(5.1 miles) I had decided that today would be a good day to go somewhere hiking since the weather was finally perfect. I chose to go to the Edwin B Forsythe NWR since it is about 15 mins. from my house. I think it is still a little early for migratory birds, as I did not see many at all. I set out on the 5.1 mile hike by leaving the parking area and heading on the path through the picnic area. After turning on to the woods road, I noticed that some trees are starting to change, but still rather early in South Jersey for any real color. After 0.7 miles on Wildlife Drive, I made a left onto the Songbird Trail (Blue blazes) which would be my path for the next 2.2 miles. The Songbird Trail has just been re-blazed and it is literally impossible to get lost on it, except when crossing the open fields where the blazes are farther apart. Every time I have hiked this trail, there is always anabundance of white-tailed deer, and today was no different. Unfortunately, their feet were faster than my camera hand today. In the 2.2 miles on the trail, I probably saw close to a dozen deer, which isn't bad for midday. The trail has several cutoffs (yellow, pink and white blazes) which shortens the hike if one wishes. You pass through a couple fields where they are re-growing the forest (warning: the open fields you pass through have high grass, and ticks are ABUNDANT!!). The songbird trail ends at Wildlife Drive, which is a dirt road that runs the entire length of the refuge. Turn right on the road, and in 1.5 miles you will be back to the trailhead, and another 0.7 miles will return you to your car. The road back passes and experimental pool if you wish to take a little side trip... not quite sure what they are experimenting though. You also get some nice looks across the marshes from the road and even Atlantic City in the distance. This is an easy hike with only minor ups and downs. The dirt road on the return can be very muddy and soft after a good rain, so if you go , plan wisely.
0.0- leave parking lot on path thru picnic area, where path turns left continue straight down the stairs and turn left on woods road. At end of woods road, turn right on Wildlife Drive (watch for cars) and follow for about 1/2 mile.
0.7- make left onto Songbird Trail (blue blazes), this will be your path for next 2.2 miles. Pay particular attention when crossing open fields, as blazes disappear until you re-enter woods (especially first field).Yellow, pink and white trails will appear if you wish to shorten hike.
2.9- end of songbird trail, make a right onto Wildlife Dr. and follow back towards the parking lot. enjoy some of the views overlooking the marsh areas. This is also a good area to see migratory birds in the late fall.
5.1- back at parking lot.