batona trail hike

stizkidz

Piney
May 10, 2003
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Tuckerton
Please suggest for me a good starting point location for a hike on the Batona Trail. I am a beginner hiker so assume it is all "new" to me. Thanks!
 

ecampbell

Piney
Jan 2, 2003
2,494
554
1,093
Carranza Memorial to 532 is very nice, about 6 miles. No 4WD required and you will also cross over Apple Pie Hill.
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Old Crazy

Explorer
Oct 13, 2007
480
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Stinking Creek, NJ
One bit of advice I would give to anybody who is hiking the Batona Trail for the first time is to keep an eye on the pink blazes. There are a lot of fire lines and some dirt roads that intersect with the Batona Trail and it is very easy in a few spots to miss some turns and walk off the trail onto a fire line/dirt road. If you travel two tenths of a mile and don't see a pink blaze, you are off the Batona Trail and should back-track.

Water: You can get potable water at the Batsto visitors center, the Brendan Byrne vistors center, Pakim Pond (bathroom & well pump) and Batona Camp (well pump)

If you're going to hike the Batona Trail prior to the first frost (or at least prior to a few nights in a row below 40 degrees) then you need to take some precautions against insects.

Ticks: The pines are loaded with them and there are folks on this website who can attest to the fact that some do carry Lyme disease. The only insect repellant I have found that is effective against ticks is Permathrin (sprayed on your clothes only, not your skin) Wear long pants and get in the habit of checking your legs for ticks whenever you brush up against thick brush.

Chiggers: Worst months for them is August/September. Try to avoid coming into contact with weeds or tall grass when you're walking. Check your legs/shoes when you do. Again, Permathrin.

Deer flies: These will become less of a problem as we move into late summer/fall, but they can be absolutely tormenting if you catch an area where they are abundant (which is usually near water/bogs) Deer flies mostly tend to bite you from the neck up. Buy a mosquito head net at Dick's or Walmart and keep it handy with you when you're hiking.

Here are some round trip hikes you can take on the Batona Trail with brief descriptions. Distances are approximate and calculated in round trips.

1) Bass River (Coal Road) to Evans Bridge (17.5 miles): You will see two ponds and two streams on this hike. Much of this hike follows a dirt road, which minimizes your contact with vegetation and your exposure to ticks/chiggers. You can skip the first mile if you want and park on the dirt road that parallels Stage Road, right next to the Batona Trail Sign.

2) Evans Bridge to Batsto (18.5 miles) Nice variation in scenery and one of the least hiked sections of the trail because of its length, which makes it a nice place to go if you want to get away and spend some time alone in the woods with your own thoughts. This hike can be broken down into two smaller sections. Evans Bridge to Bulltown Road (12 miles) Bulltown Road to Batsto (6.5 miles)

3) Batsto to Quaker Bridge (12 -13 miles) This is my favorite hike because you have an option to return back to Batsto via another trail once you reach Quaker Bridge. Lots of opportunity to see flowing water on this hike since the Batona Trail follows the Batsto River and the alternate trail (yellow blazed trail) follows the Mullica River. If you want to return from Quaker Bridge to Batsto via the yellow trail, when you reach Quaker Bridge, follow the dirt road until you reach a green blazed trail (approx 1/4 mile north of Quaker Bridge) Follow the green trail until it merges with the yellow trail (approx 1 mile) When you reach the yellow trail turn left towards Batsto (if you turn right you will be heading towards Atsion) There are some signs hanging on trees that will confirm if you are heading towards Batsto or Atsion.

4) Carranza Memorial to Quaker Bridge (12.5 miles) The Batona Trail doesn't actually go through the Carranza Memorial, it's about 1/4 mile east of it on Carranza road. This tends to be a lesser used section of the Batona Trail. I either see nobody when I'm hiking it or 30 Boy Scouts on their way to an overnight camping trip at Lower Forge camp site.

5) Carranza Memorial to Rt 532 (10.5 miles) You'll pass Batona Camp and shortly thereafter reach a lazy little stream that makes a nice spot for a break. Part of this trail follows a stream and the overhead canopy tends to be a bit thicker. Apple Pie Fire Tower is about 4 miles down this trail.

6) Rt 532 to Rt 563 (6.6 miles) This is my least favorite section of the Batona Trail. It is all dirt roads and paved roads that go through a blueberry farm. There are homes along part of the dirt road and you will likely be greeted by growling, barking dogs behind fences in people's yards.

7) Brendan Byrne State Park Visitors Center to Rt. 563 (11.5 miles) Swampy in some areas. You can see pitcher plants growing along the banks of the east side of Pakim pond.

8) Ong's Hat to Brendan Byrne Visitors Center (9 miles) Some hilly areas here with several road crossings. More traffic noise than most of the trail.
 

Boyd

Super Moderator
Staff member
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Jul 31, 2004
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Ben's Branch, Stephen Creek
One bit of advice I would give to anybody who is hiking the Batona Trail for the first time is to keep an eye on the pink blazes. There are a lot of fire lines and some dirt roads that intersect with the Batona Trail and it is very easy in a few spots to miss some turns and walk off the trail onto a fire line/dirt road.
See, they invented this little gadget called a "gps" a few years ago. If you carry one of these and have my map installed on it, you shouldn't have too much problem staying on the trail. :D

But seriously, that is good advice. I spent many years hiking on the trail before I had a GPS, and there are indeed some confusing spots where you can make a wrong turn.

