<<<Hikes in NJ - Trails Less Taken
njHiking.com - Hiking in NJ and Beyond
Turkey Swamp County Park – Metedeconk To Manasquan Loop
Freehold, NJ - Monmouth County
Summary: Small park with a nice mix of pine trees and deciduous forest, the Manasquan River, a lake, and a swamp area.
Trail surface: Trail surface is easy, dirt and some roots, and mostly level; moderate only due to length.
- This route: 8.0 miles. We had to piece together all the trails to get this long a loop.
- Shorter: 6.5 miles. Cut off the Blueberry Path loop (noted in the directions below)
- Short: Lots of opportunities for short hikes in this park (distances noted on the park map)
Map: There were printed maps in the trail kiosks, or print out the Turkey Swamp Trail map ahead.
Note: in Monmouth County parks, trail difficulty is noted by shapes and colors and and those aren't necessarily trail blazes. So on the map the trail may be blue or green but the actual blaze can be different, ie Blueberry Path is blue on the map yet is blazed with yellow metal squares.
Books: Haven't spotted this park in any of the books we have.
Parking: N40 10.966 W74 18.822
[Nomoco Road trail head parking, a small dirt lot by a maintenance building. In season, the road just past this may not be gated you can pull into the Nomoco Activity area lot, which would change the directions below slightly]
or N40 11.820 W74 18.207
[Main Georgia Rd. lot; a better starting spot for short loops]
From the park's website:
State Hwy. 9 to route 524 west. Follow 524 west to Georgia Rd., turn left and follow Georgia Rd. 1.7 miles to main entrance.
The Nomoco Activity Area is located 1.5 miles past the main park entrance. Continue south on Georgia Rd. to Nomoco Rd.; turn right and follow signs to Activity Area.
From further away, see directions on the Turkey Swamp Park page.
Rest rooms: None at the Nomoco parking where this long loop starts. Restrooms are located in the main parking area of the park, and in season should be located in the Nomoco Activity area as well.
Hike Directions: Overview: Metedeconk Trail (BLUE) - Blueberry Path (YELLOW) – Metedeconk Trail (BLUE) – Link Trail (RED) – Old Lenape Trail – Manasquan Trail – Alder Trail – Metedeconk Trail (BLUE)
The trails are mostly well marked… but can be confusing because of the blazing system used. At intersections are posts indicating directions but there were a few questionable instances where markings just were not there. The park is not large however, so there is usually a park road or another trail sign nearby.
0.0 - Starting at the small parking area along Nomoco Rd by a maintenance building, walk behind the building and across the field.
500 ft - Sign indicating Nomoco Area to the RIGHT, and the Metedeconk Trail to the left. Turn RIGHT.
[unless you'd like to cut the Blueberry Path loop off your hike for a reduction of about 1.5 miles overall... then turn LEFT at this sign instead... you aren't missing much if you do]
0.2 - Following BLUE markers, come out of the woods. BLUE goes to the LEFT, now following the dirt road into the main Nomoco area. Veer to the RIGHT where the road splits ahead.
0.4 - After a building and near a triangular structure, watch on the RIGHT for a small "SWEETGUM" sign, YELLOW blaze, and just beyond that is a post with "Blueberry Path". Re-enter the woods here, on the Blueberry Path, now following the YELLOW.
The Blueberry Path loops around on an easy trail, passing some campground buildings and returning to the dirt road. Follow the dirt road back to the sign from earlier.
1.5 - Now back at the sign for the Metedeconk Trail, go straight.
1.6 - Cross Nomoco Rd.
2.3 - The Metedeconk Trail ends at a T with a dirt road. There is a post with "Trail head", a blue square, and an arrow pointing straight, but the only direction to go here is left or right.
Turn LEFT onto the dirt road, which is the Link Trail. Don't recall seeing any markings.
2.4 - Turn LEFT onto a wide woods road. [the road also goes right, into a field]. No markings.
2.5 - Turn RIGHT onto the Link Trail. It's marked with RED but may not be right away.
2.8 - Link Trail ends at T with Old Lenape. Turn LEFT onto Old Lenape.
3.1 - Continue straight, now following the Manasquan Trail. [Old Lenape goes right and leads to the main parking and trail network, allowing to cut this hike much shorter] There is an archery range nearby, we heard shooting on the day we hiked this.
4.2 - Arrive at the Manasquan River. There is a bench here. Continue following the Manasquan as it will turn back and start heading back towards the main parking area.
5.9 - Cross park road.
6.0 - Manasquan Trail ends at a T with Alder Trail. Turn LEFT and head towards the lake. [right leads to the main parking area]
Take Alder Trail as it follows the tree line as it heads around the lake (might not be well marked, and in general we found the next areas confusing). There are some benches around the lake.
6.4 - Sign post for Alder Trail. Turn LEFT. [there is a structure off to the left, and straight ahead is a ORANGE blaze on a tree]
6.7 - Alder Trail ends at a T with the Fitness Trail, at a field. Turn LEFT and follow the Fitness trail as it hugs the edge of the field. [right heads toward the lake]
7.0 - Arrive back at the dirt road from earlier. Turn LEFT.
7.1 - Turn RIGHT onto the Metedeconk Trail and retrace your route back to the parking area.
Hiked: 3/5/11. Trail Blog: "Turkey Swamp County Park – Metedeconk To Manasquan Loop"