The Pine Barrens

Sunrise on the Batona.

Sure, the pine barrens aren’t as sexy as some natural areas in North Jersey.  You won’t find many clear flowing rivers (just iced tea colored), mama bears followed by lines of cubs, or breathtaking vistas.

 Instead, it’s hundreds of square miles of pine trees, the more subtle beauty of a pitch pine, the reclaimed cranberry bog, the carnivorous plant, the nearly forgotten ruins of a once prosperous town.  It’s the wild flowers at Friendship, the collapsing packing house at Whitesbog, the abandoned tracks of the Central Railroad of New Jersey, and the sweeping views from Apple Pie Hill.  It’s the cedar water of the Wading River, the iron slag along the trail at Martha, the cedar swamps at Wells Mills (oh, how I love cedar swamps), and the pine snakes by Bricksbrae.  It’s hearing coyotes howling while camping at Bodine, a dip in the river while backpacking through Lower Forge, watching the American Legion Post carry Emilio Carranza’s body from the woods yet another July day, the beautiful stars in winter above Goshen Pond, looking at the raccoon prints in the fireplace bricks at Buzbys General Store, or the peeping of the frogs in the Spring.

If you haven’t spent time here, or haven’t spent enough time here, or simply are looking for some places you haven’t explored, here’s a great place to get started, including – hiking, backpacking, canoeing/kayaking, camping, history, and the Jersey Devil.

The Basics

Best Hikes in the Pine Barrens – 14 Favorites   – my favorite hikes in the pines, but far from all the good ones.

Six Pine Barrens Ghost Towns to Explore – six of my favorite pine barrens ghost towns, all easy to access.

The Batona Trail – South Jersey’s premier long distance hiking trail (also, only long distance hiking trail), great to backpack or to hike one.

Hiking

Burlington County

Bass River Township –
Lake Trail (Harrisville Pond)/Batona/Martha Road Loop – Bass River Township, NJ

Eastampton –
Historic Smithville Park Trails – Eastampton, NJ – 4.1 miles of trails

Evesham Township (Marlton) –
Black Run Preserve Trails – Marlton, NJ – at least 7 miles of trails
Cold Spring Preserve – Marlton, NJ – at least 2 1/2 miles of trails.

Hainsport –
Rancocas State Park (South End) – Hainsport, NJ – 8.2 miles of trails.
Long Bridge Park – Hainsport, NJ

Mansfield Township –
Crystal Lake County Park – Mansfield, NJ – 3.5 miles of trails

Medford –
Hartford Crossing Trails – 1.25 miles and growing!
Miriam and Melvin Wurst Nature Preserve – Medford, NJ – 1 mile of trails
Cedar Run Wildlife Refuge – Medford, NJ – 3 trails. Guest post by Roger!
Medford Wildlife Management Area – Medford, NJ – we did 1 mile of hiking, but miles and miles of unmarked trails here
Cowan Preserve – Medford, NJ – trails marked, but overgrown. Did not get far in.

Pemberton Township (Browns Mills, etc)- 
Old Bog Trail – Whitesbog, Browns Mills, NJ
Evert Trail Preserve – Pemberton, NJ – 1.5 miles official (1.9 according to my gps)
North Branch Preserve – Pemberton, NJ – 1.1 miles total (lollipop trail).
Pemberton Rail Trail – Pemberton, NJ – 3.2 miles out-and-back, 3.8 miles by looping off trail through town.
Stavola Beachwoods Preserve – Pemberton, NJ – about 1.6 miles

Shamong (Atsion, etc)-
A Walk Through Atsion – Wharton State Forest – Shamong, NJ – 1 mile or so
Red Atsion Lake Trail and Blue Atsion Lake Trail – Atsion Recreation Area, Wharton State Forest – Shamong, NJ – 1 mile
Pipers Corner Preserve – Shamong, NJ – 1.5 miles

Southampton (Vincentown, etc) –
Eagles’ Walk – Vincentown, NJ – 1.7 miles
Bishop Farmstead Walking Trail – Pinelands Preservation Alliance Headquarters, Southampton, NJ – 0.6 miles

Tabernacle (Indian Mills, etc) –
Batona Trail – Carranza Memorial to Apple Pie Hill – Wharton State Forest, Tabernacle, NJ
Friendship Creek Preserve – Tabernacle, NJ – no marked trails, but miles of wandering

Washington Township (Batsto, etc)
Batsto Lake White Trail – Batsto, NJ – 4 miles – Guest post by Marybeth!
Batsto Lake Blue Trail – Batsto, NJ – 2 miles
Batsto Lake Trail (Red) – Batsto, NJ – 1 mile.
Tom’s Pond Trail – Batsto, NJ
Mullica River Trail – Washington Township to Shamong, NJ – 9.5 miles

Westampton –
Rancocas State Park (North End) including Rancocas Nature Center – Westampton, NJ

Woodland Township (Chatsworth, New Lisbon, Brendan Bryne/Lebanon State Forest, etc)
Batona Trail – Parker Preserve – New Lisbon, NJ – 8.2 miles
Cranberry Trail – Brendan Byrne State Forest – New Lisbon, NJ – 6 miles
Mount Misery Trail – New Lisbon, NJ – 8.5 miles (10 miles to finish loop)
Old Bog Trail – Whitesbog Village, New Lisbon, NJ – 0.4 miles
Red Trail – Franklin Parker Preserve – Chatsworth, NJ – 6 miles (guest post by James! Thanks!)
White Trail – Franklin Parker Preserve – Chatsworth, NJ – 3.5 miles
Michael Huber Prairie Warbler Preserve – Woodland Township, NJ – 13 miles of trails

