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Van Nest Wildlife Refuge Trail

Van Nest Wildlife Refuge Trail

Hidden away down an overlookable dirt road, this loop thatches together creekside pathways, historic relics, sweeping lake views and sweet little beaches. The start of the loop is quite easy to find from the parking area. Veer left to follow the meandering path along Assunpink Creek to Mercer Lake. Once there, the woods give way to a meadow that slopes up to the dyke with a panoramic lake view. If you follow the narrow path along the dyke, you can veer off to some idyllic, shaded lakeside beaches loaded with shells. Once you’ve explored the lakeside, seek out the return portion of the loop about 20 feet farther from the lake than where you initially emerged from the woods.

Before getting back in your car, walk down the road toward Assunpink Creek, keeping a lookout on your left for the stone marking the spot where Washington made the secret night crossing that led him to victory in Princeton. Carry on to the creek bank to see the vintage stream measurement station.

We saw several mountain bikers devouring the trail. Just be aware the path comes within inches of the creek at a few curves.


Lakeside pathways continue throughout Mercer Park.


Easy-to-miss dirt road close to corner – plenty of parking.

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