Tom’s Pond Trail – Batsto, Burlington County, NJ
Distance: 1.8 miles round trip.
Difficulty: 2 of 10. – Great hike to do with kids.
Terrain – Swamps and pitch pines
Trailheads – 39°38’37.13″N, 74°39’17.00″W (Batsto Lake Road, just past the end of the old workers cabins). NOTE – if you park at the visitor’s center lot, you’ll have about a mile to walk through Batsto Village before you get to the trailhead. It’s a lovely walk, just be warned it makes this a three mile trek.
Markings – Orange blazes.
Description: A nice short hike of just over a mile, the Tom’s Pond Trail packs a lot into a little.
The trail heads out into a swamp immediately, before coming to the Mullica River, which it crosses on a footbridge.
After the bridge, you’ll walk along the edge of this river through some lovely pine forest. The yellow Mullica River Trail splits off to the right, but stick with the orange. Just after this is a lovely view downstream.
From here, the trail crosses another swamp (look here for pitcher plants. You’ll know you’re in the right spot because there is a giant educational signboard talking about carnivorous plants) before starting a short loop through the pines.
Once you complete this loop, simply head back the way you came, 0.4 miles or so back to the trailhead.
Check out nearby: This is right on the edge of Batsto Village. If you’ve never been there (or even if you have), it’s a must-see for the Pine Barrens. Explore the old outbuildings, see the movie at the visitor’s center, and tour the mansion if any slots are available. If you’d like to expand your hike, several loops through Batsto Lake start at the Visitor’s Center lot (will be posted at some point) or the 53 mile Batona Trail runs through the picnic area, which you can hike a section of.
Mullica River, swamps with pitcher plants, scrub pines.
On this hike after you cross the long foot bridge and go up the little hill and down and around on the trail (not following the river trail to your right but instead going straight) for a few minutes you’ll come to a wider part in the stream. There’s a swamp upriver from this section that is impassible.There used to be a bridge here and if they are still up, signs saying “Bridge out. Trail closed.” If you cross the river here where the bridge used to be (it’s wide and the beach across goes uphill), which I think is where you mention the swamp you’ll quickly see a river to your right with a wide, crescent moon beach. Continue straight and follow that trail around. The trail passes through open areas and forested paths. Eventually it crosses two small foot bridges and ends up at Constable bridge. Follow the trail markers towards the right and you’ll end up back at Batsto village. Good hike, about 5-6 miles. We forged the stream in snow, slightly downstream via fallen tree branches. I’d recommend this in warm weather for kids and dogs. In winter it would be difficult to forge the river with kids and/or dogs and not have them get wet.
Sounds fun! If I’m picturing right, that was the path of the Mullica River Trail before the bridge was destroyed…