New Jersey Hiking, Nature April 18, 2022
Follow This Abandoned Railroad Trail For One Of The Most Unique Hikes In New Jersey
Some of the coolest trails in New Jersey are also the least-known. One hidden rail trail in Mount Holly, the county seat of Burlington County, is almost always empty and a beautiful, shady spot to get your steps in.
The Creek Island Park Rail Trail starts off of Pine Street, which is a short walk from downtown Mount Holly. You can find street parking along Pine Street, or park in the lot for Mill Iron Park, which is less than a block from the trailhead.
If you walk from Downtown, you'll pass interesting landmarks like the country's oldest continually operating fire station.
The entrance to this Mt. Holly Rail Trail can be a little hard to find. Look for St.Andrew's Graveyard on Pine Street - the trailhead is just past the gate.
The .75-mile trail follows an old, abandoned rail line.
This stretch of the old Burlington & Mt. Holly Railroad was built in the 1830s and decommissioned in the 1920s.
It's a flat, easy trail. Though it's not regularly maintained, it's tamped down enough that you'll find it easy to pass at almost any time of year.
It can get a bit muddy if there has been a lot of rain, or if the creek is particularly high.
There is evidence of the rail line just about everywhere you look. Railroad ties are scattered about, there's an elevated platform, old Line Poles that held up insulators and helped to power the trail, and two creek-crossing railroad bridges.
You can see the old line poles on the right side of this photo.
You'll also see a good amount of graffiti on the bridges and abandoned structures. Some of this art is absolutely beautiful, but we'd like to remind our readers to leave no trace of their visit and leave this trail the way it was found.
This is a very low-traffic trail, but recently, some conservationists have been working to clean up the litter that can be found on the sides of the creek that follows the trail.
The North Branch of the Rancocas will keep you company as you walk. The two rail bridges cross this creek, bringing you onto and off of the aptly named Creek Island itself.
The creek views along the short walk are beautiful, and you'll see a lot of wildlife. There are foxes, deer, possums, raccoons, and plenty of other critters who call this quiet park home.
Speaking of critters, this is a great trail for your dog! Just be sure to keep them on leash, and to watch that they don't accidentally chomp on the occasional litter that ends up on the side of the trail.
When you come out of the other side of this one-way trail, you'll be right next to Train Wreck Distillery. A perfect excuse to stop for a drink before heading back to the car!
The trail lets out on Madison Avenue. If you're walking through in the morning, there's a fantastic bagel shop (Bagel Stop) on the corner of Madison and Washington Street, and a great diner on Washington Street (Kitchen 87).
You can return the way you came, or take a long walk through Downtown Mount Holly to get back to your car. The town itself has fun shops, restaurants, a brewery, and a bakery, so it’s definitely worth the day trip!
Address: Creek Island Park, Mt Holly, NJ 08060, USA