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Great Swamp National Wildlife Refuge, New Jersey

4.8
#23 of 35 in Wildlife in New Jersey
Wildlife Area Nature / Park
The Great Swamp National Wildlife Refuge is located in Morris County, New Jersey. Established in 1960, it is one of more than 550 refuges in the National Wildlife Refuge System.The refuge was declared a National Natural Landmark in May 1966. The eastern half of the refuge was designated as wilderness by Congress in 1968, making it the first wilderness area within the Department of the Interior.AdministrationThe refuge is managed by the federal United States Fish and Wildlife Service, an agency within the United States Department of the Interior. Refuge lands lie within the townships of Chatham, Harding, and Long Hill.HistoryGeologicThe Great Swamp is the remnant of a lake bottom of a once-mighty glacial lake called Glacial Lake Passaic that about 15,000 to 11,000 years ago extended for 30 miles (48 km) in length and was 10 miles (16 km) wide, in what is presently northern New Jersey. The lake was formed by the melting waters of the retreating Wisconsin Glacier at the end of the last Ice Age. The glacier had pushed a moraine ahead of its advance, a rubble of soil and rocks that plugged the existing outlet for the waters that drained into the area normally. As the retreating glacier melted, the waters rose to create the lake before a new outlet began to allow the water to exit at a much higher elevation, hence, the lake became established.
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Reviews
TripAdvisor Traveler Rating
43 reviews
Google
4.7
TripAdvisor
  • We've been here before in winter (kids loved it) so we stopped by again at 4:20 on a Saturday afternoon. Sadly, the visitor's center was closed by then (no Blue Goose stamp) and we couldn't go through...  more »
  • The National Parks Service is to be congratulated for the way they have expanded and protected this invaluable habitat. There is a lot of wildlife to be seen. Best to start with the visitor centre to ...  more »
  • On our way back to PA from a weekend in NYC on interstate 78, we saw the sign for the Great Swamp!!! In NJ??? We decided to check this out. We do like to stop at places on the spur during out travels,...  more »
Google
  • Beautiful hiking with many trails. Peaceful, clean, with easy access trails as well as more rugged ones ... Sometimes wading is required on wilderness trails in the spring! Lots of wildlife. If you aren't seeing any wildlife, you may be one of the (thankfully rare) noise polluting groups that'd be better suited to the mall or a boardwalk carnival ;) Been going for years and we always see wildlife.
  • Enjoyed walking the boards to the bird blinds. Pokemon Go hot spot as well! Remember, no pets!
  • Nice place for a hike. Plenty of shade in the boardwalk path. Lots of wildlife. Friendly volunteers.
  • How many wildlife refuges can you say you’ve been to? Great Swamp isn’t just a great place for a walk or hike, you may also encounter some interesting wildlife like birds beavers, or perhaps even a bald eagle. The trails here are nice and flat and there are several with boardwalks that are great for getting in a nice walk through a swamp without getting your shoes muddy. It also works well with a stroller though they get a bit narrow at some points. The parking lots aren’t huge though, so get in early on a nice day or you may have a substantial hike to start your hike.
  • First time here and saw this huge turtle. Had to be 2ft long. Beautiful place.

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