Morristown, NJ: Great Swamp Wildlife Refuge

Traipse along the Great Swamp's boardwalk to sprawling, wildflower-speckled everglades and three world-class birding spots on this easy, two-mile loop near Morristown.
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Traipse along the Great Swamp's boardwalk to sprawling, wildflower-speckled everglades and three world-class birding spots on this easy, two-mile loop near Morristown.

Strolling amidst the soothing melody of birds and bullfrogs in the Great Swamp’s secluded wetlands, hikers won’t believe they’re in the nation’s most densely populated state. The only thing more intoxicating than the serene quiet of the swamp is its unique flora and fauna.
Massive, verdant ferns and tall grass shoot out of the Swamp's opaque waters. Maples rest on mossy islands. The bright colors of irises, black-eyed Susans, and trilliums contrast remarkably against otherwise green scenery. Dragonflies flit about, occasionally resting on the wooden boardwalk.
This route starts at the Friends of the Great Swamp Information Shed and ambles westward toward the first of three observation areas. The Garden Club Blind allows visitors to spy on golden finches, red-winged blackbirds and other Northeastern feeders. Continue through flooded forests and bushlands to the Sportsmen Blind. A large bog houses croaking frogs, gorgeous wildflowers, and the largest breeding population of bluebirds in New Jersey.
The final stretch of this 2-mile loop crosses over a slow-moving, fern-lined creek before leaving the boardwalk for a shaded dirt path through deciduous woods. After a short distance, reach the hike’s final destination, the Friends Blind. It’s not uncommon to see deer feasting on the wetlands’ tall grasses here. When finished wildlife-viewing, retrace the route back to the information shed.
-Mapped by MacKenzie Ryan

Trail Facts

  • Distance: 3.5

Waypoints

SWA001

Location: 40.7125733, -74.4872618

From the Friends of Great Swamp Information Shed, head past the Information Kiosk and turn L onto the boardwalk.

SWA002

Location: 40.710962, -74.491613

Turn L @ T-junction, heading toward the Garden Club Blind.

SWA003

Location: 40.711691, -74.493291

Reach Garden Club Blind. When finished, retrace steps to the T-junction and continue straight.

SWA004

Location: 40.712606, -74.48781

Bear L @ Y-junction. Continue on the access road, passing the restrooms on the right.

SWA005

Location: 40.713246, -74.488176

Turn R onto boardwalk.

SWA006

Location: 40.7141063, -74.4880825

Turn L @ T-junction and continue towards the Sportsmen Blind.

SWA007

Location: 40.7144844, -74.4889784

Reach Sportsmen Blind. When finished, retrace steps to last junction and continue straight.

SWA008

Location: 40.717222, -74.491355

Reach Friends Blind, the last observation area on the trail. When finished, retrace steps back to the Information Kiosk and parking lot.

Dragonfly

Location: 40.7121017, -74.4894934

Boardwalk

Location: 40.7125327, -74.487294

Marsh near Garden Club Blind

Location: 40.7109875, -74.4925833

Garden Club Blind

Location: 40.7114673, -74.4932592

Garden Club Views

Location: 40.7116544, -74.4933128

Marsh near Sportsmen Blind

Location: 40.7142364, -74.488501

Sportsmen Blind

Location: 40.7144031, -74.4888765

View from Sportsmen

Location: 40.7144641, -74.4889677

Creek

Location: 40.7164442, -74.4890642

Friends Blind

Location: 40.7171842, -74.4913065