Wharton State Forest


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Park Overview:

The central part of the state forest is farther from a paved road than any other place in New Jersey. It also contains two historic villages with restored buildings and several others where only ruins remain.

Trail Uses:Hiking, Mountain biking, Bridle path, X-C skiing
Dogs:Dogs on leash
Trail Miles:500 miles
Park Acreage:122880 acres
Park Description:

Located in the heart of the Pinelands, Wharton State Forest is well known as a canoeist's paradise, with narrow, twisting streams gently flowing through the cedar, pine, and oak forests.  The area once played an important role in the industrial development of the United States.  Bog ore and the ready supply of trees and water resulted in the building of iron furnaces and sawmills.  Between 1766 and 1876, the business and property were sold many times.  The last owner was Joseph Wharton who, before he died in 1909, purchased nearly 100,000 acres of land, established a cranberry industry, and experimented with scientific methods of forest management.  Aside from the facilities at Batsto and Atsion, the property has remained undeveloped.  Within the state forest are Batsto and Oswego River natural areas, and Batsto Village, a National Historic Site.

  • A principal community of the iron days, Batsto Villagewas established in 1766.  Some of the original buildings still remain, and the state has restored them, re-creating a nineteenth-century Pinelands village.  Photographs and descriptions of these buildings, some of which are open to the public, are available on village's web page.
    • Batsto Village is located on County 542 at the southern edge of Wharton State Forest [see Location Tab at top of page].  One of two park offices is located here.
    • Entrance fees are charged from Memorial Day weekend to Labor Day for the village.  No fees for Wharton State Forest.
  • Atsionis the site of another Pinelands iron town, with a manor house and several other buildings still standing, though none of the historic buildings [except for the general store, which now serves as other park office] are open to the public.  The Atsion Recreational Center and lake serve as the focal point of this area.
    • Atsion Lake can be reached by car from US 206, eight miles north of Hannonton.
Trails Overview:

Just imagine a network of 500 miles of sand roads and trails in the state forest.

  • From Batsto Village several nature trails offer the opportunity to observe pitcher plants, sphagnum moss, and British soldiers [a lichen with a red head].  Nearby, the Batona Trail [pink] can be combined with sand roads for a variety of hikes.  A 12-mile circular hike begins by following village trails up the east side of Batsto Lake.  The red, blue, and white trails offer views of the lake.  Another hike from Batsto is to Atsion, about ten miles northwest.
  • Hiking is also possible in the southeast area of the state forest, around Evans Bridge on County 563.  West of Evans Bridge, sand roads lead several miles to Washington, the site of a former Pinelands town, with a stone ruin stands in the middle of the woods.  Southeast of Evans Bridge are the ruins of Harrisville on the Oswego River, where a paper mill once stood, and a little further up river is the site of Martha, an iron town of which almost no traces remain.

Click for detailed descriptions of hikes along the trail.

Sections of the Batona Trail have been re-routed.  Check with the park's website (link in Contact Information) for map revision information and updates. Maps and books are for sale at the park office.



There are many access points to Wharton State Forest. To reach Batsto, follow the signs from Exit 52 of the Garden State Parkway. Access to Evans Bridge is via County 563 [Green Bank- Chatsworth Road], where there is parking at Evans Bridge, or from County 679 [Harrisville-Chatsworth Road], where there is room for several cars to park along the road at Harrisville.

Contact Information:NJ DEP, Division of Parks and Forestry
Fees:Some times and places; check with park

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

A hike suggestion from Atsion

Today we hiked from the park office at Atsion to the Carranza Monument and back ....about 10 miles round trip.  From Atsion, head southeast on the Mullica (yellow) Trail for .4 miles until you reach an abandoned railroad with the rails still in place and pitch pines growing among the ties.  Turn left at the railroad and head northeast into the pines.  You'll cross a few streams and the Batsto River, numerous sand roads and see stands of pigmy pines and Atlantic white cedar.  The railroad will later cross its first paved road, Carranza Road.  Turn left and walk a few hundred yards northeast; the Carranza Memorial is on your left.  This hike can also be done with two cars if you leave one car at the Carranza Memorial.  We met a handful of friendly hikers and offroad vehicle drivers.

Batsto Village

From NJ Montly magazine on "Historic Batsto," by Robert Strauss, October, 2009:

"Like one of those Russian dolls, where each comes apart to expose another within, Batsto Village, nestled in the pine forests of Burlington County, is a many-layered Jersey pleasure.  The village grew up around an ironworks that dates to 1766. The original ironworks made primarily cookware and household items, but after 1776 it began supplying artillery and munitions for the Continental Army. By the middle of the nineteenth century, the iron business lagged and Batsto turned to glassmaking, but by 1867, even that had declined and the property fell into receivership."

Click here for the rest of the article.  

From the "Forums/Hike Recommendations" page

On April 15th, 2009 docmaker says:

Hello All, Last weekend, after contemplating an overnight trip on the AT from Pawling to Route 17 via public transport, Katie and I decided to rent a car instead and head down to the Pine Barrens in Batsto NJ where the weather reports were much more favorable. We parked at the Batsto Visitor's center at Wharton State Park (about a 2 hr ride from BK) and hiked out 5 miles to the Mullica River Primitive Campground. We set our packs at the site right at the bank of the river and proceeded to hike an additional 5 miles following the mullica north and around a short loop towards the lower valley forge campground and ending back at our campsite where we had left our gear just in time for dinner - (the trails here are all very well marked and you can grab a map at the Batsto center before you take off). http://www.state.nj.us/dep/parksandforests/parks/wharton.htmlThere was an out house and a water pump at the Mullica River site and although it was a really windy day there were some other backpackers and canoeists that joined us at the campground. There were even some very seasoned campers who were roasting two whole chickens over a fire. Bravo for hiking in with those chickens! Everyone was very quiet and we had an extremely peaceful rest! The next morning we had a hearty breakfast of brown sugar oatmeal and sidled up our packs and headed north along the mullica towards Atsion and then veered off again towards lower valley campground but this time instead of swinging back to the mullica, we took the pink batona trail back south to Batsto. In its entirety the Batona trail is a 50 mile long path and we only did about 7 or 8 miles of it. I would love to do the whole thing sometime, even though its sometimes easy to lose the marker (at some point we missed a turn off but ran into to some mountain bikers who helped us get back on track)...What a great trip - i highly recommend it. Very flat and sandy - like hiking on the beach but with tons of tall pines all around. There is a similar route suggested in the 50 hikes in NJ book... Also, for your general enjoyment - here is a link to a funny silent film that we made while on the trip...have fun in the pines! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dx4V6uYavmEAdam PS. This weekend we are planning a trip to Harriman. We've got our maps and we're thinking about a short hike into a shelter on friday evening and then a hike to another shelter for saturday, then hike back to our car on sunday. Anybody know of a big ol' loop that might work for us?