Trail Guides
Malaga Lake Park

Malaga Park Drive, Malaga, NJ
Phone: (856) 694-1234

OWNER:  Franklin Township

DIRECTIONS:  From the parking area at Scotland Run Park, turn Right on Clayton-Williamstown Road/ CR 610. Turn Left at the traffic light onto Fries Mill Road. After 3.8 miles turn Left onto Route 47/Delsea Drive. After 1.2 miles turn Right onto Malaga Park Drive. After 0.5 miles turn Right into the gravel parking area at Malaga Lake.

DIRECTIONS FROM NEAREST HIGHWAY:  From Route 55, take exit 39B for Route 40 East toward Malaga. After 0.9 miles, turn Left onto Malaga Park Drive, just beyond the dam. Proceed for 0.5 miles and turn Left into the gravel parking lot at Malaga Lake Park.   Map

ACCESS AND PARKING:  Open daily from dawn to dusk. Lifeguard on duty Memorial Day through Labor Day. There is an additional parking lot for the boat launch closer to the woods, 0.1 miles North of the main lot on Malaga Park Drive. Paddlers welcome.

SPECIAL FEATURES:  Improvements such as picnic tables, charcoal grills, large mowed fields, a sandy beach, and playground coupled with nearby diners and farmers markets make this an easy place to spend quality time with the whole family.

A CLOSER LOOK:  In spring time, explore the Northern and Western banks of the lake by canoe or kayak for views of some characteristic Pine Barrens plants, including Englemann's arrowhead, Virginia meadow beauty, St. John's wort, floating hearts, and the tiny round-leaved and spatulate-leaved sundews, which lure insects with their sticky fronds.

Ring-necked Duck
Ring-necked DuckKevin Karlson
SITE DESCRIPTION:  Malaga Lake is an easily accessible, 105-acre lake in the headwaters of the Maurice River Watershed. It is well known for good bass fishing and is a popular destination among locals for swimming and picnicking. Before it was revamped in 2005, Malaga Lake dam stood in its original construction for over 100 years. In addition to abundant fish, the lake hosts a variety of wildlife including multiple species of birds, mammals, reptiles, amphibians and dragonflies that can be viewed from the water's edge and woodland trails. A trail guide is available at the trailhead near the boat launch, or by calling the Franklin Township public offices.

DON'T MISS:  Visit the lake on an evening in early spring, especially after a recent rain, to hear the ringing chorus of spring peepers in the woods.

Winter:  Waterfowl such as Ring-Necked Duck, Bufflehead, Hooded Merganser, Ruddy Duck, Pied-billed Grebe Canada Geese and occasionally Wood Duck can be found overwintering on the lake when it is not frozen. Bald Eagles can be spotted circling overhead. Look and listen for Red-Breasted Nuthatch and both Kinglets in mixed flocks of Chickadees and Titmice near the boat ramp. Great-horned and Screech Owls are occasionally heard calling here after dark.
Spring:  Spring peepers begin calling in the early evening in March. Choruses of these tiny frogs echo from the woods adjacent to Malaga Lake and across the street throughout most of the spring and summer. Southern gray treefrog can also be frequently heard here. The woods near the lake host migrating songbirds such as Black and White, Black-Throated Green, Pine and Yellow-rumped Warblers. Northern Oriole, Wood Thrush, and Red-eyed and Blue-headed Vireos can also be found here. This is the best time to take a canoe or kayak out on the lake for fishing and exploring the banks for rare plants.
Summer:  Arrive early morning or at dusk to avoid crowds. Beware of Canada Geese with young. Look for painted turtles and red-bellied sliders basking on sunken branches in the lake. Scan the banks of the lake for Great Egret, Great Blue Heron and the hard-to-spot Green Heron. Dragonflies are active by the water's edge, especially near the boat ramp. Barn and Tree Swallows are active over the lake, and Chimney Swifts can be heard circling higher up. Common Nighthawks can sometimes be seen catching insects near the parking lot lights at dusk. Bats are also abundant at dusk.
Fall:  Chipmunks and squirrels rustle in the leaf litter as they gather and stash acorns. Migrant songbirds move through, with species diversity peaking in mid October. Foliage peaks in late October/early November. Look for migrating raptors such as Bald Eagle, Osprey, Red-Shouldered, Coopers, and Sharp-shinned Hawks overhead or perched by the lake's edge.

Boat LaunchButterfliesFishingHiking TrailsIdeal for BeginnersInterpretive TrailParkingPicnicRestrooms