Trail Guides
Bridgeton City Park/Cohanzick Zoo/Sunset Lake

Mayor Aitken Road, Bridgeton, NJ
Phone: (856) 451-9208

OWNER:  City of Bridgeton

DIRECTIONS:  In downtown Bridgeton on Route 49, turn North onto Atlantic St. Go one block to the traffic light (Commerce St). The Park entrance is directly ahead across Commerce St. where Atlantic St. becomes Mayor Aitken Dr. Enter the Park and go 0.6 miles to the fenced-in Recreation Department complex on the Right. Enter the parking lot. The Bridgeton City Recreation and Public Affairs office is in the one-story building at the far end of the parking lot. The office is open daily throughout the year, from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Pamphlets, brochures and a good map of Cumberland County are available.   Map
1a) To the Cohanzick Zoo
Exit the Recreation Department parking lot and turn Right onto Mayor Aitken Dr. After 0.2 miles, the Zoo entrance and large parking lot will be on your Right. There is a walking trail that begins at the back of the parking lot near the covered picnic area.
1b) To Sunset Lake
Exit that parking lot at the far end and turn Right, back onto Mayor Aitken Dr. to the stop sign at West Park Dr. (do not veer Right). Go straight ahead across West Park Dr. into the large parking area overlooking Sunset Lake.
1c) To Piney Point
Exit the Sunset Lake parking lot, turn Right onto West Park Dr. and continue to the traffic light at the intersection with CR 607 (named West Avenue to the Left and Beebe Run Rd. to the Right). Turn Right onto CR 607 and continue 0.2 miles to the first road on your Right. This is an asphalt road entrance to the Park. Turn Right into the Park and follow the asphalt road 0.2 miles to its end at the Piney Point parking area.
1d) To Mary-Elmer Lake
To reach the site from Piney Point, return on the asphalt road to CR 607, turn Left, travel 0.2 miles and turn Right into the parking lot at Mary-Elmer Lake.

ACCESS AND PARKING:  Open daily from dawn to dusk. Parking available on site.

Snowy Egret
Snowy EgretMichael Lyncheski
SITE DESCRIPTION:  Many of the 1,100 acres in the Park are mature high-canopied hardwood and mixed forests, some with clear understories and some with dense undergrowths. Well-kept roads and paths provide wildlife enthusiasts with terrific hiking and birding opportunities. Note the forest on the west side of Sunset Lake, a body of water that is one mile long and 0.4 miles across at it widest. Mute Swans and Canada Geese are resident here. The Park is also the home of the Cohanzick Zoo, a first rate zoo whose most famous residents at this printing are two white tigers, Erik and Esor. Continue north along Mayor Aitken Drive and turn onto the unpaved road that runs through the forest. Throughout the Park, picnic sites are plentiful and biking, canoeing and swimming are popular pastimes.

DON'T MISS:  the spectacular view of the lake from Piney Point, a land spit extending into the Lake. There is a pavilion, picnic tables and plenty of lake-side benches. It is a great place to observe waterfowl, stop for lunch, or sit awhile and plan your next stop. If you visit Piney Point, it is worth your while to stop at Mary-Elmer Lake. About one fifth the size of Sunset Lake, Mary-Elmer Lake is fed by Barret Run, which in turn feeds into Sunset Lake via a raceway. Picturesquely surrounded by a mature forest, it provides great habitat for waterfowl. The tall dead trees along the lake’s edge are favorite perching sites for Osprey, Red-tailed Hawk and Belted Kingfisher. A bridge over the raceway permits visitors to walk along the western edge of the lake and a short drive (100 yards) north on CR 607 (turn Left out of the parking lot), will take you to Mary-Elmer Dr. A Left turn onto Mary-Elmer Dr. will bring you to picnic grounds on the north shore of the lake.

Winter:  Hardy winter residents of the forest include Dark-eyed Junco, White-throated Sparrow, Blue Jay, Northern Cardinal, Carolina Chickadee and many others. On Sunset Lake, wintering waterfowl share the space with the resident Mute Swan and Canada Geese. Great Blue Heron still patrol the lake edges. Red-tailed Hawk are around and an occasional eagle may be seen.
Spring:  Spring peepers begin to fill the evening air with their shrill peeps in early March and soon thereafter the forest is alive with neotropical species. Look for those nesting locally and those on their way to nesting grounds farther north. The forest rings with the songs of the Wood Thrush, Ovenbird, Carolina Wren, and a variety of warblers. Oriole and Scarlet Tanager set up house, as do woodpeckers, nuthatches, Gray Catbird, Blue Jay and Carolina Chickadee.
Summer:  Although resident birds may become more difficult to see in fully leafed out trees, one may happen upon young birds recently fledged. If this happens, leave the bird where it is or place it in a nearby shrub — the parents will continue to feed it. Tree Swallow and Barn Swallow swoop low over the water and the resident Mute Swan and Canada Geese, with signets and goslings, move around the lake.
Fall:  The leaves are turning and animals, birds, reptiles and insects sense the approach of winter. Winter resident waterfowl return to Sunset Lake and with the dropping of leaves, birds and animals become more visible. The fall migration of raptors and passerines is followed by the arrival of wintering ducks.

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