The Batona Trail is one of the closest backpacking trails to Philadelphia. This trail travels for 53.5 miles through southern New Jersey in an area called the Pine Barrens. The name Batona comes from a combination of the words: “BAck TO NAture”. The trail was created in 1961 by the Batona Hiking Club. Since then, the trail has been expanded to travel from Brendan T. Byrne State Forest through Wharton State Forest to Bass River State Forest.
What Makes It Great
The Batona Trail is a great way to experience the Pine Barrens (aka the Pinelands). The Pine Barrens is an interesting area. The nutrient poor, sandy soil makes it hard to grow crops, so much of the forest was never developed like the rest of New Jersey. The Pine Barrens cover over 1.1 million acres and 22% of New Jersey's land area. The trees here are mostly pine, oak, and Atlantic white cedar along sources of water. In some spots the pine trees are very short due to the frequent forest fires that happen naturally during dry summers. The Pine Barrens is home to many rare plants and animals. Some of the rare plants include orchids like the Pink Lady’s Slipper and some carnivorous plants. Rare animals that live in the Pine Barrens include the Pine Barrens Tree Frog and bobcats (which were once believed to be locally extinct). The Batona Trail is marked by pink blazes and has many campsites and parking lots along the way.
Who is Going to Love It
The Batona trail is a very flat trail, making it a great intro to backpacking. Anyone comfortable with carrying a pack, camping, and walking for long periods of time will be able to complete the Batona Trail. All of the parking areas along the trail also make hiking sections of the Batona Trail great for day hikes. Sections of the Batona Trail and other trails in the Pine Barrens are also good for cross country skiing in the winter.
Directions, Parking, & Regulations
The Batona Trail has many spots to park along the way. The location listed on the map is the northmost end of the trail. To get there from Philadelphia, take I-676 to I-76 E to I-295 N. Follow 295 N for 13 miles and get off exit 40A onto NJ 38 E. Follow 38 E for 9.4 miles, continue onto S Pemberton Road for 2.1 miles, then continue onto W Hampton Street for 0.7 miles. Turn right onto E Hampton Street/Magnolia Road. Follow Magnolia Road for 5.3 miles and an entrance to Brendan T. Byrne State Forest will be on your left. For more parking, camping, and other information, refer to the Batona Trail Brochure listed in the links.