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HT NJ 7: Voorhees State Park to Spruce Run Recreation Area
ALERT: The Highlands Trail has been re-routed through Spruce Run Recreation Area. See "New Route" alert in the text below. Map of the new route. (proposed new route is in blue).
Length: 5.1 miles Updated 8/5/15 Note: Actual length may be slightly longer than 5.1 miles due to the new Spruce Run reroute. Length soon to be updated.
Enter Voorhees State Park on the main entrance road from Route 513, opposite Voorhees High School. There is parking here. At 0.5 mile turn left off the road and cross a wooden bridge, reaching the Brookside Trail after about 250 feet. Jog right slightly, then continue, crossing stone walls and winding through black raspberry patches. At 1.5 miles, turn right and continue under a power line for about 250 feet, then turn left and re-enter the woods. (Note: it is difficult to position blazes in the cleared area under the power line, so look carefully for the turns.) Continue to Observatory Road, where there is parking, at 1.7 miles.
Turn left onto Observatory Road for about 100 feet, then make a right onto the co-aligned Vista and Highlands Trails. After another 0.2 mile, the Highlands Trail turns right, while the pink blazed Vista Trail continues straight. Continue downhill to Poplar Lane at 2.0 miles, turn right, and reach Buffalo Hollow Road at 2.3 miles. Make a sharp left onto Buffalo Hollow Road and follow it out to NJ 31 at 2.8 miles. Turn left and proceed about 0.2 miles to the traffic light at the junction with Van Syckel's Road. Turn right across route 31, and follow Van Syckel's Road about 0.1 mile to the entrance of Union Furnace Preserve , 3.1 miles from route 513.
Turn right into Union Furnace, then left. Ascend the embankment of an old mill race and go right along the top of the embankment for about a tenth of a mile. Turn left and cross the bottom of the mill race. Proceed up the hill, then descend to emerge on a cul-de-sac called Serpentine Drive at 3.9 miles. Follow Serpentine Drive 0.3 miles down to Van Syckel's Road. There are no utility poles and therefore no blazes on this road walk.
At Van Syckel's Road, turn left, then bear right into a parking area. Proceed to the water and make a sharp right into Spruce Run Recreation Area. Here you will traverse meadows, a pine plantation, and dense autumn olive thickets. Cross a paved road near the boat launch area at 4.7 miles, then emerge onto the same road near the group picnic area, 5.1 miles from route 513.
ALERT 7/8/15: The HT has been rerouted through Spruce Run Recreation Area
At Van Syckel's Road, turn left, then bear right into a parking area. Proceed to the water and make a sharp right into Spruce Run Recreation Area. Here, the trail has been moved back from the weedy area near the water to pass through a maple forest before re-joining the original route. Traverse a meadow and come into to a pine plantation. The old HT route continues straight, but may not be maintained beyond this point. Turn right and follow the new trail, which stays in the pine plantation and eventually comes out to the boat launch road.
Turn right onto the boat launch road, pass the old HT trail head on your left and turn left towards the group picnic area. From here, the HT follows a series of roads and paved paths (see the MAP ) as it tours the park facilities. Although the road is blazed, there is ample opportunity to walk away from and parallel to the road along the water's edge on cut grass. The trail passes right through the public beach/food stand area and eventually comes out to the Spruce Run headquarters.
Campground facilities are available at Spruce Run Recreation Area from April to October.