Know the New Hiking How-tos
Wharton State Forest
There are many access points to Wharton State Forest. To reach Batsto, follow the signs from Exit 52 of the Garden State Parkway. GPS Coordinates for Visitor's Center: 39.643939, -74.646639
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.
Atsion Ranger Station -- GPS Coordinates: 39.742164, -74.725802
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.
Wharton State Forest contains over 110 miles of marked trails.
- From Batsto Village several nature trails offer the opportunity to observe pitcher plants, sphagnum moss, and "British soldiers" [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.
Use the Web Map link on this site for an on-line trail map prepared by the NJ DEP.
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, these businesses and properties 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 Village was 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.
- Atsion, the site of another Pinelands iron town, features a manor house and several other still-standing buildings, 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.