I think you'll find that the chiggers are already out in full force, or at least they certainly are down in my area.
 

Old Crazy

Explorer
Oct 13, 2007
480
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Stinking Creek, NJ
See, they invented this little gadget called a "gps" a few years ago. If you carry one of these and have my map installed on it, you shouldn't have too much problem staying on the trail. :D
I learned that the hard way. I was hiking back towards to my truck in Bass River after dark one winter evening and realized I had walked off the Batona Trail. Rather than back-track my steps, like I should have, I pressed forward, figuring I was moving in the right direction. To make a long story short, after wandering around aimlessly lost in the dark for four hours in 15 degrees, I found myself staring at a gate to the Warren Grove Air Force Base. I have hiked all over the country in remote mountain regions and areas with snow as deep as 3' and I have never had to call for help getting out of anywhere, but I was cold, numb, shivering, exhausted from hiking over 20 miles, dehydrated and had no additional clothing or fire starting materials, so I didn't think it would be a wise decision to wander away from a landmark I could identify to somebody to locate me for a pick-up. So I swallowed my pride and called for help. A Bass River State Trooper in a 4wd showed up about 45 minutes later. A few minutes after he arrived the Park Police showed up and the trooper and Park police got into a little turf war about who had jurisdiction. The Park police insisted on taking a report from me, which I gave them. The trooper drove me back to my truck. On the drive back to my truck the trooper said to me, " That was just a friendly little argument between two law enforcement agencies. Whenever a missing persons report is called in and we find a dead body, nobody wants to take the blame for it, but when the person is found alive, everybody wants to file a report and take the credit for it."

After that incident, I have always hiked with a GPS on me which has saved my bacon night hiking a few times, and I always carry some fire starters. I also became kmowlegeable in outdoor survival should I ever find myself in an emergency situation without provisions.
 
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manumuskin

Piney
Jul 20, 2003
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Old Crazy I have never been officially lost but I have been a might been confused for several hours a couple of times.Once on Dolly Sodds in wv where there was about 20 ft visibility in heavy fog,trusting my compass beyond all sense got me out and twice in south jersey swamps where general knowledge of the area and my sense of hearing got me out both times.For the record I don't think you were lost,just a might confused as i was :)
 

Teegate

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Sep 17, 2002
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This may not be the time to hike it. As Karl said the bugs are bad. I had them swarming all over me yesterday.
 

Boyd

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Jul 31, 2004
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Ben's Branch, Stephen Creek
I"ve been in the woods twice in the past week and have hardly seen a fly????
It is strange... I'm trying to understand the pattern myself. On some days they are all over the place, on other days there are none to be seen. Maybe they are only bad during certain temperature/humidity combinations?
 

manumuskin

Piney
Jul 20, 2003
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seems to me the hotter and sunnier it is the worse they are.Perhaps this is because the heat has already made me miserable and now Satans spawn is being added to the fires of Hell. I know they hunt by sight and by knocking up against the brush they are hiding under the leaves in.I have seen them hand upside down under huckleberry leaves to keep in the shade.When I drive down tight roads during fly season I soon have dozens around each side view mirror that i assume I am knocking off the bushes as I go by.If I disembark immediately upon stopping they are all over me but if I shut the car off and wait a couple minutes most of em leave.As long as the car is running it seems to hold their interest.
 

Jersey Jeff

Explorer
Jun 22, 2012
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I posted this hike last year. I think the total length was closer to 12 miles, but hiking 12 miles in the Pine Barrens is much, much easier than hiking 12 miles in the rocky, elevated terrain of North Jersey.

I hate hot weather (unless I am on the beach) so I do not hike between Memorial Day and Labor Day. I generally save my Pine Barrens hikes for cooler weather - less bugs, less water to pack and less people. I took the family on a fantastic hike in January on the Batona Trail and the air temps were in the 60s!
 

manumuskin

Piney
Jul 20, 2003
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millville nj
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I posted this hike last year. I think the total length was closer to 12 miles, but hiking 12 miles in the Pine Barrens is much, much easier than hiking 12 miles in the rocky, elevated terrain of North Jersey.

I hate hot weather (unless I am on the beach) so I do not hike between Memorial Day and Labor Day. I generally save my Pine Barrens hikes for cooler weather - less bugs, less water to pack and less people. I took the family on a fantastic hike in January on the Batona Trail and the air temps were in the 60s!
I have walked all those trails but never as a loop.I had never thought of it but it would make a nice day hike llop.Thanks for the idea JJ!
 

piker56

Explorer
Jan 13, 2006
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Winslow
[quote="Boyd, post: 100557, member: 127" I think you'll find that the chiggers are already out in full force, or at least they certainly are down in my area.[/quote]

Boy are you right. I got chigged pretty good this past Sunday.
Greg