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Great Swamp National Wildlife Refuge, New Jersey: Address, Phone Number, Great Swamp National Wildlife Refuge Reviews: 4.5/5

Great Swamp National Wildlife Refuge

Great Swamp National Wildlife Refuge
4.5
Nature & Wildlife Areas
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This wilderness area consists of 3,660 acres in the state of New Jersey, and is a popular destination for hikers, wildlife enthusiasts, birdwatchers and paddlers.
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Detailed Reviews: Reviews order informed by descriptiveness of user-identified themes such as cleanliness, atmosphere, general tips and location information.
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4.5
64 reviews
Excellent
42
Very good
15
Average
4
Poor
3
Terrible
0

oceanguy2821
Baltimore, MD271 contributions
A great off beat wildlife refuge can be found in the Great Swamp National Wildlife Refuge area. Its a little difficult to find if one isn't aware of the area but its worth a trip. The park offers numerous areas to watch birds and wildlife. Several areas have accessible water sites to watch ducks. Be sure to take binoculars and zoom lenses as much of the wildlife can be seen in the distance. The park is free and very budget friendly. However, there aren't many "convenience" stations so plan ahead. Depending on one's walking ability, there are ample areas to explore without having to do too much hiking.
Written November 3, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

familytravel13
NJ273 contributions
Family
There are several different trailheads within the Refuge so consult the website to match your interests and fitness level. This trail, the Boardwalk trail, is several short, <1 mi., flat, mostly boardwalk trails that begin and end at one spot. A stroller or wheelchair would work here. There are restrooms here.
We saw painted turtles in various sizes, huge (2ft) snapping turtles, several species of snakes, various birds, rabbit, chipmunk, squirrels. Millions of tiny flowers at ground level, blooming greens like fiddlehead ferns and skunk cabbage, and the lily pads were green and preparing to produce lilies.
2 caveat with the locals: At the end of some trails are duck blinds. Our teen children spoke, not shouted, not screamed, but spoke, and were immediately shushed and lectured by a bird watcher. Come on, if you want a silent bird watching moment, come at dawn on a Tuesday, not 2 pm on a Saturday. Second, while we pointed out and discussed a rabbit with a couple we passed on the boardwalk, the Mrs. leaned in and told how dangerous she thinks it is to have food on the trail as there are bears "in here". Food was a shoprite bag with granola bars and goldfish crackers, that were were carrying. Not picnicking, or tossing out as bait. Firmly wrapped and grasped in our hand, on a boardwalk trail, filled with people. I love the outdoors and am familiar with the habits of suburban bears and this was overkill.
Our original plan was to hike the longer orange trail a few miles down the road, but it was a bit washed out and we didn't wear tall boots, so be reminded that a swamp area does stay wetter longer after a rain than the surrounding neighborhoods. We plan to go back and explore that area after a dry spell.
Written April 29, 2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

John0629
Phoenixville, PA92 contributions
Family
On our way back to PA from a weekend in NYC on interstate 78, we saw the sign for the Great Swamp!!! In NJ??? We decided to check this out. We do like to stop at places on the spur during out travels, the reason we are independent travelers. Trying to find the Visitors Center was a problem. The GPS units we used got us to the Refuge and we followed the signs for the Center BUT the signs did not take us anywhere near the Visitor Center!!! You must put in the Helen C Fenske Visitor Center name in your GPS. When we did arrive at the Center, the staff agreed it's a major concern BUT the Center is well worth the visit. The Refuge was started when it was talked about that the area would be an AIRPORT back in the late 50's. Interesting start for a Refuge. The Raptor center is a must stop at the Refuge along with the one trail we took, "Wildlife Observation Center" - a boardwalk trail. Lots of chipmunks and birds during our walk. Will be back!
Written July 10, 2017
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

