Double Trouble State Park
GOOD FOR: Ages 5-8

Source:Outdoors with Kids New York City (AMC Books)
Address:581 Pinewald Keswick Road, Bayville, NJ
Hours:8 A.M. to dusk daily
Fee: Free
Bathrooms: Interpretive center
Water/Snacks: None

USGS Brookville, Forked River, Keswick Grove, and Toms River

Double Trouble State Park introduces visitors to the New Jersey Pine Barrens and the region’s ecological history.

Double Trouble State Park
Photo by: Cheryl and William de Jong-Lambert

Double Trouble State Park, situated within the eastern edge of the Pine Barrens, is part of a historic district encompassing more than 200 acres. Double Trouble Village dates to the 1860s, when it was developed as a company town for seasonal workers helping with the cranberry harvest. The town is named for this company, though the origin of the company name itself is up for debate. The town’s preserved buildings—dormitories, a one-room school, a saw mill, and a general store among them—are just beyond the entrance to the park. Guided tours of Double Trouble Village can be arranged ahead of time.

The area’s natural environment—a cedar-pine forest with a rapidly flowing stream—made it an ideal place for the lumber industry. The cutting of the forest from the eigtheenth to the twentieth centuries opened up swampland, creating a bog that proved perfect for growing cranberries. Double Trouble Village was purchased by the state of New Jersey in 1964 to protect the Cedar Creek watershed.

A 1.5-mile nature trail loop punctuated with informational signs begins behind the packing house, taking walkers around bogs. Lower Hooper Bog is the farthest afield, and beyond that lies another 2.25-mile hike that takes visitors deeper into the pine forest, looping around two more bogs after crossing over Cedar Creek to the south. This trail eventually loops back up to Lower Hooper.

Much of Double Trouble consists of miles of unmarked sandy trails that also serve as service roads, which are very much worth exploring on followup trips. Young mountain bikers will enjoy the sandy roads. Remember: The sandy paths in the park are unsuitable for strollers. Canoes and kayaks are not available to rent on Cedar Creek, but boaters can drive through the village to a launch point. Tubing, rafting, and swimming are prohibited. No picnic tables are in the park, but there are benches, and several other nice spots for picnicking.

Plan B:

Island Beach State Park (Trip 96) and Allaire State Park (Trip 97) are both relatively close by. The latter offers forested trails, and the former provides scenic walks along the coast.

Where to Eat Nearby:

Remember to pack a picnic, as no shops or restaurants are nearby.


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