Penn State Forest The Plains Trail

Chatsworth, New Jersey

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When the colonists first came upon the dwarf trees of the Pine Barrens, they assumed—because none were taller than 5 feet—that they had entered a forest of immature trees. However, after all these years the trees still haven’t grown much taller. As you hike into the Plains section of the Pine Barrens, also known as the Pygmy Pine Forest, you’ll probably be standing taller than even the tallest tree! No one knows exactly why they haven’t grown, but possibly the poor, sandy soil conditions, wind, and frequent forest fires are responsible for stunting their growth. This hike through the Pine Barrens follows sand roads, and although the map shows names for all, not a single one along the route is marked. Use your compass to check directions with those on the map. All roads are open to traffic, and an occasional vehicle may pass by. It’s wise to stay to the side of the road and listen for the rumble of an engine. Access to the trailhead is via a sand road, generally passable by car. Check driving conditions before entering this road.
Best Hikes with Children in New Jersey

DESCRIPTION FROM:

Best Hikes with Children in New Jersey

by Arline Zatz (The Mountaineers Books)

When the colonists first came upon the dwarf trees of the Pine Barrens, they assumed—because none were taller than 5 feet—that they had entered a forest of immature trees. However, after all these years the trees still haven’t grown much taller. As you hike into the Plains section of the Pine Barrens, also known as the Pygmy Pine Forest, you’ll probably be standing taller than even the tallest tree! No one knows exactly why they haven’t grown, but possibly the poor, sandy soil conditions, wind, and frequent forest fires are responsible for stunting their growth.

This hike through the Pine Barrens follows sand roads, and although the map shows names for all, not a single one along the route is marked. Use your compass to check directions with those on the map. All roads are open to traffic, and an occasional vehicle may pass by. It’s wise to stay to the side of the road and listen for the rumble of an engine. Access to the trailhead is via a sand road, generally passable by car. Check driving conditions before entering this road.

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

Activity Type: Hiking
Nearby City: Chatsworth
Length: 4.9
Elevation Gain: Minimal
Trail Type: Loop/Lollipop
Skill Level: Moderate
Duration: Day Hike
Season: Dawn to dusk
Local Contacts: Penn State Forest, c/o Bass River State Forest
Topo Map: Penn State Forest: The Plains 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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