24 Kimbles Beach Road
Existing foot trails through the Refuge's varied habitats provide excellent opportunities for bird watching, photography and environmental education. (In fact Cape May Peninsula has been described as one of the ten top birding spots in North America !) There are four maintained trails on the Refuge, two trails in the Delaware Bay Division), one at the Two Mile Beach Unit and one in the Great Cedar Swamp Division. (All maps require Adobe Acrobat Reader. Visit their site to download a free version of this software.).
This 1-mile, partially accessible trail begins at the Headquarters Office off Kimbles Beach Road. This trail begins in the parking lot, extends to the edge of shrub/scrub habitat, winds through a forest segment with vernal pools and ends along Kimbles Beach Road Often seen on this trail are American kestrels, bluebirds, and box turtles. Frogs regularly call from the vernal pools.
About 0.4 miles south of Kimbles Beach Road off of Route 47 is a residential road called Woodcock Lane. At the end of this road is a parking area for access to Woodcock Trail.This trail is a one-mile-long loop through grassland habitat. There are also side trails of 0.4 miles that extend through a forested section and end at a view of the Delaware Bay salt marsh. Often seen here are great crested flycatchers, blue grosbeaks, a variety of sparrows, spotted turtles, and frogs.
The Two Mile Beach Unit offers a 0.9 mile trail (1.8 mile round trip) which begins at the north boundary of the Refuge next to Diamond Beach and ends at the south boundary next to the US Coast Guard: Loran Support Unit. The trail traverses behind the beach dunes that host rare maritime forest habitat. Migrant songbirds are plentiful in spring and fall, as well as butterflies and dragonflies. This trail offers two access points midway through the trail, one off of Loran Drive across from the first parking lot, on the right, and another access point from the second parking lot, on the left. The second access point also offers disabled-accessible parking next to a boardwalk which leads to an observation platform overlooking the beachfront. (Please note: Access to the beach is prohibited April 1 to September 30 each year. The trail, however, is open throughout the year).
At the Two Mile Beach Unit the completed 500 feet of this accessible, boardwalk trail leads to an observation platform offering views of shimmering salt marshes. Look for elegant wading birds and listen for the “clacking” sound of a clapper rail. Future plans for this trail include two additional observation platforms and over 1,500 feet of boardwalk access through salt marsh and maritime forest habitats.
Cedar Swamp Trail
This one-mile long trail is located on Tyler Road, which is located north of Route 50 and south of Route 631. This trail leads through a grassland and a mixed pine/hardwood forested swamp.Look and listen for songbirds in the red maple and Atlantic white cedar trees and owls roosting in the trees.
The Two Mile Beach Unit (TMBU) is located in Lower Township south of Wildwood Crest. It is accessed off of Ocean Drive by Loran Drive . TMBU was transferred to the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service from the U.S. Coast Guard in 1999. As part of Cape May National Wildlife Refuge, the 507-acre site is managed to protect one of the last remaining tracts of undeveloped maritime forest and beach in New Jersey.
The hiking trail and boardwalk area are open throughout the year. The 0.7-mile-long beach portion of TMBU is closed April 1 to September 30 each year. The purpose of the closure is to provide an undisturbed area for birds that require beach habitat to survive. This includes birds that nest, feed, roost or migrate through the area, such as the Federally threatened piping plover , the State endangered least tern, American oystercatcher, black skimmer, red knot, dunlin, and many other shorebird species.
Between October 1 and March 31 activities such as wildlife observation, photography, nature study, and surf fishing are permitted on the beach portion of TMBU. The following activities are PROHIBITED at all times on any portion of the Two Mile Beach Unit: swimming, sunbathing, surfing, pets, picnicking, kite flying, shell collecting or entering closed areas.