Batsto River: OVERNIGHT PADDLE TRIP!!! (Hampton Furnace to Batsto Lake - camp at Lower Forge)

Dochartaigh

New Member
Sep 4, 2015
14
3
45
Pennington, NJ and Levittown, PA
Planning an overnight kayak / canoe paddle trip on the Batsto River. Last time was probably 8ish years ago (and last topic I found here was from 2014), so just seeing what might have changed with the river, the sand roads, and camping since then.

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Link to larger map

To get to the Hampton Furnace put-in / start I used to take 206 to Hampton Rd. (road starts a little bit north of the Atsion Ranger Station) which runs right to Hampton Furnace. Was NO problem with my little Honda sedan. Is that still the case? The take-out / end on Batsto Lake is literally only a couple hundred yards from a main road so the end is no issue (was there just last November).

What about Lower Forge Campground? Which sites do you all like? I've read they took out a crap-ton of trees on a bunch of campgrounds... and I'm a big fan of the nice shaded sites kinda tucked into the edge of the woods if possible (and HATE a wide open campsite just in the middle of a patch of sand!)... any nice sites like that left? What are the site number(s)? My trusty YouTube site walkthrough video I used to watch is now 9 years old so doubt it looks the same now.

Last, I know water levels have been very high this week - will hopefully be acceptable when I go in a couple weeks. What do you use for the water level gauge? Still using the Mullica River Gauge? Which I have written down that 1.15 is a good level, 0.95 absolute minimum unless you want to extend your trip by a couple hours to get past even more downed trees lol...

Also found a review from 2021 that said above Lower Forge the river is impassable? Couldn't find anything about that on this site or elsewhere... but this is a hard thing to find information on... Most common problems I've had before is so many downed trees, and many times the river banks are steep so there's no way for my (now getting older) self to get out of the kayak safely (i.e. dry) to pull my kayak over those unpassable trees – which can (and has) added many, many hours to quite a few trips when they haven't been cleared for several years in a tow).

Anyway, please share any info you have. I hope others will then reference this topic and we can update it every time somebody goes so it's quasi-up to date!
 
Apr 6, 2004
3,619
564
Galloway
Wish I could be of assistance, but I've unfortunately not paddled the stretch from the furnace to Lower Forge in a number of years. Would be a shame if it were impassible now. Are any liveries still maintaining that stretch?
 

ecampbell

Piney
Jan 2, 2003
2,849
973
It is not maintained. It will be cold now, low from the sun and dark. In the summer dark and low would be welcomed' you will get a workout so I would wait until August. then it will be great.
 

Dochartaigh

New Member
Sep 4, 2015
14
3
45
Pennington, NJ and Levittown, PA
Wish I could be of assistance, but I've unfortunately not paddled the stretch from the furnace to Lower Forge in a number of years. Would be a shame if it were impassible now. Are any liveries still maintaining that stretch?
Pineland Adventures is the only one I know of which does the Batsto, but they only do the lower day-trip part of it (Quaker Bridge to Batsto Lake).

Last time I did a non-maintained stretch (Wading River YEARS ago, Speedwell to Hawkin Bridge) it literally took us, no joke, 8-9 hours I think!!! The time I did it before that it was like 4-5 taking it really easy... extra time was because of how many trees were blocking the way...

It is not maintained. It will be cold now, low from the sun and dark. In the summer dark and low would be welcomed' you will get a workout so I would wait until August. then it will be great.
Have you run the river recently (or have friends who have) to know that it's no longer maintained? Would also LOVE to know if there's another forum/group which has info like this if that's where you got the info! I've been looking! ;) -- And if you do have firsthand knowledge, how bad is it? Only a couple downed trees or like 20+ or whatever in that first stretch (Hampton to Lower Forge)?

For going in August, I would LOVE to! The problem is that water levels historically make the river nearly unpassable (like without killing yourself lol... these trips are supposed to be relaxing in my eyes) from ~June to ~October usually. This chart was last year for example... see how much of the nice-weather months it's below 1 foot water level? (0.95 -measured from the Mullica/Atsion gauge- was the lowest I've done it, in a higher-sitting 15' expedition kayak none-the-less, where I didn't have to scramble over tons of obstacles left and right - I try to aim for 1.15 usually tbh).

aeDiMtal.png


Of course this varies year to year; the year before last was all crazy spikes up and down!... but even for years like that, the problem is the water drains SO fast, I would literally have to wait until we had a torrential downpour for like 2-days straight, then immediately drop everything, possibly even take off work, just to do an overnight trip... because if you wait even a few days and the water level is most likely back down to a too-low level again – it's crazy! ...not to mention how you have to have a campsite reserved to do an overnight trip (which like I just found out... 2 weeks from now ALL of Mullica Camp is sold out – thus why I'm asking about the Batsto River instead which still has campsites open to reserve).
 
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