Batsto Lake (Blue) Trail – Batsto, NJ

Beautiful views of Batsto Lake on this one.

Beautiful views of Batsto Lake on this one.

Batsto Lake Trail (Blue) – Batsto, Wharton State Forest, Burlington County, NJ
Distance: 2 miles
Type: loop.
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.

Trailhead from parking lot.

Trailhead from parking lot.

Handy, dandy sign.

Handy, dandy sign.

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.

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Map:

For a (full) copy, go to the Batsto Visitor's Center, located conveniently at the other end of the parking lot you're going to for this hike anyway.

For a (full) copy, go to the Batsto Visitor’s Center, located conveniently at the other end of the parking lot you’re going to for this hike anyway.

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.

If you see this sign, you follow directions well.  Head left toward Lower Forge.

If you see this sign, you follow directions well. Head left toward Lower Forge.  The trail is slightly longer than the sign states.

Lovely pitch pine forest on either side throughout this part of the hike.

Lovely pitch pine forest on either side throughout this part of the hike.

 

Crossing the Washington Pike.

Crossing the Washington Pike.

 

The Pres loves the woods.

The Pres loves the woods.

 

And also picking up big piles of pine needles and throwing them into the air.  Weirdo.

And also picking up big piles of pine needles and throwing them into the air. Weirdo.

 

Scenery.

Scenery.

 

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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.

So seriously, turn left.

So seriously, turn left.

The trail immediately gets much narrower, with more brush and taller trees.  Follow it down, passing over Goodwater Road.

After the Gold Rush, err... split.

After the Gold Rush, err… split.

 

Much larger pines.

Much larger pines.

 

Use your Jedi powers to battle clone troopers while you're on this section of trail.

Use your Jedi powers to battle clone troopers while you’re on this section of trail.

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.

Merging onto the road.  Yes, this is a road.

Merging onto the road. Yes, this is a road.

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.

Clearing.  White Trail is back!

Clearing. White Trail is back!

 

First glimpses of the lake.  There will be lots more.

First glimpses of the lake. There will be lots more.

 

Also, you can opt for the "ride on a tree trunk" option at this part of the trail.

Also, you can opt for the “ride on a tree trunk” option at this part of the trail.

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.

Lakeside view.

Lakeside view.

 

Cedars?

Cedars?

 

Lots of views.

Lots of views.

 

Trail has gotten a lot more fun!

Trail has gotten a lot more fun!

 

The Pres battles a hill.  He won.

The Pres battles a hill. He won.

 

I love this hike.

I love this hike.

 

Trail.

Trail.

At some point, all hikers need a nice view, …

Nice view.

Nice view.

… a nice bench, ….

Nice bench.

Nice bench.

… and some water and goldfish crackers.

Water and goldfish time.

Water and goldfish time.

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.

Bridge.

Bridge.

 

Here, the Blue, White, and Red Trails come together, just like Voltron.

Here, the Blue, White, and Red Trails come together, just like Voltron.

 

Almost done!

Almost done!

 

Boardwalk.

Boardwalk.

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.

Turn onto the road.

Turn onto the road.

 

Stay right.

Stay right.

Then get your daddy to carry you on his shoulders those last few hundred feet.  To be fair, he was worried that we had left Mama at the beginning of the hike, and that we had better backtrack the almost two miles to get her.  Two year olds don't understand loops.

Did I say enjoy?  I meant, then get your daddy to carry you on his shoulders those last few hundred feet. To be fair, he was worried that we had left Mama at the beginning of the hike, and that we had better backtrack the almost two miles to get her. He kept trying to backtrack on his own, hence the carrying.  Two year olds don’t understand loops.

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.

And The Pres likes the dog dog in the Visitor's Center.

And The Pres likes the dog dog in the Visitor’s Center.

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Filed under Hiking, Outdoors., pine barrens, South Jersey

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