open – Sunrise to Sunset.

Terrain – Grassy field, woods, marsh
Surface – Grass

Trailheads – N39° 09.610 W074° 50.051

Directions – 600 Route 47 North, Cape May Court House, NJ 08210

Parking – Good sized lot

Dog friendly? No
Stroller friendly? Offroad stroller would work
Benches? Yes
Facilities?: None (building not open to the public)

Markings – None, but easy to follow
Map –

Description –

There was an article a few weeks back in the Philadelphia Inquirer that the Audubon Society’s Cape May Bird Observatory Center for Research and Education building is up for sale, which I saw and went “man, that’s a bummer” (this is not to be confused with their popular Northwood Center near the Cape May Lighthouse, which does not have trails).  The Audubon Society has since clarified that it’s just the building for sale.  Regardless, when Tree Rider and I found ourselves driving within a few minutes of this on Thursday, how could we not stop and check it out?

So, the building IS for sale (see also: for sale sign) and the building is currently closed to the public, but a sign on the front door still welcomes the public to walk the nature trail.

Front door notes – 12/29/23.

So, of course, we had to walk the trails.  They are very short (phone GPS said 0.35 miles, trail listed at 0.25 miles), but packed with informative nature signs and plant labels, with lots of birds between the trails and the marshes next to the trails.

Across the parking lot. Keep to the left of the building.

Left to head through the gateway!

We immediately turned left to follow the loop closest to the road.

The trail quickly hooks away from the road and heads toward the back of the property (actually, all turns are quick, the trail just isn’t that long!).

Nice red cedar.

Peek out into the marsh. Osprey nest out there. Water table was REALLY HIGH due to the estimates 74 feet of rain the past two weeks.

Curving back toward the building.

Greenbriar.

Getting near the end of our walk.

Some bright color near the butterfly garden.

Not sure how long these will be available, but we enjoyed our walk!  We then drove down to Matts Landing (water was SO HIGH) and then took an extra mile in at the also very wet Eldora Preserve. With scouting out a rail trail in the county (will need to go back and hike it when the water levels drop) and breakfast at Marge’s nearby, a great morning!

Nearby:

Elodora Preserve is a few minutes away, as is the Cape May County Zoo (which also has trails) and Lizard Tail Swamp Preserve.


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The Good

Lots of signs, lots of birds, a nice range of plants. Tree Rider in particular really enjoyed this one.

The Could Be Better

Center won't be there much longer (although it sounds like just the building is for sale, they are not getting rid of the nature preserve).

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Bottom Line

A nice little stop with plenty of other trails nearby if you'd like more of a walk.

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southjerseytrails
Just a man, his five small children, and the need to hike every single trail in South Jersey, maybe.

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