Great Swamp National Wildlife Refuge

Looking for information about this place which I just heard about. I read there are boardwalks and flat paths there which is something we need ...... any info / feedback would be appreciated. Thank-you!

happiest girl
May '19

Been there many times. But only for the great Mexican coming out of Meyersville. Original spot for the one in High Bridge! Be sure to hit it while you are there.

StrangerDanger StrangerDanger
May '19

Yes there are walks and trails at the refuge. A lot of birding people go there a lot for the variety. There is a good observation point but it can be busy.

The area is basically a swamp, so boardwalks and paths on higher ground. I have not been there for a while but have bicycled the area when young and motorcycled through there many times. A bit of trivia, it was the PANYNJ first choice for the next regional airport which luckily became Newark, having such an airport in the Great Swamp would have destroyed the area.

It's Casa Maya..... Same owners as High Bridge version.

Are you just looking swamp, or looking for great trails? Because there's some hidden gems closer in. Mountains, meadows, and bogs.....

strangerdanger strangerdanger
May '19

strangerdanger ...... looking for level paths that would be easy to walk on for someone who finds rocky paths troublesome. I was surprised to see the boardwalks on Great Swamp's website. Don't know if any other places have them.

happiest girl
May '19

Part of the Appalachian Trail in Vernon has a boardwalk also.

whocares whocares
May '19

Great Swamp has some boardwalks and some pretty easy trails

4catmom 4catmom
May '19

Bogs and boardwalks are made for each other! Problem is ---- they are bogs :>( Growing up next to a swamp, I prefer a drier clime.....

In Morris County there's some meadow trails that may be flat and smooth enough for you. Not 100% sure so seek confirmation. My family has gone, but I did not. They said it's like flat dirt roads, meadows and woodlands, pretty low traffic so nice. Quintessential meadowlands. It's called Schiff Natural Lands Trust/ Schiff Nature Preserve, website is There's a trail flick on the site.

The other one I have not tried, but will this year is the canal path on the Delaware starting at Frenchtown: Obviously gravely but you can have boardwalk (bridges!), flat, and two states! Except for the bridges and lock --- canals define flat. Road the distance of the C&O once, three states and the District since we detoured into Harper's Ferry by riding over the Potomac, no bridge...summer, low river, stupid, almost lost one bike.... but very flat :>) Check the maps/distances for the five loops. And yes, CBGB, there may be restaurants in the area :>)


strangerdanger strangerdanger
May 26th

The Wildlife Observation Center is the area with the board walks, I highly recommend the Great Swamp! Be sure to stop in at the Visitors Center as well, the Friends are very knowledgeable about the refuge and can give you any other tips on best places to walk/visit that suit your needs.

beeznuts beeznuts
May 26th

I don't think they have it this weekend, but on Sundays the Meyersville Grange normally had an antique sale from 7:30 - 2. Their facebook page shows them as open, but last weekend's posting says their Season reopens at the beginning of November of this year:

If you made a left upon exiting the East side of the Park from New Vernon Road to Meyersville Road and went up that way a bit past Casa Maya, it was then on your left, as was Archie's Resale Shop. Archie was a unique character who ran an "ice skate exchange" and had deer (as pets) in a pen in front of the place. He used to drive his wagon around collecting stuff, then bring it back and stuff the old chicken pens with "rusty gold", as "The Pickers" would call it. He never sold that much and I can affirm what the article says, having bought little from him over the years I stopped by. He pretty much thought everything was gold & wanted a premium price for things that had been sitting in those coops for years and had mouse and other droppings on them, etc. Only certain more unique items were locked in display cases or chicken-wire screened doors. He was a great guy and eccentric character though, and loved to play Santa:

Straight across that intersection was Hickory Tavern Road and just after you started on it, there was an Antique Shop on your right. It was owned by a gent whose wife was on the local council, though I can't remember their name. He also was a unique character and would sit in a lawn chair behind their house on the edge of the driveway and wait for unsuspecting customers to begin to enter the barn that served as his shop. He'd press a button and a seated "Frankenstein's Monster" would suddenly rise from the chair just inside the open barn door. If you'd been there before, as my ex & I often had, you'd always pause and glance sideways towards the door when you heard newbies coming up the driveway towards the barn. Surprisingly nobody seemed offended and they all enjoyed the adrenaline rush it seemed. Since they'd already seem the Monster there, it may have seemed that the logical thing for it to do was to rise just after they passed;-)

Sadly and ironically, HE was the one who passed away of a heart attack and the business was closed. I don't think his wife had the heart, or the interest, to continue operating "his baby".

The Great Swamp seemed to foster Unique and Unusual individuals. Leo the famous MGM Lion's Grave, as well as Tarzan's original "Cheetah" are buried on a property there where the trainer, Volney Phifer lived.

Somewhere in my collection of photos and slides I've taken over the years (probably the slides, since I haven't scanned them in), there are pictures taken from the boardwalks and "blinds" built there for Nature observation. Awesome place!

Phil D. Phil D.
May 26th

I am a member of Friends of the Great Swamp and regularly staff the visitor's center and wildlife observation center. We have a website at: and you can email me if you need additional info or have questions.

Albert Albert
May 28th

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