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...
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.
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.
Just ahead, 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 pink 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
Parallel two Pine Barrens rivers on this hike with a flat pathway
Whether you are going for a day hike or backpacking overnight, it is good practice to carry what we call The Hiking Essentials. These essentials will help you enjoy your outing more and will provide basic safety gear if needed. There may also be more essentials, depending on the season and your needs.
Hiking Shoes or Boots
Water - Two quarts per person is recommended in every season. Keep in mind that fluid loss is heightened in winter as well as summer. Don't put yourself in the position of having to end your hike early because you have run out of water.
Map - Know where you are and where you are going. Many of our hiking areas feature interconnecting network of trails. Use a waterproof/tear-resistant Tyvek Trail Conference map if available or enclose your map in a Ziplock plastic bag. If you have a mobile device, download Avenza’s free PDF Maps app and grab some GPS-enhanced Trail Conference maps (a backup Tyvek or paper version of the map is good to have just in case your batteries die or you don't have service). Check out some map-reading basics here.
Food - Snacks/lunch will keep you going as you burn energy walking or climbing. Nuts, seeds, and chocolate are favorites on the trail.
Sunscreen and insect repellent
Rain Gear and Extra Clothing - Rain happens. So does cold. Be prepared for changing weather. Avoid cotton--it traps water against your skin and is slow to dry. If you are wearing wet cotton and must return to your starting point, you risk getting chills that may lead to a dangerous hypothermia. Choose synthetic shirts, sweaters and/or vests and dress in layers for easy on and off.
Compass - A simple compass is all you need to orient you and your map to magnetic north.
Light - A flashlight or small, lightweight headlamp will be welcome gear if you find yourself still on the trail when darkness falls. Check the batteries before you start out and have extras in your pack.
First Aid Kit - Keep it simple, compact, and weatherproof. Know how to use the basic components.
Firestarter and Matches - In an emergency, you may need to keep yourself or someone else warm until help arrives. A firestarter (this could be as simple as leftover birthday candles that are kept inside a waterproof container) and matches (again, make sure to keep them in a waterproof container) could save a life.
Knife or Multi-tool - You may need to cut a piece of moleskin to put over a blister, repair a piece of broken equipment, or solve some other unexpected problem.
Emergency Numbers - Know the emergency numbers for the area you're going to and realize that in many locations--especially mountainous ones, your phone will not get reception.
Common Sense - Pay attention to your environment, your energy, and the condition of your companions. Has the weather turned rainy? Is daylight fading? Did you drink all your water? Did your companion fail to bring rain gear? Are you getting tired? Keep in mind that until you turn around you are (typically) only half-way to completing your hike--you must still get back to where you started from! (Exceptions are loop hikes.)
Check the weather forecast before you head out. Know the rules and regulations of the area.
The Leave No Trace Seven Principles
- Know the regulations and special concerns for the area you'll visit.
- Prepare for extreme weather, hazards, and emergencies.
- Schedule your trip to avoid times of high use.
- Visit in small groups when possible. Consider splitting larger groups into smaller groups.
- Repackage food to minimize waste.
- Use a map and compass to eliminate the use of marking paint, rock cairns or flagging.
- Durable surfaces include established trails and campsites, rock, gravel, dry grasses or snow.
- Protect riparian areas by camping at least 200 feet from lakes and streams.
- Good campsites are found, not made. Altering a site is not necessary.
- In popular areas:
- Concentrate use on existing trails and campsites.
- Walk single file in the middle of the trail, even when wet or muddy.
- Keep campsites small. Focus activity in areas where vegetation is absent.
- In pristine areas:
- Disperse use to prevent the creation of campsites and trails.
- Avoid places where impacts are just beginning.
- Pack it in, pack it out. Inspect your campsite and rest areas for trash or spilled foods. Pack out all trash, leftover food and litter.
- Deposit solid human waste in catholes dug 6 to 8 inches deep, at least 200 feet from water, camp and trails. Cover and disguise the cathole when finished.
- Pack out toilet paper and hygiene products.
- To wash yourself or your dishes, carry water 200 feet away from streams or lakes and use small amounts of biodegradable soap. Scatter strained dishwater.
- Preserve the past: examine, but do not touch cultural or historic structures and artifacts.
- Leave rocks, plants and other natural objects as you find them.
- Avoid introducing or transporting non-native species.
- Do not build structures, furniture, or dig trenches.
- Campfires can cause lasting impacts to the backcountry. Use a lightweight stove for cooking and enjoy a candle lantern for light.
- Where fires are permitted, use established fire rings, fire pans, or mound fires.
- Keep fires small. Only use sticks from the ground that can be broken by hand.
- Burn all wood and coals to ash, put out campfires completely, then scatter cool ashes.
- Observe wildlife from a distance. Do not follow or approach them.
- Never feed animals. Feeding wildlife damages their health, alters natural behaviors, and exposes them to predators and other dangers.
- Protect wildlife and your food by storing rations and trash securely.
- Control pets at all times, or leave them at home.
- Avoid wildlife during sensitive times: mating, nesting, raising young, or winter.
- Respect other visitors and protect the quality of their experience.
- Be courteous. Yield to other users on the trail.
- Step to the downhill side of the trail when encountering pack stock.
- Take breaks and camp away from trails and other visitors.
- Let nature's sounds prevail. Avoid loud voices and noises.
The Trail Conference is a 2015 Leave No Trace partner.
(c) Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics: www.LNT.org.