Mullica River and Batona Trail Loop

Overview

Parallel two Pine Barrens rivers on this hike with a flat pathway

Details
Time:
5.5 hours
Difficulty:
Moderate to Strenuous
Length:
11.5 miles
Route Type:
Circuit
Dogs:
Allowed on leash
Features:
Views, Historic feature, Birding
Location
Park:
Region:
County:
Atlantic
State:
NJ
Maps/Books
Publication
First Published:
03/15/2011
Submitter:
Jeffrey Jotz

Photo

Mullica River

Parking


View Mullica River and Batona Trail in a larger map

Trailhead GPS Coordinates
39.64271,-74.6521
Driving Directions
Take the Garden State Parkway South to Exit #52 (New Gretna). Turn right at stop sign onto E. Greenbush Road. Make left at stop sign. Go over two small wooden bridges. Pilgrim Lake Campground will be on right. Make left onto Leektown Road. Continue two miles to a stop sign. Stay straight on Leektown Road., then continue for another three miles to a stop sign. Turn right onto Route 542 West. Stay on 542 for approximately nine miles. Batsto Village is on the right.
Description

The Batsto Village Visitors Center, located adjacent to the parking lot, is the starting point to visit the historic museum and settlement.  It is also the trail head for this hike into Wharton State Forest.  At the parking lot begin to hike southeast towards the dam at the end of Batsto Lake.  You will pass restored 19th century buildings that date back to when Batsto was an important iron and glassmaking center.  After crossing the dam, look for yellow blazes marking the Mullica River Trail.  The trail quickly turns right and you will cross the Mullica River on a wooden footbridge.  At the time of my hike, in mid-February 2011, the footbridge was damaged but I managed to step on a series of well-placed logs to reach the other side.

The trail parallels the Mullica River for approximately 4.5 miles. However, thick stands of Atlantic White Cedar trees on your left often obscure views of the river.  Its acidic waters (4.4 mean pH) are tea-colored as a result of tannic acid present in plants, especially Atlantic White Cedar, and by naturally forming iron present in the streams.  (The Mullica River and other Pinelands waterways are all part of the Kirkwood Cohansey Aquifer, which contains 17 trillion gallons of water covering 3,000 square miles of southern and central New Jersey.) The trail traverses some open areas of soft sand and pitch pines; be on the alert for equestrians here.

About five miles from the parking lot you will reach the green-blazed connector to the Batona Trail that also leads hikers to the Lower Forge campsite; turn right on the connector and head up a gentle slope through a thick pine forest lined with blueberry bushes.

Dog owners take note: You will soon cross Quaker Bridge, which is served by an unimproved sand road that sees a lot of vehicular traffic.  Quaker Bridge has a metal deck that some dogs may be wary of crossing.  If the water level permits, you may want to let your pet wade across the Batsto River or actually carry it across the bridge if you are able.

In 0.4 mile you will reach the pink-blazed Batona Trail that runs 50 miles from Ong’s Hat in Brendan T. Byrne State Forest, through Wharton State Forest, to Lake Absegami in Bass River State Forest. Here, the Batona Trail parallels the Batsto River on your right as you turn right and walk south six miles back to Batsto Village. Be especially mindful of the pink Batona Trail blazes, as two sand roads (Goodwater and Quaker Bridge Roads) intersect here and it is easy to wander down a sand road to get lost in the pines.

In about three miles you will cross a small bridge over a Pinelands stream.  Again look for the Batona Trail blaze immediately on your right after crossing the bridge and follow it, as another sand road heads southeast away from the trail.

In 0.7 mile, you can turn right to follow a white-blazed trail south along Batsto Lake or continue south on the Batona Trail.  Both lead back to the starting point at Batsto Village parking lot.

Date of hike: February 20, 2011

Comment: Please be relevant, civil, non-commercial.

Hiked the trail with scouts April 2016

very good instructions for the loop trail.  The connector path between the Mullica River Trail and Batona Trail is well marked.  Also, the Mullica River trail at Batsto village is currently closed, and you need to take a detour road for the first 1-1.5 miles. Also, the 11.5 mile loop is with taking the white blazed Batsto Lake trail at the end of the loop; we took the Batona trail all the way back to the village, and it was just under 13 miles

Trail map

I picked up a "Batona Trail" map in the park office in Basto before my hike.  I can't find a decent map online.   The paper map isn't exact, but it is good enough for this hike.  It shows a few other trails in the area as well.

Batona Trail maps

See the Batona Trail park web page, under "Trails Overview" for two on-line links