Historic Smithville Park
GOOD FOR: All Ages

Source:Outdoors with Kids Philadelphia (AMC Books)
Address:Meade Lane, Easthampton, NJ
Hours:Park grounds open 8 a.m. to dusk daily; mansion grounds open 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily
Fee: Free (donations accepted)
Bathrooms: At the visitor center, by the Manor House, and at the Smith’s Woods parking lot
Water/Snacks: Water fountain at Manor House and Smith’s Woods parking lot

co.burlington.nj.us (click on Visit Us, then Parks, then Historic Smithville)

On the grounds of a nineteenth-century bicycle works, enjoy lake and woods trails while learning about local history.

Historic Smithville Park
Photo by: Susan Charkes

A nineteenth-century “model industrial town,” Historic Smithville today combines local industrial history with natural areas that are designed for children and families to explore its lake, woods, wetlands, and stream on foot or by bike.

The 312-acre county park is divided into a historical section and a natural area. The ruins of former industrial buildings, as well as the still-intact Manor House and the workers’ more modest residences, together with a small museum, offer a fascinating glimpse into a vanished era. Of special interest are museum displays of the unusual nineteenth-century bicycle railway that enabled riders to pedal a monorail between Smithville and Mount Holly.

On the historical side of the park is the 22-acre Smithville Lake. Young children will particularly enjoy looking for fish and turtles from its 600-foot floating walkway. The 0.5-mile Ravine Nature Trail, an interpretive trail for pedestrians only, starts south of the visitor center, near the Park Avenue entrance. The trail’s dense canopy includes huge old-growth trees, and there are views from a high bluff across the ravine.

In the larger portion of the park, to the east, is Smith’s Woods, a natural area developed especially for children. Well-maintained trails open to hikers and mountain bikes (and one for equestrians) explore the varied habitat of forest, meadow, and the Rancocas Creek. The longest trail is a 1.5-mile loop, and all the trails are suitable for kids. There is also a nice butterfly garden. Both the lake and Rancocas Creek are open to canoes and kayaks. The small lake, which is open only to human-powered or electric motor boats, is good for novice paddlers and is an excellent spot for young anglers.

The creek is more easily paddled upstream of Smithville, between Pemberton and Burlington County College, where it is relatively wide, slow-moving, and scenic, making for a good family paddling excursion. (For more information on the entire 14-mile Rancocas Creek Canoe Trail, see Burlington County’s website.)

In Smith’s Woods is a large and well-maintained picnic area and a sizable playground for young children.

Remember: Dogs must be leashed.

Plan B:

Go east on NJ 72 for hiking at Pakim Pond or head west 5 miles on Rancocas Road to Rancocas Nature Center.

Where to Eat Nearby:

Bring a picnic to enjoy at the picnic groves.


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