Places We Protect

Johnsonburg Swamp Preserve

New Jersey

View of Mud Pond through dense forest.
Mud Pond Overlook View of the glacier-formed Mud Pond, a scenic limestone wetland that supports rare plants at our Johnsonburg Swamp Preserve. © Jeff Burian

Johnsonburg Swamp Nature Preserve is one of the most species-rich natural areas in New Jersey.

Overview

Description

Johnsonburg Swamp Preserve celebrates true New Jersey wilderness and is considered one of the most important and species-rich natural areas in the state. Established in 1990, the 700+ acre preserve protects a spectacular limestone forest and the glacier-formed Mud Pond, a scenic limestone wetland that supports rare plants (including the carnivorous lesser bladderwort), waterfowl and iconic mammals like black bear, fox and state-endangered bobcats. 

Four miles of trails wind through the pristine habitats, with constantly changing angles and views. The rock outcrops that overlook Mud Pond to the west and north are the largest formations of their kind in the New Jersey, with “High Rocks” providing an elevated vantage point for viewing wildlife, seasonal landscape vistas, and acres of fields and forest fading off toward the Kittatinny Ridge. 

 

Access

OPEN TO THE PUBLIC

*Parking area is at the end of Old Stage Road off of Rte. 661 in Frelinghuysen.

Hours

Open year-round during daylight hours.

Highlights

Hiking, bird-watching, wildlife viewing, lime kilns, picnic area, views of Mud Pond

Size

714 acres

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Photos from Johnsonburg Swamp Preserve

Tag your preserve visits on Instagram with #JohnsonburgSwampPreserve to have your photos featured here!

A great blue heron standing in a still pond.
Lime kiln remains in a lush green forest.
Thick, green forest.
A long-tailed salamander sitting on a mossy rock.
A red-bellied woodpecker perched in a tree.
Two benches on a paved platform overlook a pond.
A pond full of lily pads surrounded by tall trees.
A beaver swimming with leaf on its head.
A male wood duck standing on a large branch.
Two shaded ADA-compliant picnic tables on a cement pad.

Visit

  • Don’t Miss: Incredible overlook of Mud Pond from “High Rocks.”

    Historic lime kiln remains can be found on the Lime Kiln Spur trail.

    Plants: Lesser bladderwort, which is found at only three other sites in New Jersey. This carnivorous plant produces yellow flowers and floats in the water, where it periodically extends the equivalent of a small trap door that sucks in insects that brush against it.

    Visit Johnsonburg Swamp in the October for peak foliage views.

    Animals: Threatened wildlife that make their homes around Mud Pond include great blue herons, red-headed woodpeckers, barred owls, red-shouldered hawks, wood turtles and longtail salamanders. Mud Pond is also home to American beavers.

    Red-spotted newts, though not threatened, are commonly found in the moist forested areas of the preserve.

    • 4 miles of trails
    • Parking lot with reserved ADA-parking space
    • Welcome kiosk with trail map and preserve history
    • Shaded accessible picnic area with two tables off the main parking lot
    • Benches along trails
    • Shade structure with picnic tables along the High Rocks Trail
    • Lime kiln structure remains
    • High Rocks overlook
    • Limestone bedrock formations
    • Accessible seating area with views of Mud Pond

     

    • Visitors should remain on marked trails
    • All dogs must be on a leash and must be picked up after
    • Horseback riding and seasonal hunting by permit only
    • Do not enter caves
    • No boating, swimming and fishing at any times
    • Please carry out all garbage with you
    • No mountain biking, rock climbing, or repelling
    • Motor vehicles, camping, alcohol, fires, and use of sound-producing devices is strictly prohibited

     

Aerial view of Mud Pond.
Johnsonburg Swamp Preserve Mud Pond, at the heart of the Johnsonburg preserve, is a limestone wetland providing excellent habitat for rare plant species, along with waterfowl and other wildlife.  © Dwight Hiscano

Background

Four miles of trails wind through the pristine habitats, with constantly changing angles and views. The rock outcrops that overlook Mud Pond to the west and north are the largest formations of their kind in the New Jersey, with “High Rocks” providing an elevated vantage point for viewing wildlife, seasonal landscape vistas, and acres of fields and forest fading off toward the Kittatinny Ridge.

Johnsonburg’s water resources attracted Native Americans twelve thousand years ago and the Lenape tribe up to the late 1600s. Samuel Green, a surveyor, was one of the first Europeans to settle near Johnsonburg, which quickly became a busy town center and stagecoach stop. For the next 200 years, the region was known for its dairy farming operations. The area is now a bedroom-community suburb, but remnants of lime kilns, spring houses, dwellings and other structures from previous eras are evident when hiking the trails today.

Mud Pond Flyover Enjoy this virtual tour of Johnsonburg Swamp Preserve's Mud Pond, the glacier-formed pond found at the heart of the preserve. Mud Pond provides critical habitat and resources for a wide variety of local and migrating wildlife.

Nearby Preserves

Need more nature? Visit The Nature Conservancy's other preserves.

Find More Places We Protect

The Nature Conservancy owns nearly 1,500 preserves covering more than 2.5 million acres across all 50 states. These lands protect wildlife and natural systems, serve as living laboratories for innovative science and connect people to the natural world.

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