Trail Guides
Thomas F. Breden Preserve at Milford Bluffs

County Road 627, Holland Township, NJ
Phone: (908) 879-1339

OWNER:  New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection Natural Lands Trust

DIRECTIONS:  Exit parking area and turn Right onto Bridge Street. Make first Left onto CR 619/Harrison Street. Proceed 3.4 miles to the traffic light in the town of Milford. At this point CR 619 and CR 519 have merged together. To stay on CR 519 and reach the bluffs, turn Right at the traffic light, and then make the second Left onto Milford Road, which is the continuation of CR 519. The entrance to Milford Bluffs is on the Left exactly 1.25 miles from the traffic light. The unmarked, dirt entry road is rough and fairly steep, and may be impassable by vehicles with low clearance. A small parking area is located at the end of the lane on the Left before the gate.   Map
ACCESS AND PARKING:  Open daily dawn to dusk. A kiosk, built as an Eagle Scout project, provides information and a trail map. The parking area and the trail to the bluffs are rough and occasionally downed trees on the trail make passage difficult. Once at the top, the bluffs should not be encroached upon; they are environmentally sensitive. No rock climbing is allowed, as the fragile quality of shale rock would make it extremely dangerous.

ArethusaRick Radis
SITE DESCRIPTION:  One of the most famous and treasured botanical sites in New Jersey, the Milford Bluffs have been known to botanists and naturalists for almost 200 years. The scenic late Triassic/early Jurassic red shale cliffs, which are puncutated by small waterfalls during wet seasons, are home to a wide variety of rare and showy wildflowers and endangered ferns. The wildflower show of spring ephemerals is particularly memorable from mid-April through late May, and there are always plants blooming on the bluffs through October. The nearby Delaware River forms a spectacular vista below, and the upland portion to the east, purchased by the Green Acres Program, protects the land above the bluffs and provides parking and a trail approach to the bluffs.

DON'T MISS:  Thousands of uncommon prickly-pear cactii, the only cactus species native to the East, cascade down the dry shale cliff faces and ledges, and in June and early July provide a unique and spectacular wildflower show with bright yellow blooms making a colorful contrast to the purplish-red rocks. In fall and early winter the purple “pears," the fruit of the cactus, add to the colorful fall foliage display. The cacti are present year-round.

Winter:  This is a site with spectacular geological features, and with the leaves off, the geology of the bluffs can be seen to best advantage. The fractured and faulted Stockton red-to-purple sandstones and shales date to the Triassic/Jurassic eras, and are roughly 190 to 230 million years old, the time of the dinosaurs. In winter, share an eagle’s view of the Delaware River panorama; the distant diving ducks may be Bufflehead, Common Merganser or Common Goldeneye. Some ferns and the cactus are evergreen and can be seen throughout the winter.
Spring:  Eastern Phoebe comes back to nest on the cliff faces in late March, and Tree Swallows return to the river; in late April and early May they are joined by Baltimore Oriole, Warbling, Red-eyed and Yellow-throated Vireos, Scarlet Tanager, Rose-breasted Grosbeak, Wood Pewee, Wood Thrush, Yellow Warbler and many other breeding Neotropical passerines. Showy wildflowers such as rock cress, columbine, bloodroot, wild geranium, Dutchman's breeches, wild ginger, trout lily, spring beauty, many violet species and other ephemeral wildflowers are at their best here in spring, from April through May.
Summer:  Wildflowers continue their display, and the prickly pear cactus comes into bloom in early- to mid-June. In late July, the composites--goldenrods, snakeroots, bonesets and asters--begin their long blooming period, which lasts into the fall.
Fall:  Asters, goldenrods, snakeroots and bonesets are at their peak in this season, and waterfowl begin to return to the river in numbers in late October and early November. Migrating hawks and the occasional Bald Eagle can be seen above the river and bluffs throughout the fall season, along with migrating passerines.

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