The pandemic has brought a lot more people outside and onto the trails. With that in mind, my hiking partner and I have sought out the roads less traveled to find the solitude the woods are so good at providing. We discovered Miquin Woods Preserve, a little jewel in the Hunterdon County Park System.
Miquin Woods originated as a Boy Scout Camp in 1928. In 2003 the land officially was designated a county park. The Boy Scouts built several structures for the camp which now still sit on the 302-acre property along with the ruins of an 1850 stone farmhouse. The name “miquin” means feather in the language of the Lenni Lenape, a tribute to the heritage of this diverse park.
We began our hike at the trailhead and followed the red trail through the woods and soon came upon the first remnants of the Boy Scouts, a small structure of wood and stone. Continuing along the path we crossed a creek that is actually a tributary to the Spruce Run Reservoir. Once across the creek we came upon the old stone farmhouse. This gorgeous stone house is definitely worth the trip.
Looking for more abandoned places to shoot? Check out our guide.
Continuing along the trail we came to the real gem of this park — a large lily covered pond featuring an active beaver dam. Although we weren’t lucky enough to see the residents, evidence of their work was everywhere in the freshly downed tree stumps. The lily pond that houses the lodge would make Monet proud.
The highlight of our hike was encountering a young black vulture in the tall grasses around the pond. The stone farmhouse was probably where his family roosts. He was kind enough to pose for me before we headed back on the trail.
For more on photographing wildlife in New Jersey, check out our guide.
You can practice mushroom photography here as well — yes, you heard that right! Miquin Woods is wet enough that several varieties, from turkey tail to chicken of the woods, were in abundance on our 3-mile loop. If you’re looking for a place to get away from people and get into nature, Miquin Woods will not disappoint.
For more Hunterdon County adventures, check out our guide.