When today's 30-something parents were growing up in the Old Orchard neighborhood of Cherry Hill they would set out on Saturday safaris to the woods behind Sharp School.

They would regale — and sometimes worry — their parents with tales of entering the Sharp woods by crossing a downed tree that bridged a stream. From there, the magic of this suburban forest would present itself to the pre-teens: from the "old-fashioned" abandoned car, to the rope swings, to the platforms nailed high on trees. Older kids even carved out a BMX bike course. With an explorer's resolve, they would push through to the other side — emerging at Beck Middle School or the Little Servant Sisters of the Immaculate Conception House, both on Cropwell Road.

On Saturday, parents of the 30-something generation were in the Sharp woods with their children. But the precarious log crossing is no longer: the wild woods of Old Orchard have become one of the official Cherry Hill trails in the town's 24 square miles. In Old Orchard, you can select any, or all, of the five marked trails through the woods.

The Old Orchard trailhead begins at an expansive meadow, looking much like the wooded scenery so common in British television shows. The other trailhead begins behind Beck Middle School on Cropwell Road. Occasionally the hiker will see the back of someone's house in the development, but in general the Old Orchard hike has a wilderness feel.

However, the hike is far from grueling and ideal for older walkers or families with small children. 

Turn up the volume to hear the babbling on the Old Orchard trail. Great spot for a picnic.

VIDEO: Great spot for a picnic on the Old Orchard trail.

[Neill Borowski | © 70and73.com | August 8, 2020]

Mayor Susan Shin Angulo is celebrating the 10-year anniversary of the Cherry Hill Trails Program with periodic profiles of each in her community newsletter. The township is offering a Cherry Hill Trail Challenge with completion requiring entrants to hike all of the trails.

Generally, the trails are easy and flat. Some have grades — the Old Orchard blue trail has a 7.5% slope.

The trails are:

  1. Barclay Farmstead Trails. Three trails cover nearly 1 mile and includes a nature trail, which is partially ADA accessible.
  2. Borton's Mill Trails. The seven relatively short trails link to the Croft Farm Trails.
  3. Bowling Green Trail. Also a short trail.
  4. Bunker Hill Trails. Six trails cover just over 1½ miles.
  5. Carusi Arbor Trail. A trail behind Carusi Middle School.
  6. Cherry Valley Trail. Two trails covering about three-quarters of a mile.
  7. Croft Farm Trails. Nine trails cover nearly two miles.
  8. Downs Farm Trails. Four trails cover just over a half mile.
  9. Erlton North Trails. Three trails cover about a half mile.
  10. Kresson Trails. Seven trails cover more than 3½ miles. Mountain biking is permitted.
  11. Old Orchard Trails. Five trails cover more than three-quarters of a mile.
  12. Thomas Paine Trails. Four trails cover almost a half mile.