We are celebrating Wellness Week here in Collingswood and now that Spring has arrived, we are ready to disconnect from work and reconnect with our natural surroundings! We happen to love hiking at Hub:868 and find it so beneficial to our health (have you heard of forest bathing?). Time in nature can reduce stress levels, increase sleep time, and may boost your immune system. If a walk in the woods doesn’t sound very exciting and you’re not about to put down your phone, you can turn it into a treasure hunt with geocaching! Download the Geocaching app and see what treasures you might find. South Jersey has many pockets of woodlands to explore. We’ve compiled a list of trails closest to our Hub home and why we love them. Read on to see how to earn a free 5 day punch pass at Hub:868.
The Newton Lake trail runs about 4mi through Collingswood, Oaklyn, and Haddon Township and is maintained by Camden County. This park is bounded by Cuthbert Blvd and the White Horse Pike and the trail circles the lake. It has three picnic areas: one at Lees Lane, one at the Newton Lake Pavilion and one at the Collingswood playground which is one of two playgrounds. You will also find fishing piers at Lees Lane, Bettlewood Ave, and Matrimony Garden as well as a boat ramp for non-motorized boats. This is a busy trail in a populated area, great for exercise and a nice walk around the lake.
Haddon Lake Park
This is a small 2.8mi trail in Haddon Heights/Audubon around Haddon Lake maintained by Camden County. You can stay on the paved trail the entire route or take the dirt path along the creek in Haddon Heights. Haddon Lake is home to many ducks and geese as well as at least one egret and beaver, and you can also find bullfrogs near the creek. We love watching all the wildlife! This trail is popular for exercise, especially runners and can become crowded. There is a disc golf course in the wooded area along S. Park Ave and a fishing pier on the lake. You will also find 2 separate playgrounds on this path; one in Haddon Heights (locally referred to as The Dell) and one in Audubon. The Dell is also home to an amphitheater where Camden County hosts evening concerts and children’s shows in the summer.
Ben Franklin Bridge Pedestrian Walkway
I’m sure you’ve traveled the Ben Franklin by car but have you ever walked (or run) the bridge? It’s about 3mi round-trip and is certainly the steepest climb in our area. This path isn’t available 24/7 (none are, really, as most close at dusk) but The walkway is open daily, weather permitting, from 6 am – 8 pm October 1 – April 30 and 6 am – 9 pm May 1 – September 30. In Philadelphia, access to the walkway is located at 5th and Race Street, across the street from the U.S. Mint. In New Jersey, the walkway can be accessed at 4th and Pearl Street.This hike may not be for everyone (like me with my fear of heights!) but it affords some amazing views of the city and south Jersey.
Crow’s Woods Nature Preserve
There is so much to love at Crow’s Woods! This trail is located in Haddonfield and has 1.5mi of loop trails bounded by Cooper River and PATCO tracks. The highlight of Crow’s Woods is definitely the rope swing, and the downside is the large amount of off-leash dog walkers. There are some elevation changes in Crow’s Woods making it much more fun if you’re not into flat, paved trails. You can find lots of evidence of beaver activity along the river and if you’re lucky you might even spot one of them. You’ll also find a small fort of tree branches that local youth (and maybe some adults?) have been modifying for years. This trail is entirely wooded and you’ll find yourself much more immersed in nature than our previous three hikes.
Pennypacker Park/Hopkin’s Pond
Located in Haddonfield, Pennypacker Park has the Natural History Tree Trail running 0.6mi around Hopkin’s Pond and is brimming with history along with nature. The pond itself was created in 1789 when a dam was built by John Hopkins to power Haddon Mill which was in operation until 1850. The most exciting piece of history in Pennypacker Park is the fact that the world’s first nearly complete dinosaur skeleton was found here! Hadrosaurus Foulkii was named after William Parker Foulke who was a friend of John Hopkins and dug out the full skeleton after Hopkins had found some very large bones on his property. (You can find a sculpture of ‘Haddy’ on King’s Highway in Haddonfield.) Aside from the rich history of the area, you will also find a 16 acre bird sanctuary, fishing opportunities, and probably a lot of other people as this trail is pretty popular. You can quickly access Maria Barnaby Greenwald Memorial Park where you can connect to the Watchable Wildlife Trail and the Cooper River Trail (also highlighted on this map) from this trail.
Saddler’s Woods is also full of history! Most of the woodlands in this area are relatively new growth as the old forests were cleared for development but Saddler’s Woods is a nearly 26 acre old growth forest fragment which looks much like it did when European settlers first arrived to the area. It was named after Joshua Saddler, who escaped slavery in Maryland and found work in New Jersey. Saddler stated in his will that none of his heirs could clear the forest and we are incredibly lucky that development still has not occurred on this land. You can access the nearly 1mi trail on MacArthur Blvd in Haddon Township and see all the very old, very large trees for yourself.
Knight Park Loop
Right in our own town we have a nearly 2mi walking path through Knight Park. This is a flat, easy trail in a very populated area. You will find runners and dog walkers as well as a pond, playground, and picnic areas including a large pavilion for parties. There are also several sports fields in this park, so bring your gear and some friends and start a pick-up game.
There are so many more trails if you want to travel a little further from Hub:868, both near and far – just in Cherry Hill you can find a half dozen, and North Jersey has some gems with their hillier topography. We find hiking to be such a grounding experience and hope you will check out some of these trails. Or, let us know where you love to hike! We are always looking for a new trail.