Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Maurice River Bluffs Nature Preserve, NJ

Maurice River Bluffs Nature Preserve - The Nature Conservancy

GPS Coordinates 39.353412, -75.036428

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Large parking lot a short drive down a slightly rutted gravel road.

Maurice River Bluffs Trail System - The Nature Conservancy
There is a new orange trail that is not on the map but is shown on the map in the parking lot kiosk.
Many trails are closed (most of white, about half of blue) but a loop hike can still be made out of the rest.  The orange trail consists of 3 joined loops so this is why the directions might sound confusing when orange continues along different trails at the same time at intersections.

3.25 miles
Hiked in together with:
Harold N. Peek Preserve - 3.25 miles
Parvin State Park - 5.5 miles

Start here from the parking lot then turn left on blue at the trail signs.
The blue trail.
Well-marked intersection.  Turn left on red.
Lots of ups and downs along the red trail - not at all flat like you would expect.
The small portion of the white trail that is open leads to a steep descent to the banks of the Maurice River.
Looks like ruins of an old pier.
Feels more like being on a beach than the banks of a river.
A lot of these signs around.
Back on the red trail continuing the red loop, some river views.
Nesting opsprey.
The orange trail.
Lots of river and marsh views from the orange trail.
Benches and picnic tables all along the trail.
The bird blind.
Ruins along the orange trail.
Coming up on the picnic table overlooking the floating dock.
The floating dock.
One osprey in the nest, the other below.
View from the blue trail after the floating dock.
Sand road back to the parking lot.

[  0.00]  Go through The Nature Conservancy structure to T-intersection, turn left on blue
[  0.10]  Keep left on blue at fork then turn left on red at intersection with blue and alternate blue
[  0.35]  Red trail veers right just before road and crosses footbridge
[  0.75]  Turn left on white at intersection (right on white closed at this time), descend to river bank for views; retrace back to intersection with red
[  1.00]  At intersection go left on red (trail to the right of the closed white trail, no blaze until farther along - had previously come in on red from the right)
[  1.50]  Red trail ends, turn right on blue (blue closed to the left)
[  1.60]  Turn left on alternate blue
[  1.85]  Turn right on orange, keep straight across sand road, picnic table on left
[  2.00]  Turn right on orange when orange also goes straight
[  2.10]  Turn right on orange towards bird blind when orange also goes left across bridge
[  2.30]  Bench at overlook then bird blind shortly beyond the bench
[  2.40]  Turn right on orange when orange also goes left
[  2.55]  At intersection with picnic table turn right towards parking
[  2.60]  Turn right on blue at bat house on right;  building ruins on the right shortly ahead
[  2.70]  Turn left on blue (private property straight ahead)
[  2.75]  Turn right at picnic table and descent to floating dock; retrace
[  2.85]  Back at the picnic table, face the river and turn left to take trail along bluffs (this is blue but no immediate blazes)
[  3.00]  Turn left on blue alternate trail
[  3.10]  Left on orange for a few steps then right on sand road
[  3.25]  Back at parking lot


  1. Wow, I wished I'd seen your site before I hiked the bluffs yesterday. I took the little blue route bluffs but missed all the great beach you saw. We did take a steep trail down to a small beach to the river.
    Your photos are EXCELLENT! Now that I've seen them, I'll go back. My dog Trixie liked the water too! Jo Ann

    1. Thank you, Jo Ann! It was a very lovely area and I wish it weren't such a distance away from me!


  2. Thanks for the great information. I want to go down to that area to hike and it seems you have been to all the places I want to go, Glades Wildlife Refuge, Harold Peek Preserve and Maurice River Bluffs. I read somewhere that they close trails at the bluffs to prevent any disturbance to the pair of nesting bald eagles at the preserve.

    Last Sunday I went for a sail along the Cohansey River on the AJ Meerwald. That was great fun. Very scenic with many species of birds. We must to have seen more then a dozen bald eagles. The bird experts aboard said they spotted 43 different species of birds.

    From your map it appears that you live in my area. I live in Clark NJ. If you ever want a human to tag along let me know in a reply. Helen

    1. Thanks, Helen. Yes, we are almost neighbors. I am one street away from Clark. Small world!