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A Place to Explore
The Copper Creek Preserve is worth its weight in gold to those who enjoy a charming hike through fields and woodlands, and exploring native plants and wildlife.
The 25 acres of the property that’s accessible to the public rewards visitors with a variety of habitat. Its fields, forest and riparian corridor on the Copper Creek offer a diversity of ecological settings for a range of breeding and transient birds. The preserve lies within the Delaware River corridor, an important route for many spring and fall migratory birds. Upward-glancing birders might spot thrashers, mockingbirds, robins and wrens darting about the forest’s edge. Tucked inside the forest interior, one might discover scarlet tanagers, wood thrushes, rose-breasted grosbeaks and warblers. Oh, and that tapping noise? That’s the sound of a busy woodpecker at work, possibly a downy, hairy or pileated. And soaring up in the skies, you might detect red-tailed or Cooper’s hawks.
Those who prefer their critters wetter won’t be disappointed. You might notice a variety of salamanders including two-lined, dusky, northern red and slimy. You also might come across frogs, toads, snakes and turtles.
The preserve likely supports the typical local mammals including white-tailed deer, opossums, red and gray foxes, skunks, muskrats, red and gray squirrels, flying squirrels and eastern cottontails.
Parking area for Copper Creek
Parking for Copper Creek Preserve can be found off Spring Hill Road. There’s a pull off from the road near the preserve sign. A mowed trail begins near the pull off, and leads north through the utility right-of-way. It then travels around the eastern edge of the field, swings north through the right-of-way again before turning west into the woods. The woods contain a variety of native tree species including American sycamores, sugar maples and black oaks. Another rewarding feature is several stands of mature conifers, particularly eastern red cedars and Virginia pines.
Once inside the woods, the trail descends to the creek, crosses a narrow ravine, and then ascends to the ridgeline. Along the route to Horseshoe Bend Road, the trail curves north and enters Horseshoe Bend Park, where one will find a connecting southward trail. Along the way, hikers can enjoy views of the creek, woodlands and surrounding region. The tributary to the Copper Creek is especially scenic and features a small waterfall.
The Copper Creek Preserve is considered part of Horseshoe Bend Park and is jointly owned by the New Jersey Conservation Foundation and Hunterdon Land Trust. It’s managed by HLT. The park borders Horseshoe Bend East and across Horseshoe Bend Road, one will find the north entrance to Horseshoe Bend Park.
Partners included: Hunterdon Land Trust, New Jersey Conservation Foundation, Kingwood Township, the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection Green Acres Program and Hunterdon County.