I can walk to Berlin Park from my house in about 20 minutes, so it’s silly that I’ve never done much of this hike before. There’s a reason though; I usually have my kids when I’m around town, and there’s a playground right at the trailhead. Whenever we come here, we usually end up spending a lot of time playing and very little time exploring. And since a caterpillar incident more than a year ago, my daughter has not been enthusiastic about this park.
Since I had a morning to myself, I wanted to spend a little more time checking out the trails back here. According to the official website, there are about five miles of mixed gravel and dirt trails; I did about 2.86 miles out and back, but a downed tree prevented me from going any further.
As with most of the Camden County parks I’ve visited, the trail is not very well marked and could use some maintenance. Still, this is a shady, quick hike that’s perfect for days when I’m working from home and want to head out on my lunch hour.
The parking lot is located just off Cross Keys Road, and is marked with a Joy’s Way sign. After you park, you’ll cross an open area where you’ll see the aforementioned playground. Beyond that is the trail; once you enter the woods, you can head right to cross a cool bridge, which is usually the way I head with my kids. Going straight will take you to the meat of the hike.
I would definitely recommend checking out this park if you’re a Camden County completist, if you live within 30 minutes or so of the area, or if you will have kids that want to hit the playground (bonus if they are old enough to entertain themselves while you hike and/or don’t need to be bribed to hike with you).
If you are in the area for a day trip, there are a few points of interest to check out in town. La Fogata has amazing, cheap authentic Mexican food. What they don’t have is a website, but don’t be deterred by the strip mall atmosphere. The food is fresh and delicious. You can also check out the Berlin Mart which is a huge indoor flea market. On Friday through Sunday it’s outside as well. This is not your urbanized, hip Franklin Flea or Clover Market, but it is perfect if you love weirdness, ephemera, and bargains. During my last visit, it was largely unchanged since my regular visits as a kid in the early 1980s, but I heard it’s under new ownership so it might soon be spiffier than I remember.