Trail Guides
Fort Mott State Park/Finns Point Lighthouse

454 Fort Mott Road, Pennsville, NJ 08070
Phone: (856) 935-3218

OWNER:  NJ Department of Environmental Protection and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

DIRECTIONS:  From the Delaware Memorial Bridge, cross over the bridge into New Jersey. Stay in the right lanes, following signs for Route 49. Take the first exit over the bridge and exit onto Route 49. Follow Route 49 for 3.2 miles, and turn Right onto Fort Mott Rd. Continue along Fort Mott Rd. for 2 miles, bear Right around the bend, and then continue for 1.3 miles to the road’s end at Fort Mott State Park.   Map
ACCESS AND PARKING:  Office open daily from 8 am to 4 pm. Park open from dawn until dusk. Large parking area on site.

SPECIAL FEATURES:  The pier used by the ferry service provides a great vantage point from which to observe waterfowl on the river. The nature trail at the end of the fort winds through a wooded area to the Civil War Cemetery.

Black-throated Blue Warbler
Black-throated Blue WarblerKevin Karlson
SITE DESCRIPTION:  Fort Mott State Park offers variety in both history and habitat. The 19th century fort and gun battery were built to defend the Delaware River and its harbors from foreign attack. The adjacent Finn’s Point Lighthouse and Cemetery contain monuments to Confederate soldiers who died while incarcerated at the prison on nearby Pea Patch Island, and to their Union guards. The Lighthouse contains a 19th century “range light” used for river navigation. Nowadays, Pea Patch Island is home to nesting egrets and herons, and is the largest heron rookery in the mid-Atlantic with over 6,000 pairs of up to nine species of wading birds. A stroll along the river in front of the fort affords wildlife viewing year-round, especially for ducks and geese. In addition, woodland birds and small mammals can be seen along the wooded trails; wading birds at the site’s small moat; and grassland birds at the dredge spoil habitat. Start this tour of Salem County with a visit to Fort Mott’s Welcome Center to learn more about the site’s extensive history and nature viewing opportunities.

DON'T MISS:  a ride on the ferry to nearby Pea Patch Island where in July and August a walk along the nature trail to the north side of the island will provide great views of nesting egret and heron.

Winter:  Scanning the river, you may find ducks not seen other times of year, particularly Common Merganser and the rarer Hooded Merganser. Large groups of Dark-eyed Junco gather in the fields, but be prepared for frigid temperatures if the wind is blowing off the river.
Spring:  Large groups of American Robin gather in the area, and you can see Double- crested Cormorant perched on docks and posts along the river’s edge. Migrating ducks and some shorebirds use the river as a guide to their ultimate destinations, so be sure to look for activity on the river. The trail behind the fort reaches an elevation perfect for eye-level views of colorful migrating warblers and other songbirds as they move through the wooded canopy.
Summer:  Wading birds such as Great Egret, Snowy Egret, and Great Blue Heron gather in the area. A ride on the Three Fort Ferry from Fort Mott to Fort Delaware and Delaware City is a special treat, providing a different perspective on the river’s marine life, Pea Patch Island’s busy rookeries, and of course, the fascinating military history of the area.
Fall:  Wildlife viewing requires more patience this time of year, but a quiet walk on any of the wooded trails may result in an encounter with a fox, raccoon or beaver.

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