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“Best part of New Jersey”

Wharton State Forest
Ranked #2 of 3 things to do in Batsto
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Attraction details
Owner description: This outdoor recreational area has rivers for canoeing and fishing, 500 miles of unpaved roads for mountain biking and horseback riding, and scenic trails for hiking and viewing wildlife.
Reviewed July 2, 2013

New Jersey does not bring to mind wilderness, but that's just what Wharton State Forest is. Approximately one bazillion acres (source needed) of beautiful woodlands with lots and lots of activities. This is not a "take a paved road and come up to playing fields and a playground" type of park. It's a "your car can get stuck in the deep dark woods and the Jersey Devil will eat you" type of park. I've been fortunate enough to have been going into it in all four seasons of the year for over twenty years.

Swimming - lovely Atsion Lake (fee - lifeguards) or Lake Oswego (no fee - no lifeguards).

Canoeing and/or Kayaking - The Wading River, Oswego River, Batsto River, Mullica River (can do an overnight on this one), Harrisville Pond, Batsto Lake, Lake Oswego... the list goes on and on.

Camping - there is "civilized" camping at Atsion Family Campground or wilderness camping (pit toilet and usually a water pump) at Goshen Pond, Batona Campground, Bodine Field, Hawkins Bridge, Buttonwood Camp, and Godfrey Bridge. Hike in only camping at Lower Forge and Mullica River Camp and Canoe in Camping at Mullica River Camp and Bodine Field. Primitive camping is $3 per person, per night, with a stupid $10 fee being assessed for registering starting this year (thanks privatization).

Hiking - Tons and tons of it, from the Batona Trail to the Quaker Bridge Trail, and the various trails around Batsto and Atsion. Can also just follow old dirt roads.

Backpacking - the 53 mile Batona Trail runs mostly through Wharton State Forest (I've done it twice end-to-end, a very nice journey. It's harder than you think though, don't be deceived by the flatness of South Jersey). Can also backpack for one night into Mullica River Camp.

Exploring - this entire area was once an industrial powerhouse that helped arm the Continental Army during the War for Independence. Many of the old roads and many clues to the towns and factories that once stood here are still to be found. Be careful offroading! "Sugar sand" has trapped many a vehicle deep in the woods. Also, if you aren't sure where you are going, a topo map and compass or a real GPS (not a car directions one) is definitely a good idea. I've gone without crossing a paved road for three hours before back there.

History - Batsto Village is an absolute gem, kind of like Colonial Williamsburg without all the reenactors. Atsion village also has many remains, and more history is scattered throughout the park.

Biking - miles and miles and miles of paved backcountry roads to ride your motorized or nonmotorized bike through. Also has trails for mountain biking.

Like I said, I've been going for more than twenty years, and I've never run out of activities or places to explore in Wharton.

Date of experience: July 2013
16  Thank mikebickerson
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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47 - 51 of 62 reviews

Reviewed June 23, 2013

We regularly visit Crowley's Landing in Wharton State Forest. We take sand chairs and a picnic lunch and watch the boats. Batsto is nice as well, many hiking trails and places to sit along the water. The canoeing is awesome as well, and reasonably priced.

Date of experience: June 2013
Thank BillsSharona
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 9, 2013

The small things are the marvels in this forest. Check out the orchids and wildflowers. Just sit by a stream and listen to the flowing water/.

Date of experience: May 2013
2  Thank james_wert
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 22, 2013

Wharton State Forest is an absolute gem. Our family horseback rides in Atsion. It's a beautiful area to take the children to enjoy nature and is free!!! I hope NJ continues to protect this piece of heaven!!

Date of experience: April 2013
Thank KathyCr1007
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed March 23, 2013

I love this area for experience the unique ecology and history of the Pine Barrens a surprisingly undeveloped, wild area in the middle of the densely populated Northeast. Hiking over the white sandy soil through the distorted scrub pines, one can imagine how legends such as the Jersey Devil were born. Hike to the top of Apple Pie Hill and view the vastness of the Pinelands almost unbroken except for cranberry bogs and fields or blueberries which were first cultivated here. In addition to hiking; the Pinelands of Wharton State Forest also offers, wildlife viewing, camping, swimming, canoeing, fishing, hunting and touring historic small towns including Batsto Village. Just come prepared for the Jersey state bird, the mosquito, by bringing ample bug spray.

Date of experience: August 2012
2  Thank Steve1362
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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