Trail Guides
Elephant Swamp Nature Trail

Elk Road, Elk Township, NJ
Phone: (856) 881-6525

OWNER:  Elk Township

DIRECTIONS:  From Glassboro WMA, turn Right onto Fries Mill Road. After 1.1 miles turn Right at the traffic light onto Route 610/ West Academy Street. After 2.2 miles, turn slight Right onto Aura Road, just beyond the traffic light at Route 47. After 1.3 miles turn Left onto Route 553/ Buck Road. After 1.7 miles turn Right onto Route 538/ Elk Road. After 1.4 miles turn Left into the parking area for Elephant Swamp Trail.

DIRECTIONS FROM NEAREST HIGHWAY:  From Route 55, take exit 45. and head South on CR 553/Buck Road.. Turn Right at the first light onto CR 538/Elk Road. Continue 1.4 miles to Elephant Swamp parking area on the Left.   Map

ACCESS AND PARKING:  Open daily from dawn to dusk. Site is among large residential properties. Dogs must be on a leash. Parking for 10 or 12 cars. Illegal ATV use can be reported to Elk Township Police at 856-881-6688.

SPECIAL FEATURES:  The trail can be used as a flat bike path from the Elk Township recreational park on Wig Lane Road to the Rotary Park in the town of Elmer in Salem County. Park at one of 3 parking areas and bike the entire trail for a total of 12 miles.

Green Darner
Green DarnerLloyd Spitalnik
SITE DESCRIPTION:  Elephant Swamp Nature Trail is a 6-mile flat hiking and biking trail on an old railroad bed. The trail traverses the Reed Branch and passes forests, farm fields, and lush swamps with a thick understory of Mountain Laurel. Migrating woodland and grassland birds frequent the trail and edge habitat along cultivated fields. Canopy-level viewing offers great birding opportunities. A rustic side trail to the Remington Tract navigates the more remote swamp habitat and some mature Atlantic White Cedars. In the 1880s an escaped circus elephant disappeared into the swamp from a train and gave the site its name.

DON'T MISS:  Late spring brings the bright blooming of the Mountain Laurel understory. Mixed flocks of wood warblers, including Protonotary Warblers, are viewable at this time.

Winter:  A Great Horned Owl nest is active in a stand of pitch pines that are to the West of the trail near the Reed Branch. Bare trees make wintering birds easily observed as they feed along the edges of the woods that border the cultivated fields.
Spring:  Frogs vocalize on early spring evenings in the swamp areas. In late May the Mountain Laurel blooms. Various songbirds and mixed flocks of wood warblers frequent the swamps. Several species of woodland birds nest in the area including Scarlet Tanager, Great-Crested Flycather, Worm-eating Warbler and Yellow-billed Cuckoo.
Summer:  White tail deer and ground hog are active in the area. Swallows feed on insects in the adjacent fields. Raccoons are active and easily sighted in the early morning and evening hours. Wildflowers bloom along the trail and the reptiles and amphibians are active near the stream and swampland.
Fall:  Deciduous trees exhibit colorful autumn leaf displays, enhancing the scenery. Southbound migrant species stop here to feed on the profuse highbush blueberries and pokeweed in the area. Large groups of foraging robins and wood warblers are easily viewed throughout the day. Raptors hunt over the adjacent farm fields.

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