Belleplain State Forest

Kiosk picture taken from the south parking lot
Trailhead – I went left though, and returned from here.

Park Site

Trail Map

Hike Distance – 7.27 miles

Trails:  East Creek trail (white)

My Map:

The lesson today is to remember to bring both your driving directions and trail map.  I forgot both.  Fortunately, GPS got me where I wanted to be without issue.  As for the trail map, I had AllTrails.  Funny thing though.  If you look at my map, the right hand side appears to be bushwhacking – AllTrails doesn’t think there’s a trail there.  Rest assured, the East Creek trail makes one big loop.  It is well defined, easy to follow, and with good blazes.  Bonus – when bike trails or spur trails joined in, there were appropriate signs as to where to go.  The only “issue” I had was starting out:  I parked in the picnic lot, found the trailhead I would return from, but needed to find blazes heading south by Lake Nummy.  A short walk down the road led me to blazes – a blaze or two is needed on the road by the lake.

Once on my way I found the trails to be wide, flat, and ultra-soft.  It was all dirt, or sugar sand, covered in pine needles.  It was like walking on clouds. I didn’t see one rock all day, and questioned if I was really in New Jersey.  There were a couple of long boardwalk sections as well.  And I saw three people on the trail the entire time.

The only green besides Pine trees, Eastern Holly

I did the loop clockwise.  My first stop was to look at a field that the trail skirts.

Pine Bracket

After heading southeast, the trail makes a 90 degree turn and heads right into a marshland.  There wasn’t much water here on this day; I imagine there might be more in the Spring.  It was at this point that I walked on a long boardwalk.

The boardwalk deposited me right into a Cedar grove, with lots of running water.

After the cedar grove it was another straight shot.  Except, I found water.

The water appeared to be about six inches deep, with a very thin layer of ice on top.  Fortunately for me:

A small trail cutout to circumvent the water.

The trail lets you out at Route 347, and there would be a short road walk.  However, it is really well marked and not hard to follow.  The road is not very busy, but the cars go flying by.  I hugged the guardrail as I walked by East Creek Pond.

East Creek Pond

The trail turns right, and goes through a small pull off parking lot.  There is a nice bench to stop and have a snack and admire the pond; which I did.

The trail heads north back to Lake Nummy and the picnic area.  There were nice hardwood sections and two cedar groves.  Also, there was one spot on the trail I really had to bushwhack around due to standing water.

Belleplain State Forest is probably the furthest I’ll drive in New Jersey to get to a trail.  Had I gone the other direction from my house and driven the same time, I would have been in New York.  This is a great location though, that was not crowded today.  It costs to get in in-season.  And, walking around Lake Nummy after hiking, I noticed a beach that would have life guards in the summer.  I passed a couple of camp grounds, so I will keep this on the camping list as well.

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Hiked:  2/19/2022

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