Estell Manor Park
Directions to trailhead
Garden State Parkway South exit 44; right on Route 575; continue for almost 6 miles. Right on Black Horse Pike briefly cross through intersection then right on jug handle to Route 40 West; continue on Route 40 West for 4.9 miles. At stop light at T-intersection at Mays Landing Marina, turn left on 40 West/50 South briefly then left on Mill Street/Route 50 South for 3.7 miles to park entrance on left.
Be sure to pick up a copy of the map at the Nature Center. Trails are named on the map but intersections are not always identified with trail names. Trails are all blazed with identical white diamond metal markers on trees. If hiking during shotgun hunting season, hike on Sundays, or call the park in advance to see if trails are open, as most of this hike is not accessible on hunting days due to trail closure.
From the parking lot walk along the front of the Nature Center to a paved trail at the far side. Turn right and a short distance ahead veer right at the fork and cross over a bridge. Note the boardwalk coming in from the left fork - this will be your return route. A few steps ahead keep to the right at the next fork following along a pond on the right. You will be on the Pond Trail, a sign indicating the trail name will indicate this straight ahead at the intersection with the Laurel Trail. Pass a picnic area on the right, veer left over a bridge and then stay right beyond the bridge. In another .2 mile keep left at the split rail fence where a bridge goes to the right and archway ruins are visible ahead. A sign will indicate you are on the fitness trail. A short distance ahead turn right at the unmarked intersection which is the Center Trail. A sign shortly ahead at the intersection of the paved park will show you are heading in the direction of the observation deck on the Center Trail. Cross the paved park road watching for traffic, and continue straight to an observation deck at Stephen's Pond on the left.
Retrace your steps crossing back over the paved park road and then turn right at the next intersection to continue along the fitness trail. The Veterans Cemetery will be visible to the right through the trees. Continue following the fitness trail as it veers to the left away from the paved road. At 1.55 miles arrive at an unmarked intersection and turn right. This short trail leads to the paved park road. Cross the road, turn left briefly, then right on the Oak Barrel Tree Road trail. At 1.75 miles arrive at the unmarked intersection of Cribbers Road. A right turn would bring you to what is noted as "Native American Village" on the map in .2 miles but it is merely a clearing so if you want to skip that, turn left.
Go either way at the split .2 mile out since these two trails will merge back together. A short distance ahead on the left is Cribber's Field, a clearing with several bird blinds along the perimeter of the field.
At 2.4 miles the trail merges on to the boardwalk. Signs on the boardwalk indicate that the Artesian well, at the end of the boardwalk, is 1.4 miles ahead. Mileage is marked every tenth of a mile. Just before the end of the boardwalk, two short boardwalks on the right lead to viewing decks over the South River. These side trails are not shown on the park map.
At 3.8 miles, just before the end of the boardwalk, a sign to the left leads to the Smith Ireland Cemetery which is fenced to keep vandals out. Tombstones are from the early 1800's. After visiting the cemetery, return to the boardwalk and at the end turn right to the Artesian well.
From the Artesian well, continue in the direction you were heading coming off the boardwalk with the river access on your right, continuing straight ahead on the gravel road. Pass a dirt road with a metal barrier on the right. That road leads to picnic area. When Camping Loop Road (unmarked) turns sharply to the left, keep straight on Smokeless Powder Trail (unmarked). Go beyond two posts with a twisted metal barrier and arrive at the intersection of Duck Pond Road. Turn right. Keep straight at the first intersection and at the next fork either side will merge back on the same trail.
At 4.95 miles a mountain bike trail comes in from the left. A few steps beyond that, turn left at the tree with the white park trail marker and a silver diamond mountain bike trail marker directly beneath it. The trail will continue between two mountain bike trails.
Keep left at the intersection at 5.45 miles. Another .4 miles ahead, complete the loop by turning right on Duck Farm Road at a tree marked with #200.
At 6.45 miles cross Artesian Well Road (watch for traffic as vehicles are allowed on this road) following the North End Trail sign. At the first intersection, turn left on unmarked Store House Road. You will notice many old foundations along this route, which are being reclaimed by the woods.
