Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Cattus Island County Park, NJ

Cattus Island County Park - Ocean County Parks

GPS Coordinates 39.981731, -74.128724

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This is 1/3 of the parking lot at Cooper Environmental Center.

Cattus Island Trail Map - Ocean County Parks
Cattus Island County Park, NJ at EveryTrail


I first hiked here in 1999 and this was my 7th trip back so needless to say, this is my favorite South Jersey winter hike.  So much variety, so much to see.
Because of some trail closures from Hurricane Sandy damage, the red trail can be accessed opposite the playground.  Look to the far corner of the parking lot for the playground and head in that direction.  Directly opposite the playground (where I am standing taking this picture) is a short unmarked trail that leads directly to the red trail.
Just a few steps to the red trail.
So disappointing to be enjoying the beauty and come across this.  I packed it out.
The yellow trail goes through ...
... pretty swamps.
Behind the park office, just a short walk off trail, views of Silver Bay.
Continuing on the yellow trail to bluffs overlooking Silver Bay.
The red trail ends at the Cooper Environmental Center.  From here turn left on the gravel road to access the blue trail or turn right to shorten the hike and return to the parking lot.
This gravel road is usually pretty busy where the trails are not that heavily used.
Osprey platforms in the marshes and the Lavallette water tower.
The start of the blue trail.
So sad to see plastic garbage in the osprey nest.
The blue trail crosses over the gravel road, but a left on the gravel road continues on ...
... to the end where you can walk along the shore all the way to the tip of Cattus Island.
Heading back.
After retracing on the gravel road, continue on the blue trail to the left.
At the end of the blue trail, take the gravel road back to the Cooper Environmental Center.
A red-winged blackbird near the feeders at the Cooper Environmental Center ...
From the overlook deck at the back side of the Cooper Environmental Center
... I was finally able to snag that elusive kingfisher!
Leaving the Cooper Environmental Center via the front ramp, the start of the red trail still closed from hurricane damage, hence starting this hike opposite the playground.
From the ramp, stay on the paved trail a short distance back to the parking lot on the left.

[  0.00]  From the parking lot head towards the playground/picnic area at the far corner, turn right on unmarked trail opposite playground for a short distance then right on red
[  0.50]  Keep left on red when red/white goes right
[  0.60]  Cross sand road
[  0.70]  Cross paved park road
[  1.00]  Turn left on red at bench where unmarked is straight and red/white is on the right
[  1.10]  At t-intersection with post where red continues across bridge on right, turn left on yellow, cross bridge, then immediately left on yellow when yellow also continues straight
[  1.35]  Cross park road
[  1.80]  Park office; continue left from yellow trail for bay views; retrace
[  2.00]  Continue on yellow trail at park office
[  2.25]  Side trail on left to bluff
[  2.30]  Side trail on left to bluff
[  2.95]  At end of yellow cross bridge then continue left on red
[  3.55]  Left on wide gravel road at end of red at Cooper Environmental Center
[  3.70]  Turn left on blue
[  4.20]  Veer left on blue when blue/white goes right
[  4.50]  Left on wide gravel road when blue crosses over
[  4.80]  End of wide gravel road; continue to tip of Cattus Island along shore
[  5.00]  Tip of Cattus Island; retrace
[  5.25]  Continue to retrace on wide gravel road
[  5.55]  Turn left on blue to continue blue loop
[  6.10]  Keep straight on blue when blue/white goes right
[  6.50]  Cross wide gravel road continuing on blue
[  6.65]  Right on wide gravel road at end of blue
[  6.70]  Continue straight on wide gravel road when blue starts to the right
[  6.85]  Cooper Environmental Center - walk around to the back on deck for overlook then continue around the building to the front ramp at the butterfly garden; continue on paved path
[  7.00]  Parking lot on left


  1. Did Cattus a couple of times before but both times were when it was lots hotter, humid and flu of mosquitoes. Never was able to put together as much mileage as you did, perhaps because we didn't want to stay out any longer in the heat & bugs. This definitely warrants a return visit following your directions…especially now that it's cooler (lots cooler!). In retrospect, I think we would have enjoyed doing this New Years Day w/the added plus of having run into you again.

    1. Not a single bug this time of year! And about 10 degrees warmer than at my house so it was a win/win! Would have been a win/win/win running into you and Jim :)


  2. I have been to Cattus Island several times but never on as many trails (I didn't even know about the ones you pointed out). Thanks so much - we will definitely be heading back to check out your hike!

    1. It really is amazing how many miles of trails there are for such a small park - feels like it's much larger. Enjoy!