I received the Wharton State Forest
maps I had requested from the State Park Service this week. They sent some very nice, detailed maps. So we headed south. It's been a while since I hiked in southern NJ and my memory of that was being attacked by biting flies the entire time. None of that this time of year! The park has many tick warning signs posted but I didn't see a single one so hopefully they are gone by now also.
To get there: Garden State Parkway to exit 52. From the exit ramp, follow the signs for Batsto Village. It's about 14 miles from the parkway but there are plenty of signs to follow so it's very easy to find.
The trailhead is at the far end of the Batsto Village parking lot.
The trails are very well defined and well marked. We did a 12.5 mile hike as follows:
From the trailhead follow the RED/WHITE/BLUE trails
.22 miles - right on RED
.45 miles - RED comes back to WHITE/BLUE, right on WHITE/BLUE
1.0 miles - BLUE goes to the right, keep straight on WHITE
1.8 miles - WHITE joins the PINK Batona Trail, keep straight on PINK
6.1 miles - left on GREEN/PURPLE (***see warning below)
6.2 miles - left on GREEN
7.2 miles - left on YELLOW
10.65 miles - at this point we would have continued on YELLOW to YELLOW/ORANGE but there was a sign posted that this part of the trail was closed due to flooding. The YELLOW trail was detoured on sand roads which was disappointing.
11.9 miles - YELLOW DETOUR comes to the point where YELLOW/ORANGE ends at historic Batsto Village - continue through Batsto Village. Many of the restored buildings were open for viewing and you can walk on in on your own.
12.5 miles - back at parking lot/visitor center
***Shortly after turning on to the GREEN/PURPLE trail you will need to cross a bridge. If you have a dog with you, the dog will most likely not be able to walk on the grating.
Be prepared to have to do this: (Thank goodness my son came along - no way could I have carried a 65 pound dog over that bridge!)