Abbott Marshlands (Hamilton- Trenton-Bordentown Marsh)
GOOD FOR: All Ages

Source:Outdoors with Kids Philadelphia (AMC Books)
Address:18 West Park Street, Bordentown Township, NJ
Hours:6 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily, April through October; 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily, November through March
Fee: Free
Bathrooms: Seasonal portable toilets at the train station
Water/Snacks: None

Walk, bike, or paddle through a tidal marsh along the Delaware River.

Abbott Marshlands (Hamilton-Trenton-Bordentown Marsh)
Photo by: Susan Charkes

The Abbott Marshlands comprise a remarkable natural area—a 1,250-acre freshwater tidal marsh that is a haven for wildlife, an enormously varied community of plants, and a green recreational oasis in a densely populated urban area. Linking Watson’s Creek to Crosswicks Creek, where the latter empties into the Delaware River, it encompasses marshland, islands, bluffs, the D&R Canal, and the river. In addition to Bordentown Beach, additional access points to the marsh include Roebling Park-Spring Lake and Roebling Park-Watson’s Woods, in Hamilton Township, and the D&R Canal Towpath Lock 1, which connects to a trail in Bordentown City.

The trails near Bordentown Beach are easy and entertaining for kids, combining history with nature. A fun walk leads along a suspended bridge over the canal to the D&R Canal towpath trail, which affords magnificent views along the river. You’ll also see the remains of Lock 1. Interpretive signage explains the industrial history of the area. Along the tree-shaded towpath trail, kids will enjoy crossing over canal bridges and taking short paths to the banks.

Paddling the creek and inlets is an awesome way to get to know the marsh, but you have to go with the tidal flow. Ride in two hours before high tide, follow Crosswicks Creek or Watson’s Creek, and turn around when the tide turns. You’ll be rewarded with easy “always-downstream” paddling suitable for the whole family that provides an interesting perspective on the rich community of unusual marsh plants and wildlife. (Note: Exercise caution at the railroad trestle at the Crosswicks Creek entrance, and stay to the right with the incoming tide.) Check the website for tide tables. Boat launches are at Bordentown Beach and Watson Woods, and in Trenton.

The Friends for the Marsh and the Sierra Club conduct numerous programs, including guided walks and paddles, and family-oriented tours. Check the Friends website for details.

Remember: A new interpretive center is planned for Roebling Park, opening by summer 2013. The existing Mercer County nature center is open only for programs and events.

Plan B:

Hike or bike on the 70-mile D&R Canal towpath, which continues north of the marsh, past Trenton and up to Milford.

Where to Eat Nearby:

In Bordentown, you’ll find many options for food.


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