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Cattus Island County Park (Tom's River, NJ) - 02/28/2010

When I checked the snow depth maps it looked like there should be 1 inch of snow along the shore where the rest of the state was buried in snow. Sure enough, I found there to be no snow to 1 inch and rarely maybe 3 inches deep for very short distances at Cattus Island County Park. There has been a lot of melting but there is a great network of boardwalks and trails raised with wood chips so for the most part your feet stay dry. There were about 3 sections of the yellow trail where the boardwalk was under water and I had no choice but to plod through. The scenery made it worth getting my feet wet. This park has a little bit of everything: Beach, pine forests and wetlands.

Click here for the trail map. This is the same map which is available at the Cooper Environmental Center which is open from 8 - 4:30 every day and has a nice indoor restroom. The parking lot is huge. I did all of the trails (blue, red, orange, yellow) along with the unpaved road out to the far point of the beach for a total of 8.5 miles. The trails are very well marked. Other than the beginning, the orange trail is unmarked but it is so easy to follow markings are not necessary. This park is pretty popular but you will see most of the people on the unpaved road. I ran into one jogger while on the trails. Because the red and yellow trails are closer to the roads, there is traffic noise, which is really a shame because the scenery is beautiful. No traffic noise on the blue and orange trails, just birds singing.

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