Trail Guides
New Jersey Audubon - Rancocas Nature Center

794 Rancocas Road, Mounty Holly, NJ
Phone: (609) 261-2495

OWNER:  New Jersey Audubon

DIRECTIONS:  Exit Long Bridge Park via Deacon Road, and turn Left onto Marne Highway. Turn Left at the traffic light onto CR 541/Mt. Holly Bypass. At the next light, turn Left onto Rancocas-Mt. Holly Road. After 1 mile turn Left into the entrance for Rancocas Nature Center.

DIRECTIONS FROM NEAREST HIGHWAY:  From I-295, exit at 45A toward Mount Holly. Go East on Route 626/Rancocas Road for 1.8 miles. The center will be on the Right, after passing a small pond on the Left. From the NJ Turnpike, take Exit 5. Follow Route 541 South to the Mount Holly Bypass/Route 541. Turn Right on the Bypass, and follow to the first traffic light. Turn Right onto Rancocas Road. The center is on the Left, 1 mile from the light.   Map

ACCESS AND PARKING:  During Daylight Savings Time, the center and grounds are open from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Tuesday through Saturday, and from noon to 5:00 p.m. on Sunday. When Eastern Standard Time is in effect, the center and grounds are open from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., Tuesday through Saturday, and from noon to 4:00 p.m. on Sunday. The center and grounds are closed on Mondays and major holidays. ATVs, bicycles and dogs prohibited.

NEAREST PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION:  New Jersey Transit Bus Lines No. 317 Asbury Park/Fort Dix/Philadelphia stops at Marne Highway and Maple Avenue. Walk a short distance on Rancocas Road. Turn Right on CR 541. Walk 7 blocks on CR 541. Turn Left on Marne Highway. Walk 1 block on Marne Highway. New Jersey Transit Bus Lines No. 413 Camden/Mount Holly/Burlington stops at Washington Street and Madison Avenue. Walk 5 blocks on Rancocas Road. Turn Right on King Street. Walk 1 block on King Street. Walking distances are less than 1 mile.

Widow Skimmer
Widow SkimmerJohn Parke
SITE DESCRIPTION:  Rancocas Nature Center is a family friendly, staffed facility, with opportunities to view good examples of several habitats, including fresh water tidal marsh and swamp forest, from marked trails. Bird and animal life is diverse. Be sure to stop in the visitor center, constructed in the mid-nineteenth century, to browse current natural history titles, and pick up brochures about other local parks and New Jersey Audubon programs. The visitor center also has a small natural history museum, wildlife viewing area, classroom and live native reptiles on display.

DON'T MISS:  Spring warbler migration in the tall oaks along the blue trail.

Winter:  Stop and view the bird feeders behind the visitor center. If there is snow on the ground, be sure to walk the trail through the pine plantation and look for tracks of deer and other mammals in the snow.
Spring:  Waterfowl pass through the tidal marsh in March, as the ice melts. Wood ducks and mallards stay to nest. Spring peepers begin calling on the first warm days, while green frogs and southern leopard frogs wait until May. Neotropical bird migration peaks in May. Umbrella magnolia blooms in mid-May on the orange trail.
Summer:  Indigo Bunting and Red-eyed Vireo continue calling until early summer. Butterflies are abundant in the meadows on the red trail and at the hummingbird-butterfly garden. Wild rice ripens in the marshes in August, sometimes attracting flocks of Red-winged Blackbirds. Numerous species of mushrooms appear magically after summer rains.
Fall:  Fall bird migration. White-throated Sparrows, juncos and other winter resident birds show up at the bird feeders. Autumn color peaks in late October. Persimmons ripen in November and attract wildlife as well as the occasional human visitor in search of this native fruit.

SPECIAL FEATURES:  The trails are well described in information that is available in the visitor center.

A CLOSER LOOK:  There are some historical features on the trail. Part of the orange trail is on a nineteenth century dike that once enclosed the tidal marsh, in a generally unsuccessful attempt to drain it. At very low tides, some wooden beams that might have been a flood gate are visible in the creek bank. An early 19th-Century grist mill was located where a spur of the blue trail crosses a small stream. Nothing remains except the high banks of the old mill pond.

ButterfliesGift ShopHandicapped AccessHiking TrailsIdeal for BeginnersInformationInterpretive ProgramsInterpretive TrailMotorcoachParking
PhonePicnicRestroomsWater Fountain