Jamesburg Park Conservation Area
This beautiful little area is at the northern-most tip of the New Jersey Pine Barrens, not far from where I grew up. But I wasn't into hiking back then, so I never really appreciated the proximity. There aren't any views, no rivers, hardly any streams, and just a glimpse of the swampy part of a lake, but the entire area is filled with pine trees, making for a very beautiful hike, on paths lined with beach sand and soft carpets of pine needles. It's the first time we visited this area and we still have several miles to explore in the future.

We parked in the tiny pull-off on Helmetta Boulevard (not indicated on the park map) on the southern side of the road, at exactly 40.386011, -74.429044 (you can see a car parked there on Google Street View). There is room there for one car, maybe two, but a second would block the road in. Following this map, we first crossed over Helmetta Boulevard and hiked the entire 2.8-mile Cedar Swamp Trail, but added two spurs to bring the total up to over 4 miles in that area. We next did the Pinch Pine Loop south of the road, hiking all the way to Washington Avenue where we saw a large group of wild turkeys near the trail head of the Yellow trail. We didn't hike that trail but merely returned to the car, visiting the observation platform on the way back.

Total distance hiked was 6.8 miles in 3.5 hours.

(Click on the thumbnail to bring up a bigger image in a pop-up window)

Room for 1-2 cars

Cedar Swamp Trail head

ATV tracks

Looks tasty!



In the Pine Barrens

The Jersey Devil! [photo by Laura]

The path is...

...well defined

Pine needle carpet

Trail mushroom



Gray Catbird

Very inviting

[Photo by Laura]

A little wet in places

Path is sandy in many spots

Spur to a house

On an unmarked spur

Still water


Mushrooms along...

...the spur

Back on blazed trail

Foundation on...

...another spur

An animal hole

Not many pines...

...on this spur

Lots of Mountain Laurel

Ends at Miller Avenue

Back on a very ferny...

...Cedar Swamp Trail

Huge blow-down

[Photo by Laura]

Interesting bridge

Loads of ferns


A sandy trail


Two roads diverged

Now on Pitch Pine Loop

Overgrown in spots

Burnt trees abound

Glimpse of lake

Laura watching...

...wild turkeys on Yellow

Beautiful mushroom

Observation blind

View from blind

View through blind

Heading back on White

More sap

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