Belleplain State Forest

14Hike in southern New Jersey’s Pine Barrens from Lake Nummy, past East Creek Pond, and through stands of Atlantic white cedar.

Trail surface: Easy, flat, packed sand trails. Negligible elevation changes. There are several long boardwalks over wet areas, but also a few deep wet areas without them that were tricky to cross. Half-way through the hike, you must walk along the shoulder of busy Rt. 347 for about .4 mile or so.

  • This route: 7.2 miles (East Creek Trail).
  • Shorter: There are several trails around Lake Nummy, all under 1-mile: Nature Trail (.89m), Meisle (.61m), North Shore Trail (.72m), Goosekill Trail (.28m)
  • Longer: Add an out-and-back to Pickle Factory Pond on the Ponds Trail for an extra 2.2 miles.
  • Longer: Start at the Forest Office and use one of the trails around Lake Nummy to extend the route.

Our 2-cents: This trail is rated “strenuous due to length” in Hiking New Jersey – but the trail surface is easy, so if you average 5 or 6 miles in rugged north Jersey, you probably could swing the 7.2 here. (just our opinion, your results may vary!!)

Map: Pick up a park map at the Forest Office. The interpretive center at Lake Nummy was not open, but they may have maps in season. You can also print out our scan of the Belleplain Trail Map.

Notes: on Trail Map 1, the boat launch on East Creek Pond is also a small hiker lot (the map doesn’t show it as parking). A photo of the older Trail Map 2 lists mileages of all park trails and shows some other motorized trails [map from Gone Hikin’]. Trail Map 3 is of the campground area which shows a detail of the shorter trails around Lake Nummy.

**There is a fee from Memorial to Labor Day. Check our NJ State Park Pass page for more info. This hike passes a small lot that is no charge, and you could start there instead.

**Ticks can be insane in the Pine Barrens in summer… be sure to take precautions from ticks or visit in winter like we prefer to!

**This is a Bald Eagle nesting area so the trail can sometimes be closed any time between January 15 – August 1.

Books: This route with detailed instructions and a trail map can be found in Hiking New Jersey. The park is briefly mentioned in the The New Jersey Walk Book.


  • Lake Nummy trailhead parking area: N39 14.702 W74 51.468 has room for about 5-6 cars. Around the lake is another lot, where the other end of the trail can be picked up and the route done the other way.
  • East Creek Pond parking area: N39 13.408 W74 53.199 has room for a few cars.
  • There is also a parking area at Pickle Factory Pond.

To the Forest Office:

  • From the Garden State Parkway: exit 17 southbound to Routes 9 and 550 or exit 13 northbound. Follow the highway signs to the forest.
  • From Rt. 55 South: Take 55 South until it ends and becomes Route 47. Bear left onto Route 347 when it splits and Route 47 is to the Right. Continue along Route 347 for 5.5 miles and turn Left onto CR 550/Spur/Hands Mill Rd. (This turn is around a bend, just after you pass Hands Mill Pond.) Follow CR 550/Spur/Hands Mill Rd. for 3.25 miles to a Stop sign, and turn Left. Turn Right at the blinking light, and the entrance is located approximately 2 miles ahead on the Right. The office is immediately to your Right upon entering.

***Google may direct you to use interior park roads that could be gated.

Restrooms: Inside the Forest Office. The interpretive center at the Lake Nummy parking area was closed when we visited – so potentially there are bathrooms in there in season. There were buildings on the other side of Lake Nummy that were likely bathrooms open in season. None at the East Creek parking area.

Hike Directions: This route starts from the Lake Nummy parking area and follows the WHITE markers of the East Creek Trail the entire way. There are unmarked trails that are passed, but the WHITE trail itself is pretty well-marked and easy to follow.

0.0 – The trailhead wasn’t real obvious from the parking spots. When facing the interpretive center with your back to the water, head to the right down the road. In just a bit, turn LEFT at the sign for “recycling/trash” and you’ll see the East Creek trailhead sign.

1.0 – cross paved Sunset Road

3.0 – Arrive at Rt. 347. Turn RIGHT and walk north, along the grassy shoulder. Pass the driveway for East Creek Cabin, and then East Creek Pond.

3.4 – Arrive at East Creek Pond parking/boat launch. Turn RIGHT to re-enter the forest at the interpretive signs and continue on the trail. [Across Rt. 347 is the trailhead for Ponds Trail]

3.5 – The trail comes to the edge of the pond for a nice view of the pond.

4.5 – Cross Tom Field Road

5.2 – this area was so wet that we went out to the dirt road near the trail, walked past the wet area, and then got back on the trail. There was a bit of a trail worn in the brush from others doing the same.

5.4 – Cross paved Sunset Road

5.8 – Cross dirt road

5.9 – Cross dirt road

6.3 – Cross road

7.0 – Turn RIGHT on the park road, towards Lake Nummy, the Interpretive Center and the parking lot.
Hiked: 12/11/11. Trail Blog: “Belleplain State Forest – East Creek Trail