Batsto Lake Trail (Blue) – Batsto, Wharton State Forest, Burlington County, NJ
Distance: 2 miles
Difficulty: 3 of 10.
Total score: 7 of 10.
Terrain – Hills, swamp, pine forest, and the shore of a lake.
Trailheads – 39° 38.749’N, 74° 38.790’W. Back end of the parking lot at Batsto, furthest end from the Visitors Center.
Directions: 31 Batsto Road, Hammonton, NJ 08037
Standouts – Some nice pine forest, but mostly beautiful lake views.
Markings – Blue marks, both painted on trees, and on metal posts. Lots of of markings, to easy trail to keep track of.
Description: It was such a nice day out, we took a drive to Batsto. While the wife hung out enjoying the sunshine and fresh air, The Pres and I decided to walk the Batsto Lake Blue Trail. We’d previously walked the Batsto Lake Red Trail, so I was expecting something similar, only longer. I was in for a surprise, this trail was harder, but also awesomer.
Anyway, the three Batsto Lake Trails all start in the same exact spot – the picnic area next to the parking lot at Batsto. The Blue Trail and White Trail have head two ways from the picnic area, I highly suggest take the right split. This will go a short distance, then join up with the Batona Trail (blazed pink). Turn right. For the next half mile, the blue, white, and pink trails overlap exactly. Enjoy the pitch pine forest on either side of the road, the slight ups and downs as the trail climbs tiny hills.
After a half mile, the Blue Trail will split off to the left, while the white and pink trail continue to the left. Stick with the blue trail! If you take the white trail, you’re doubling your hike to four miles. If you take the pink, you have more than thirty to the end of the trail… then you have to turn around to come get your car.
The trail immediately gets much narrower, with more brush and taller trees. Follow it down, passing over Goodwater Road.
Shortly after crossing Goodwater Road, the trail will merge onto a road whose name I don’t know. Keep right and walk along the road. WARNING: A car did come down this road while I was on it, but it doesn’t look like many do.
You’ll pass into a clearing and, as the Blue Trail bends slightly to the left, the White Trail will merge back into one trail. These remain the same trail until the end of your hike. Within a minute of this merger, you’ll start catching glimpses of Batsto Lake through the trees.
For the next half mile or so, you’ll have many chances to glimpse the lake, as the trail climbs and dives at the edge of it, from lakeside to 20 feet above, and back again. The trail is narrow, full of roots, and super fun at this part.
At some point, all hikers need a nice view, …
… a nice bench, ….
… and some water and goldfish crackers.
So don’t neglect that. This is labeled on the map as “scenic overlook.” I won’t argue with them. From here, you’ll soon encounter a short bridge, then almost immediately merge into the Batsto Lake Red Trail. The red trail is ADA and stroller accessible, so you have easy walkings from here on out. Enjoy the little boardwalk, the interpretive plant signs, and the last views of the lake.
The trails will hit a road (a real road… or at least realer), and will turn left and follow it. Follow up to the gate, then follow the blazes to the right. You can see where you started now. Enjoy the last few hundred feet of this great hike.
IMPORTANT MILESTONES! The hike marks two important milestones!!! 1) The is The Pres’s first 2 mile hike! Hooray! The general rule for kids (if you’re a nutcase parent) is that a kid can hike as far as their age. He turned 2 only six days ago, but he’s already there. I can’t wait until he turns 17. 2) South Jersey Trails has been sharing for exactly one year now. Yay!
Overall recommendation: This is my new favorite trail at Batsto. Slightly more rugged than either of the other trails I’ve walked, with lots of payoff in the ways of lake views and typical pinelands scenery.
Nearby: Don’t miss the opportunity to check out the old iron village at Batsto at the other end of the parking lot. Beautiful old buildings, open to peak in most of the year. The Mansion is open for tours for a couple of bucks, well worth it.