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