Go through two intersections then turn right at the t-intersection on Oak Ridge Trail passing picturesque ponds on the right. At 7.25 miles the trail becomes a boardwalk. At the first intersection leave the boardwalk turning right on Frog Pond Road, then left at the next intersection on Crossover Trail. Stay on Crossover Trail passing 4 intersections then turn left on Sand Hole Road at a yield sign. A short distance farther turn left briefly then right on the boardwalk.
Keep right on the boardwalk as a trail joins the boardwalk straight ahead. This is the trail you originally entered the boardwalk on earlier in the hike. Follow the boardwalk .4 mile back to the paved trail at the Nature Center.
[ 0.00] Right on paved path at far side of nature center; right at split; right at second split on Pond Trail (unmarked) with pond on right
[ 0.30] Straight on Pond Trail when Laurel Trail goes left (marked); trail comes in from right; picnic area on right; veer left over bridge; keep right at intersection other side of bridge
[ 0.50] Keep left at split rail fence where bridge goes to the right and ruins ahead; fitness trail begins (called Exercise Trail on map)
[ 0.60] Right at intersection (Center Trail - unmarked); cross paved park road, proceed straight (sign with trail names at park road intersection)
[ 0.75] Turn left to observation deck at Stephen's Creek; retrace steps
[ 0.95] Cross paved park road; continue straight to right on fitness trail
[ 1.55] Right at intersection; cross paved park road; veer left briefly then right on Oak Barrel Tree Road (unmarked) trail
[ 1.75] Turn left at intersection (#23 on tree) on Cribbers Road (unmarked)
[ 1.95] Go either way at fork - comes back together on same trail
[ 2.00] Cribber's Field on left with bird blinds
[ 2.40] Turn right at intersection on to boardwalk; keep straight at split
[ 2.65] Keep straight on boardwalk when Sand Hole Road (marked) and an unmarked trail go left
[ 3.05] Keep straight when boardwalk splits to left
[ 3.10] Keep straight when Frog Pond Road (marked) goes left
[ 3.55] Right on side trail to South River view (not on map)
[ 3.70] Right on side trail to second South River view (not on map)
[ 3.80] Smith Ireland Cemetery on left; Artesian well on right; walk straight by river access on gravel road; pass road to right with metal barrier; keep straight on Smokeless Powder Trail (unmarked) when Camping Loop Road (unmarked) turns sharply to the left
[ 4.15] Go straight beyond two posts with wire barrier
[ 4.25] Right at intersection on Duck Farm Road (marked)
[ 4.50] Keep straight on Duck Farm Road at intersection where North End Trail goes left (marked); at next split go either way - trails join together again
[ 4.95] Turn left at intersection with mountain bike trail (turn left where tree has both park and mountain bike blazes); trail will follow between two mountain bike trails.
[ 5.45] Left at intersection
[ 5.50] Keep straight as mountain bike trail crosses over; trail is hard packed sand covered with pine needles
[ 5.85] Right on Duck Farm Road at #200 on tree
[ 6.15] Keep straight at intersection
[ 6.30] Cross metal barrier and keep left on woods road
[ 6.45] Cross Artesian Well Road following sign for North End Trail
[ 6.55] Stay on North End Trail through parking lot and beyond barrier
[ 6.70] Left at unmarked intersection on Store House Road
[ 6.80] Straight at unmarked intersection where Rabbit Square Trail comes in from left
[ 6.95] Straight at unmarked intersection where Change House Trail comes in from left; trail becomes swampy
[ 7.05] At T-intersection turn right on Oak Ridge Trail (marked); pass ponds on right
[ 7.25] Trail becomes boardwalk; at first intersection right on Frog Pond Road, next intersection, left on Crossover Trail (unmarked)
[ 7.45] Straight at unmarked intersection of Eight Inch Road; short distance ahead veer left as unmarked Tin Box Road goes right
[ 7.60] Straight over TNT Road at unmarked intersection
[ 7.75] Keep right at unmarked intersection when unmarked Highbank Trail goes left; few steps ahead left on unmarked Sand Hole Road at yield sign
[ 7.90] Left at intersection briefly then right on boardwalk
[ 8.15] Keep right on boardwalk as trail joins boardwalk straight ahead
[ 8.25] Jog right off boardwalk then left back on to boardwalk
[ 8.35] Cross paved park road to continuation of boardwalk
[ 8.50] Arrive at paved trail behind Nature Center and follow to parking lot