Winslow Fish & Wildlife Management Area
What’s to love
This place is wild in the literal sense; as a wildlife management area it doesn’t receive the kind of maintenance a park would, so use a bit of caution in planning your trip here. The area transitions from piney forests to sandy paths to bogs, and while there’s plenty of nature to enjoy, parts of this ad-hoc trail system can flood.
Winslow’s main claim to fame is a little place called Blue Hole. At least, that was my motivation to hike it in 2015. The legend, as I had put together via trusty ol’ Google, is that the pool is crystal clear nearly to the bottom. It doesn’t freeze. Occasionally, people have been sucked to the bottom by the Jersey Devil. How can you resist a story like that?
So on a hot July day my hiking buddy and I set out to find the Blue Hole. If you search for it using Google maps, you’ll see it just on the west side of the Great Egg Harbor River. On the east side of the river, there’s a clear sandy area where you can park. We naturally assumed there was a bridge we could use to get across—and we were right! Kind of. There was a bridge. Right up until the 1960’s, when a storm took it out.
You can still access the Blue Hole from the west side of the river, and you can see on the trail map how to do it. But I’m sorry to say, if the pool was ever a magical spring of crystal-clear devil water, it hasn’t held up. Today it’s just a pond. The walk to find it is lovely, though.
Tips and quirks
- The area is full of sandy paths carved (I assume) by hunters, fishers, and ATVs. Since there is no official trail map of Winslow, I made the map linked above by tracing the paths I could make out on Google Earth. I would not stake your life on the accuracy of this map.
- Abandoned blueberry fields line the hike to the Blue Hole. It’s a bit of a treat to be able to eat the scenery!
- But you’ve seen pictures on Instagram of the Blue Hole, right?? It’s huge and beautiful and aquamarine! It’s true—there is a second “Blue Hole” nearby, but it’s not the stuff of legends. It’s an abandoned quarry on the other side of Piney Town Road. It’s gorgeous and worth the trip, but please don’t swim in it.
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Last updated: December 30, 2018