Rancocas State Park
Hainesport/Westampton (Burlington County)
Size of park: 1,252 acres
Rancocas is small enough for casual day hikers but large and secluded enough that even the most experienced of wilderness fans consider it a find. For most, the Rancocas State Park experience is best enjoyed one of two ways. The first is by canoe or kayak.
Stretching for more than 30 miles, the Rancocas Creek runs through the park and is a lovely, peaceful float through forests of hickory, oak, and maple. It’s not uncommon to see painted and box turtles, blue herons, white-tailed deer, geese, bobcats, and squawking mallards along its banks at all times of year. The creek has plenty of high, sturdy shores for stops to picnic or explore, but camping along the banks is not permitted. There are no picnic or restroom facilities, so come prepared.
For guided tours, stop into the Rancocas Nature Center, which is operated by the Audubon Society and sponsors wildlife programs throughout the year. On October 3, Pine Barrens expert Rick Radis will take visitors to some of his favorite local sites. On October 9, naturalist Lloyd Shaw will take visitors to Palmyra Cove to watch the fall bird migrations. There are also nature activities for children; a full list can be found at njaudubon.org.
A portion of the park is occupied and managed by the American Indian nation of the Powhatan Renape, which hosts events at a replica seventeenth-century native village within the park. For information, visit powhatan.org.Click here to leave a comment