Trail Guides
Maurice River Bridge

CR 670/ Maurice River Causeway Road, Mauricetown, NJ

OWNER:  Commercial Township

DIRECTIONS:  Go back down High St. and turn Right onto CR 553/Main St. Turn Left onto CR 649/North Ave. Continue following CR 649 on the Mauricetown Bypass, through the blinking light at Buckshutem Rd., and go over the causeway bridge. Be aware the parking area and boat launch are immediately on the other side of the bridge on the Left.   Map
ACCESS AND PARKING:  Open daily from dawn to dusk. Ample parking on site.

Winter:  The Maurice River bridge provides a perfect platform for looking up and down river. Cormorants and mergansers are common and as many as 20 Bald Eagles have been seen from this spot in one day! Scan the woodland edge for Red-tailed Hawk. When the water freezes elsewhere, waterfowl flock to the open water near the bridge. Cold, blustery winter days with northwest winds are best.
Spring:  Great numbers of shorebirds can be seen feeding in the exposed mud along the river banks at low tide. Least Sandpiper and yellowlegs are common and the occasional Ruff may appear. Osprey and Bald Eagle can often be seen fishing in the river. Listen for the telltale kek-kek-kek of the Clapper Rail.
Summer:  In mid-July the greenhead flies can be a nuisance. Long sleeves and long pants are recommended. Osprey like to perch in the snags along the causeway to the west of the bridge while Forster’s and Caspian Terns hunt along the river until they begin their migration in August. In addition to the Purple Martin, the increasing numbers of Tree Swallows are spectacular. Common Nighthawk are numerous in late August.
Fall:  Fall brings the return of waterfowl, and while they are more abundant in the wild rice marshes north of the bridge, it is possible to see small rafts of Green-winged Teal or a pair of Wood Duck on the river. Check the mouth of the small gut directly across the river from the parking area. Walk under the bridge and scrutinize the shrubs and cedars along the old road bed for migrating songbirds.

River Otter
River OtterBill Garwood
SITE DESCRIPTION:  The Maurice River is the largest tributary feeding into the Delaware Bay. The Maurice is tidal from the base of the Union Lake dam to its confluence with Delaware Bay, a distance of 14 linear miles. At the dam, the river is primarily fresh water but the river becomes increasingly brackish as it travels south and is joined by the Manumuskin, Muskee and Menantico Rivers. The marshes along the river and its tributaries boast the largest stand of wild rice in New Jersey. These wild rice marshes attract huge numbers of migrating and wintering waterfowl. In addition, one of the state’s best concentrations of Osprey occurs along the river and several pairs of Bald Eagles nest within the Maurice River drainage. Portions of the river, along with the Manumuskin, Muskee and Menantico Rivers are federally designated as Wild and Scenic.

DON'T MISS:  In late August through early September the marsh just north of the bridge swarms with thousands of Purple Martin staging for their southward migration. Just before dusk, the sky positively bursts with swallows as they gorge on insects before roosting in the tall reeds for the night.

SPECIAL FEATURES:  The marsh is dotted with muskrat houses that resemble small haystacks. Muskrats eat aquatic plants such as the roots and stems of cattails, sedges and grasses, and they use these materials to build their homes. Other wildlife use these houses as good vantage points from which to hunt or sun themselves. Watch for a Bald Eagle to handily snatch its prey from one of these muskrat “perches.”

A CLOSER LOOK:  Seeing the river from a canoe or kayak offers a different persepective on this unique habitat. The small boat ramp located here is the perfect place to launch a car-top or small trailored boat.

Boat LaunchFishingMotorcoachParking