Easy trails plus a playground and picnic area makes this a great destination for families.
3.8 miles. Mostly flat, easy, packed sand and pine needles.
- Shorter: 1.6 miles: use RED to shorten this route, marked in the directions below. Or use one of the many other woods roads on the map to create shorter loops.
- Short: 1.3 – Tindey (BLUE) to Interpretive (GREEN) and return the same way on BLUE
- Longer: 4.9 miles: add the Swamp Trail spur and Interpretive loop. See “Jakes Branch – Tindey, Swamp, and Interpretive Trails“
Our two cents:
Easy intro to the Pine Barrens with plenty of bail-out options to shorten the loop.
Be sure to check out the displays in the visitor center and head to the top for a panorama over the pine barrens.
There is a new short “Play” trail that has playground equipment in stations along the trail – nifty idea.
The park is easily accessed from the Garden State Parkway – but it’s close proximity also means road noise along most of the trail.
Updated 1/2018 – rehiked (snowshoe); minor description tweaks to reflect new PURPLE Play trail; updated map link, GPX, and Interactive Map. 3/24/14 – rehiked, updated GPX added.
Get a map at the visitor center or at the trail kiosk, or print out the trail map ahead. Not mentioned in any hiking books we have.
Parking: N39 55.755 W74 12.842
Garden State Parkway South: Exit 80 to Rt 9 South. Keep left at the fork, then turn left onto Double Trouble Rd. – there is a sign for the park. Park entrance is down the road a bit, on the right.
Inside the visitor center. (They are accessed by an outside entrance so it’s possible the restrooms could be available when the park opens at 7 am, before the center is open).
Check out the super swanky visitor center with an ADA accessible observation deck that’s 5-stories up for outstanding views of the Pine Barrens and of the park below.
Bonus: the hanger the Hindenburg was kept in is viewable in the distance.
Pond near the visitor center:
Overview: BLUE (Tindey) for this entire route.
0.0 – Trail starts near the big sign at the edge of the parking lot, on the right of the visitor center. A few steps in, veer right on BLUE (Tindey) [BLUE also goes left].
1.0 – Pass RED (Spruce St.) on the left. [Shorter Option: Turn left and use this trail to shorten the hike to about 1.6 miles roundtrip.]
Several woods roads cross over the trail. Trees become shorter with evidence of fire damage, and the area is more open.
2.7 – Pass WHITE (Swamp Spur) on the right. [Optional: Take this out and back for an additional .4 miles]
Pass intersections with the PURPLE trail and playground equipment.
3.5 – Pass GREEN (Interpretive Trail) on the left. [Optional: This loop adds .7 miles].
Shortly after pass RED (Spruce St.) on the left. Continue on BLUE (Tindey) as it winds around the back of the visitor center and ends up back at the trail sign.
Hiked: 1/7/18. Snowshoe. Trail Blog: “Snowshoeing at Jakes Branch“
Hiked: 3/23/14. Trail Blog: “Jakes Branch – Tindey, Swamp, and Interpretive Trails“
Hiked: 2/13/11. Trail Blog: “Jakes Branch – Pine Barrens Panoramic View“