ValerieG37
Phoenix, AZ37 contributions
Couples
My husband and I were vacationing nearby and heard about the refuge so we decided to check it out on a rather cool and dreary day.
The refuge is approx. 7800 acres, has 244 species of birds, otters, deer, raccoons, red fox, beaver and numerous varieties of reptiles and amphibians.
The day we went was cold so we didn't see many cold blooded creatures but lots of birds. Many of the trails are on raised boardwalks.
This refuge is a true gem less than an hour from Newark airport and 26 miles from Time Square.
The refuge is open sunrise to sunset. FYI pets aren't allowed on the trails.
Written April 29, 2015
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

duck8to
Montville, NJ6,787 contributions
Solo
Start your day at the Helen C. Fenske Visitor's Center. There are plenty of exhibits to look at with trail maps, history, native fauna and flora displays and a gift shop. There is also a 1/8 mile guided Nature Detective Trial with11 stops to educate children about the Great Swamp The staff is eager to help you with your visit. It's open Thurs/Fri 12-4, Sat/Sun 10-4. There are no regularly scheduled tours but there are 8 miles of trials, 3 wildlife observation blinds and 1 wildlife overlook. Some of the trials have a wooden boardwalk. .Nature photography is encouraged and there are opportunities to see reptiles, frogs, snakes, 244 species of birds, deer, muskrat and wildflowers especially at dawn and dusk. I live relatively close to the swamp and migratory season is a primetime to visit. I suggest you visit the Raptor Trust. It is a care facility for injured raptors and one of the outstanding centers for that purpose in the US. It's free but a $2 donation is appreciated. There are 70 exterior cages for birds that can not be returned to the wild. Each cage has an education display explaining the bird. After your day there are plenty of dining options in Basking Ridge. It's a great way to learn and enjoy the Great Swamp habitat.
Written September 13, 2014
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Thomas S
Bronx, NY328 contributions
Couples
We had been trying to go for many years and could never get family and friends together . Finally my wife and I went on the way back from Pa . We thought it would be full of mosquitoes but we were wrong . We have been to other swamps and they were as big as vultures and just as blood thirsty . This park has so many different trails and you don't see anyone on them . Plenty of parking and clean modern indoor bathrooms in the center . Very easy hiking with very flat trails .
Written August 8, 2013
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Sandi B
Elizabethtown, PA577 contributions
Friends
This is a wonderful wildlife refuge with raised walkways and many paths. They have a new visitor's center. Pets are allowed only on some trails so check their maps before you take your pet. Because this is a refuge, you may go off the trails or pick/take any plants.
Written September 28, 2015
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Elaine F
Bridgewater, NJ3,740 contributions
Couples
Hadn't been to the Great Swamp and its educational center for years...went often when the kids were young and took all sorts of nature classes....but this time we went to see the maple sugaring demonstrations they are having on Saturdays and Sundays through this maple sugar season. After a 10 minute or so walk through the woods on the marked trail, we all met at the Sugar Shack in the middle of the Sugar Bush (grove of maple trees) and had a 60 minute demonstration on the history and practices of maple sugaring. Adults and kids both enjoyed Maria's enthusiastic and educational lessons.
While there and waiting to walk to the Shack, we looked around at the all the brochures, etc., and they have so many different and educational programs. Early morning is recommended for your solo walks on the many trails, etc. that are open to the public. Check them out online and see all they have to offer. Did I mention that we met a red fox on our walk to the Shack and saw two different kinds of woodpeckers, so that was our extra treat! And it's free!!!!
Written February 10, 2012
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

JAMES E
5 contributions
I went looking for something different from State Line Lookout other then birds and saw 3 very small frogs that someone else had to point out otherwise I would not have seen them, I will not return.
Written November 6, 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

MitchPhyllis65
Morristown, NJ6,011 contributions
Today was a beautiful fall day so my wife and I decided to go for a walk at the Wildlife Observation Center in the Great Swamp National Wildlife Refuge off Long Hill Road. We’ve been here many times before, but today was special; we got to see the new C.S Robbins Observation Platform that overlooks a wide area of the swamp. This wonderful raised platform provides an opportunity to observe or take pictures of an area of the swamp you really couldn’t see much of before. We will definitely be back in the winter and spring to view the different seasons of the swamp from the platform.
Written October 23, 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

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