Sunday, November 13, 2016

Elephant Swamp Trail, NJ

Elephant Swamp Trail - Elk Township, NJ
Elephant Swamp Trail - Upper Pittsgrove Township
Legend has it that in the 1800's an elephant escaped from a circus train that traveled these railroad tracks, never to be seen again.

GPS Coordinates 39.65217, -75.14867
Elk Township parking lot on County Road 538.

Elephant Swamp Nature Trail Trail Guide - Elk Township (covers the first 1.7 miles)

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HIKE DISTANCE:  8.25 miles (4 miles each way plus loop around ball park)

Starlings everywhere.
Hundreds of them hanging out in the fields and trees around the parking lot.  Then whoosh, they were all gone in a split second.
The trail entrance heading south in the parking lot.  The trail also goes north across the street for 1 mile but it runs parallel to the road so we skipped that part.
It looks like a tunnel to infinity.
Frost in the fields along the trail.
Interpretive signs and benches all along the Elk Township Nature Trail portion.
Muddy Run or Reed Branch, not sure which.
Apparently there was a big ATV problem at one point and I read the trail was not in good shape from it but all sections looked good when I was there so maybe they cracked down on ATV riding on the trail.
A 1949 post at the Gloucester/Salem County line.
The end of the Elk Township Nature Trail portion which dumps you right out at ...
... the Monroeville Fire Station.
Cross over Monroeville Road to the start of the Upper Pittsgrove Township section which is the same rail bed.
Through town for a short distance...
... then over a side street.
Northern Flicker
At several points along the trail there are mountains of railroad ties off to the right.
Crossing Pinyard Road then through a power cut....
... with soaring turkey vultures and ...
... a red-tailed hawk in a big hurry.
And there he goes.
I spotted something up ahead and zoomed in to find Mr. and Mrs. Deer.
Something spooked them, then they started charging up the trail straight towards us ...
... freezing when they saw me and Shawnee hugging a tree, then darted off into the woods.
Railroad tie in the trail.
The end of the Elephant Swamp Trail at the ball fields.
We walked a loop around the ball fields.
Then headed back on the Elephant Swamp Trail.
Muddy Run
Turkey Vulture
Blue Jay
Joggers on the trail.
Sign pollution.
So much to ...
... sniff.
Almost everyone we ran into on the trail had dogs along.
Back at the parking lot.


  1. Looks like it was a beautiful day. You got some great shots as usual. Always nice to see Shawnee on the trail with you. Thanks for sharing! Joanne from NJ

  2. Excellent choice! Hey -- I believe this is Shawnee's first visit to South Jersey since getting the wheelchair...a huge "welcome" from me (Jim)! I did this trail (by bike) about 3 years ago, but it was in mid-September, so (while the trail is excellent), I didn't quite get the beautiful/picturesque fall foliage that you did. Also, I don't think I noticed the "Gloucester/Salem" county marker...must have been going too fast! :)

    Well -- glad you got out this way; hope to see more adventures from you & Shawnee in South Jersey again real soon! Happy Hiking!


    1. Why yes, it is Shawnee's first South Jersey wheelchair hike! I tend to head south more in the winter so we'll be back!