Day Trip: Great Swamp National Wildlife Refuge

If you can manage to find the Great Swamp National Wildlife Refuge in Basking Ridge, NJ, you’ll have a great time there. We’ve been twice now, to different sections. The swamp is one of more than 500 wildlife refuges administered by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. You’ll find about 8 miles of marked trails, though there’s 3,660 acres of off-trail hiking.

Last weekend we hit the boardwalk area (note: there were restrooms but no water fountain or garbage can). You’ll find maps at the trailhead/parking lot. The wildlife observation center is on New Vernon Road (aka Long Hill Road – depending on the address).

I regretted not bringing my better SLR camera with its telephoto lens. In the hour or so we walked on the boardwalks, we spotted baby and adult turtles, lots of birds, dragonflies, chipmunks, though there are a ton more animals we didn’t see.

If you stand still long enough, you’ll see lots of animals in here
can you see the big turtle?

baby turtles!
the boardwalks have “blinds” where you’re sheltered but you can still see the wildlife through the slats so the animals can’t see you.

fungus on a fallen tree

Previously we also visited the unnamed trails on Long Hill Road, marked with a P (parking) sign on the map (photo below). There are several trails there (blue, yellow) with the lengths marked. We walked through a marshy area and got our shoes kind of wet and muddy. The kids had a blast (and it wore them out)

we saw lots of frogs
magical mushrooms