If you are a birder or weekend warrior, chances are you’ve spent a lot of time in the wildlife refuges most familiar in the Garden State: Great Swamp National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) and Edwin B. Forsythe NWR, also known as Brigantine or “Brig” in the birding community.
This summer, you may want to explore Wallkill River NWR in Sussex, New Jersey.
The Walkill River NWR boasts four walking trails, including two miles of the Appalachian Trail.
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Birding is definitely my church. Today I visited Wallkill River NWF for the first time and got to hang out among the swallows, goldfinches and butterflies for the day. I saw or heard over 30 species including indigo bunting, a juvenile Canada warbler (I think), green heron, and cedar waxwing. Today is one of those days that makes you feel lucky to be alive! The Refuge was beautiful; I highly recommend the North Loop and Wood Ducks trails. 🌻🌿🌸🌞🐛🐢🦆🐸
Hiking the North Loop trail, located on the Dagmar Dale Nature Trail, is so peaceful; you’ll have the woods all to yourself! The forest envelops you and then a vast field unfolds before you.
With the barn and tree swallows as your guides, you can follow the trail as it winds up and around with beautiful views of the Wallkill Valley and Kittatinny mountains. Indigo Buntings will flint between the trees as you watch butterflies and dragonflies claim flowers. The North Loop trail is recommended for any birders, nature lovers, photographers or casual adventurers.
The NWR is so special, you may decide to hike another section along the Wood Duck Trail. The wetlands and wet meadows gave a different perspective to the Refuge and offered new birds for the day including Great Blue Herons, Green Herons, and Great Egrets.
Have you visited Wallkill River? What is your favorite trail? What was your favorite bird seen in the Refuge? Let us know in the comments.
See more hiking spots on our hiking map.