Swartswood State Park Swartswood Trail

Middleville, New Jersey

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Swartswood State Park, a recreational gem, is open year-round. Established in 1914 as New Jersey’s first state park, the original acquisition was a 121/2-acre gift from George M. Emmans. He stipulated that it was to be used as a public park for everyone. Today the original land serves as the Emmans Grove Picnic Area. The park now consists of more than 700 acres of land and 600 acres of water. Swimmers enjoy the crystal clear lake formed by glaciers thousands of years ago, while lifeguards keep watch. The lake is also a sailor’s dream, for it’s perfect for launching sailboats, kayaks, and canoes, while anglers can try to catch bass, sunfish, catfish, walleye, perch, and pickerel. The moderately rated, white-blazed, 2.8- mile Spring Lake Trail, starting at the end of the Duck Pond Trail, follows natural hilly terrain through a secondary succession forest to secluded Spring Lake. Bear Claw Trail, marked with yellow blazes, is 0.8 mile and starts from the right of the kiosk in the Duck Pond parking area. It’s rated easy to moderate and follows an earthen, hilly path. It ends where it meets the paved Duck Pond Trail, allowing hikers to combine the two trails for a full loop ending at the parking area.
Best Hikes with Children in New Jersey

DESCRIPTION FROM:

Best Hikes with Children in New Jersey

by Arline Zatz (The Mountaineers Books)

Swartswood State Park, a recreational gem, is open year-round. Established in 1914 as New Jersey’s first state park, the original acquisition was a 121/2-acre gift from George M. Emmans. He stipulated that it was to be used as a public park for everyone. Today the original land serves as the Emmans Grove Picnic Area. The park now consists of more than 700 acres of land and 600 acres of water. Swimmers enjoy the crystal clear lake formed by glaciers thousands of years ago, while lifeguards keep watch. The lake is also a sailor’s dream, for it’s perfect for launching sailboats, kayaks, and canoes, while anglers can try to catch bass, sunfish, catfish, walleye, perch, and pickerel.

The moderately rated, white-blazed, 2.8- mile Spring Lake Trail, starting at the end of the Duck Pond Trail, follows natural hilly terrain through a secondary succession forest to secluded Spring Lake. Bear Claw Trail, marked with yellow blazes, is 0.8 mile and starts from the right of the kiosk in the Duck Pond parking area. It’s rated easy to moderate and follows an earthen, hilly path. It ends where it meets the paved Duck Pond Trail, allowing hikers to combine the two trails for a full loop ending at the parking area.

©  Arline Zatz/The Mountaineers Books. All Rights Reserved.

Activity Type: Backpacking, Hiking
Nearby City: Middleville
Distance: 1.5
Elevation Gain: 200 feet
Trail Type: Loop/Lollipop
Skill Level: Moderate
Duration: Day hike or overnight camping
Season: Dawn to dusk
Local Contacts: Swartswood State Park
Topo Map: Swartswood State Park: Swartswood Trail Topographic Map
Guide Book: Best Hikes with Children in New Jersey Guide Book
Driving Directions: View Directions
Trail Directions: View Guide

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Recent Trail Reviews

3/28/2009

This trail entrance is tough to find since it is nowhere near the main entrance to the park. It is off rt 521. The Grist Mill is pretty and if the water level had been higher it would have been nice to see the water go over the spillway and over the rocky stream bed, but alas the stream bed was dry. The trail was relatively easy with only an occasional grade. There were nice views of Swartswood lake. I also pulled into the cartop boat launch area down the road, which has a nice outhouse and a good view down the length of the lake.

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