Ocean County

Barnegat Township – 
Cloverdale Farm County Park – Barnegat Township, NJ – 1.4 mile nature trail
Lochiel Creek County Park- Barnegat, NJ – 2.3 miles of trails

Beachwood –
Jakes Branch Park – Beachwood, NJ – 8.2 miles of trails

Ocean Township (Waretown, etc) – 
Wells Mills County Park – Waretown, NJ – 14.5 miles of trails

Atlantic County

Egg Harbor Township –
Egg Harbor Township Nature Reserve – Egg Harbor Township, NJ – 6 miles of trails here.

Hammonton – 
Hammonton Lake Park and Smith Conservation Area – Hammonton NJ – 2.2 miles

Mays Landing (Estell Manor) –
Swamp Trail/Oakridge Trail Loop – Estell Manor County Park, Mays Landing, NJ – 2 miles

Port Republic –
Mill Pond Trail – Port Republic Trail System – 1.8 miles

Weymouth Township –
Weymouth Furnace and John’s Woods Preserve – roughly 2 1/2 miles of trails

Camden County

Winslow (Sicklerville) –
Blue Hole Trail – Winslow, NJ – 1.6 miles out-and-back
Penbryn WMA – Winslow/Berlin, NJ – little more than a mile around (not counting coming back)
New Brooklyn County Park – Winslow, NJ – many miles of unmarked trails. I’ve done about 3 miles total while exploring.

Salem County

Elmer
Parvin State Park – Elmer, NJ – 15 miles of trails

Cumberland County

Maurice River Township (Delmont, etc) –
Eldora Nature Preserve – Delmont, NJ – 2.8 miles of trails

Millville –
Harold N Peek Preserve – Millville, NJ – 3 miles of trails.
Maurice River Bluffs Preserve – Millville, NJ – 5 miles of trails

Cape May County

Cape May Court House-
Lizard Tail Swamp Preserve – Cape May Courthouse, NJ – 3+ miles of trails

Dennis Township (Ocean View, etc) –
Cedar Swamp Trail – Cape May National Wildlife Refuge (Great Cedar Swamp Unit) – Ocean View, NJ – 1.2 miles

Woodbine –
Belleplain State Forest – Woodbine, NJ (47 miles of trail)

Monmouth County

Wall Township – 
Manasquan Floodplain Trail – Allaire State Park, Wall Township, NJ – 1/2 mile trail

Backpacking

The Batona Trail (South Jersey’s Premier Long Distance Backpacking Trail.  Also, South Jersey’s only long distance backpacking trail):
Batona Trail – Day 1 – Coal Road to Buttonwood Camp
Batona Trail – Day 2 – Buttonwood Camp to Lower Forge Camp
Batona Trail – Day 3 – Lower Forge Camp to Brendan Byrne Campground
Batona Trail – Day 4 – Brendan Byrne Campground to Ong’s Hat
Two Days to complete the Batona Trail = terrible idea!

Other Backpacking Trails:
Mullica River Trail – Shamong to Washington Township, NJ – 9.5 miles – 2 days

Canoeing/Kayaking

Wading River Paddle – Hawkins Bridge to Bodine Field (9.5 miles)

Mullica River Overnight Paddle – Atsion, NJ to Pleasant Mills, NJ – (10 miles)

Great Egg Harbor River Paddle – Penny Pot, Hammonton, NJ to Lake Lenape, Mays Landing, NJ – 16.9 miles

Wishbone Trail at the Forks of the Rancocas – Rancocas Creek – Mt. Holly to Hainsport, NJ (8 miles)

Medford Canoe Trail – Rancocas Creek – Medford, NJ (2 miles)

Atsion Lake Paddle – Shamong, NJ (lake is over a mile long)

Penbryn WMA Paddle – Winslow/Sicklerville, NJ (1 mile)

History

Six Pine Barrens Ghost Towns to Explore – six of my favorite pine barrens ghost towns, all easy to access.

The Hindenburg Crash Site – Lakehurst Naval Air Station – with some planning, you can check out the site where the Hindenburg tragically crashed in the 1930s.

Historic Smithville Park – Eastampton, NJ – old machine works that made the famous Star Bicycles.  Also, the old site of where a carriage was pulled by moose and a bicycle railway.

Camp Dix – WWI Souvenir Postcard collection – so you’re off to fight in the Great War in Europe?  Don’t forget your souvenir postcards of training!

Camping

Coming soon!

Festivals and Events

Lines in the Pines! – the PREMIER event for everything pine barrens!  Sunday, March 11, 2018!

Whitesbog Blueberry Festival 

Sheep Sheering – Swan Bay Folk Art Center – the Gibersons are talented artists that opened a folk art center in the late 1980s to educate the public about things like weaving and decoy carving.  Each year, they invite families and folks interested in sheep to watch the sheep get their annual haircut.

 

The Jersey Devil

Leed’s Point – Galloway Township, NJ – birthplace of the most famous monster in New Jersey