The Barnegat Branch Trail will eventually travel nearly 16 miles from Barnegat Township to Toms River on the abandoned Barnegat Branch Division of the Central Railroad of New Jersey. Currently, 3 disconnected segments of trail have been completed through the sandy soils of the Pine Barrens.
The longest, southern segment runs between Barnegat and Forked River and has a cinder surface, although the trail is paved where it crosses roads. At this section’s midpoint, the small town of Waretown offers a convenience store and drug store for refreshments. South of the community of Forked River, the trail passes the Oyster Creek Nuclear Generating Station—set for closure in 2019—and crosses the actual river on a converted railroad trestle.
Farther north, another segment of trail is paved and runs between Dudley Park and Maryland Avenue in Berkeley Township. The park, located at the southern edge of the township, offers swimming, picnic tables, a covered pavilion, playground and roller skating rink.
The oldest trail segment runs through the borough of Beachwood, so it is unsurprising that the 1-mile long path is also known as the Beachwood Borough Trail. The paved trail spans the community, ending at the Toms River border in the north.
Parking for the Barnegat Branch Trail is available in Barnegat on Burr Street. The trailhead also contains outdoor seating areas, drinking fountains, restrooms and a public meeting space. In Waretown, the trailhead on Country Lane offers additional bathrooms and a display featuring information on the railroad history of the region.
For the segment in Berkeley Township, parking can be found in Dudley Park on US 9/Atlantic City Boulevard in the south and along Railroad Avenue just south of the intersection with Maryland Avenue in the north.
There are no designated trailheads for the Beachwood Borough Trail segment of the Barnegat Branch Trail, but parking may be found on adjacent neighborhood streets.