Lower Wading River

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Map(s)

BodineField.jpgOverview map (502x806), 55.1K size.

Scenery

From the Pine Barrens & cedar water, to marsh grasses & brackish water.  This area witnesses the transition of the Wading River from a twisty, curvy stream, to a tidal river.  The Wading River starts at Chatsworth Lake, just to the north of route 532.  (If you are coming from Trenton, you will see the lake on the your left side, before entering the town of Chatsworth.)  Eventually, the river meets up with the Mullica River, less than 1 mile NW of exit 48 of the GSP.  Bodine Field is a favorite for the local liveries.

0.4 mi south of the launch, the river starts widening.  1.5 mi south of that location, it opens up into a pseudo lake; this is where the bald eagle nests on the western edge.  Chips Folly camp ground is on the eastern edge.  South of the 'lake', the river narrows with marsh grass on both sides.  About ¾ mi after this, you will reach route 542.  (I have not explored south of this here to any degree.)

The worst aspect of this location is lack of locations to get out, either to stretch your legs or eat.  Pack your food where you can get it, or better yet, go with a buddy.

Fees

None.

Hours of Operation

24x7.

Directions

Take route 206 south to route to Carranza Road, which branches off at a 45 degree angle, to the left.  After about 2 ¼ mi, you will reach a 4-way stop sign: Turn left onto Route 532 (a.k.a. Chatsworth Road).  After less than 10 mi, this deadends in Chatsworth; make a right onto route 563 south.

In less than 10 mi, you will see a sign for route 679.  Make the 45 degree left turn onto route 679.  After seeing the southern tip of Harrisville Pond on the right, you will have about 0.2 mi to go, before seeing the sign for Bodine Field on your left.

Make the left onto the dirt road.  From here on, it gets ugly!  Stay on on a southerly vector, ignoring all of the turnoffs; you will eventually see the Wading River on the left, which is where the parking is.  (This dirt road is bad news: Just before exiting Bodine Field, and turning back onto route 679, double check the straps on roof rack.  The dirt road is bumpy enough to loosen them.)

Parking

Park next to the bushes, leaving as much room as possible for the other cars.  (In other words, be considerate.)

Distance to the Launch Area

Short enough to carry; just watch the tree roots.

Restrooms

The bushes are at your disposal.

Status of Launch Area

Depends on the tide & the amount of recent rain.  With lower water levels, watch out for tiny tree stumps sticking out; gravelly otherwise.

Wind Conditions

Once the river opens wide, wind can become a factor.  Upstream, in the heavily-forested area, they are a minor annoyance ... at their worst.

Power Boats

The sky is limit in the wide sections.  But be careful!  We have seen pesky jetskis traveling up river from Bodine Field.

Foliage

Spectacular upstream, boring downstream.

Rolling Practice?

So-so.  Too many submerged obstacles.