|Axe Factory Road, Mansfield Township, NJ |
Phone: (609) 265-5858
Burlington County Park System
Open daily from 8 a.m. to dusk. No motorized dirt bikes or ATVs.
Crystal Lake is also part of a working farm. Please respect the agricultural areas and stay on the field edge path. Watch your footing as the trails here are not paved and the terrain is very steep in some sections. The clay-based trails can be quite slippery and treacherous after rain.
From H. Kenneth Wilkie Park, turn Left onto East Front Street. After 0.6 miles, Front Street will bear Right and become Delaware Avenue. After 1 mile, turn Left on Route 130 North. After 1.8 miles turn Right on Kinkora Road/ SR 678. After 0.8 miles take the first Left onto Route 660, Old York Road. After 0.3 miles continue Straight onto Axe Factory Road and make the first Left into the unpaved drive for Crystal Lake Park.
DIRECTIONS FROM NEAREST HIGHWAY: From I-295, take Exit 52B toward Florence. Merge onto Florence-Columbus Road/CR 656, heading toward Florence. In 0.8 miles, turn Right onto Old York Road/CR 660. Continue on Old York Road for 2.2 miles to a stop sign, where Old York Road will make a sharp Right. Axe Factory Road continues straight. Follow Axe Factory Road straight and make the first Left into the unpaved drive for Crystal Lake Park. Map
Limited equestrian use permitted
|A very interesting park, with trails exploring a scenic lake, farm fields, and mixed forest. The forest is quite dense and has a good variety of tree species, such as black birch and great rhododendron, which are more typical of Piedmont forests than of the Inner Coastal Plain. The diversity of flora makes for a nice diversity of fauna as well. This park has not been heavily developed with infrastructure, and will appeal to the naturalist who enjoys a more rustic experience.
The large stand of native great rhododendron, which blooms in June. This is possibly the southernmost existing stand of this species in New Jersey, though individual plants are known farther south.
Feeding flocks of Chickadees, Titmice, Nuthatches and Kinglets enliven the woodland. Tracks in the snow mark the passage of terrestrial wildlife. Scan the farm fields for Horned Larks and other open-country birds, and the lake for waterfowl such as Mergansers, Pintail, and Green-winged Teal.
Wildflowers here include spring beauty, trout lily, mayapple, wild geranium, bloodroot, bluets and many other spring-flowering species. From late April through May, get out early and watch and listen for neotropical migrants such as Black-throated Blue, Chestnut-sided, Blue-winged, and Blackpoll warblers in the high tree canopy, as well as Yellow-throated and Blue-headed Vireos.
Breeding birds include Wood Thrush, American Redstart, Ovenbird, Red-eyed Vireo, Warbling Vireo, Yellow-billed Cuckoo, Cedar Waxwing and Scarlet Tanager, to name just a few. Summer is also a good time to study ferns. Some of the species present here are royal, cinnamon, rattlesnake, Christmas, netted chain, New York and hay-scented ferns.
Look for deer and wild turkey feeding around the edges of the farm fields. Southbound neotropical bird migration peaks in early September. Winter resident birds such as Juncos, White-throated, Fox and Field Sparrow arrive.
There are several overlooks shown on the trail map, which provide nice views of the lake from high points on the trail. They are not marked on the ground by any kind of viewing platform or signage. Also shown on the trail map are locations of the rhododendron thickets. Trail maps are at the park entrance, or can be downloaded from the Burlington County Parks website.