Written by Amy Petrie, Founder of South Jersey Adventures
I had never heard of legend of Elephant Swamp Trail growing up. The path in Elephant Swamp follows the Pennsylvania-Reading Railroad line that was built in 1878. It ran from Glassboro to Bridgeton. In the 1980’s, the railroad tracks were removed and a trail was born. Elephant Swamp Trail stretches from the Elk Township Recreation Complex in Aura to the baseball fields in Elmer.
Seems pretty bland thus far, right? Except for the story behind its name.
Legend has it that in the late 1800’s, the circus was traveling by train through Elk Township along the rail line from its stop in Monroeville. It broke down and while the crew was trying to fix the train, one of the elephants secretly broke free in the swamp, and was never seen or heard from again… or was it?
I’ve heard from locals that on a quiet evening, you can hear the ghost of the elephant loudly trumpet or its thunderous feet pounding the ground as it runs through the woods.
So, as you walk this lovely rail trail with its gorgeous scenery and quiet places to sit, keep an eye out for peanut shells on the ground. It may just be the ghost of the elephant that broke free over a hundred years ago.