Harrisville Pond Lake Trail/Batona/Martha Rd Loop – Woodland Township, Burlington County, NJ
Distance: 4.15 miles
Type: Loop trail, sand paths
Difficulty: 4 of 10.
Total score: 6 of 10.Terrain – pinelands, lake.
Trailheads – Parking area at Harrisville Pond – 39°39’57.04″N, 74°31’27.97″W
Directions: Located off of Chatsworth Road, Rt 679
Standouts – Harrisville Pond, Martha Furnace, Oswego River, Harrisville ruins
Markings – Start on Lake Trail (Blue), then Batona Trail (pink), then down Martha Road (no markings)
Description: This is a nice, easy 4 mile hike through some lovely areas. You’ll park at the parking area at Harrisville Pond. The trailhead is in the back corner of the “lot” to the left of the left-most dam. There is no map or marker at the beginning of this trail (the Lake Trail), just look for blue blazes.
You’ll start by following the edge of the pond. You’ll likely see canoes and kayaks floating along. The trail follows the lake for a short way, then hangs a left to follow an old channel for water for one of the nearby mills. You’ll parallel this channel for a while, then cross a footbridge and “T” with the pink trail – the Batona. Overall, the Lake Trail is only 3/4 of a mile long.
Upon reaching the Batona Trail, hang a right and follow along. This section is well blazed, follow the pink markers and you can’t go wrong. Keep an eye out, I’ve seen turtles, deer, turkeys, and other wildlife in this area. You’ll walk for about a mile and a half before you hit your next target – Martha Bridge and the Oswego River.
Just past Martha Bridge is the fenced in remains of Martha. The state did an archeology study on them back in the 1960s or so, then covered them over in huge piles of dirt to keep them from being disturbed. Martha Furnace was active from 1793 to 1845. Check the ground under your feet and you’ll find cast of bits of iron slag, or leftovers from the iron making process.
Follow the Batona past Martha. Just a few hundred yards from the ruins, a road will head off to the right in a straight line. This is Martha Road and your path back to your starting point. Just walk down it for a mile to a mile and half until it ends at the blacktop of Rt 679. Along the way, notice the channels dug off to the right of the road to increase water power to the mills.
When you reach the highway, consider crossing to check out the ruins of the Harrisville Paper mill across the road. If you aren’t interested, turn right and follow the road back to where your car is parked.
Overall recommendation: Nice easy day hike. Can combine this with a stop in Chatsworth to visit Buzby’s Chatsworth General Store, a visit to Apple Pie Hill and the firetower, a dog and a soda at Hot Diggity Dog, or a stop at nearby Lake Oswego. Lots and lots to do around here!