Wharton State Forest

With the Batsto Village, a once-vital ironworks camp, Wharton State Forest offers history as well as nature.

Photo by Steve Greer.

Wharton State Forest
(Atlantic, Burlington, and Camden Counties)
Batsto Office: 609-561-0024
Atsion Office: 609-268-0444
Size of park: 122,463 acres

Wharton is New Jersey’s largest expanse of state forest, the granddaddy of the Garden State’s wilderness experience, with hiking, canoeing, camping, recreation areas, and historic sites.

The most popular historic site is Batsto Village (batstovillage.org), located in Washington Township. Open seven days a week year round, Batsto is the preserved remnants of a once-vital Pine Barrens ironworks village. Visitors can explore the village independently or take a free guided tour, which includes a stop at the eighteenth-century Batsto Mansion.

The Batsto Country Living Fair will take place October 17 at the village. It’s a juried arts and crafts exhibition that includes an antique farm and steam-engine display, food, music, and adult and children’s activities.
Atsion Lake is the top spot for swimming, fishing, canoeing, camping, or day-trip picnicking. The shores of Atsion are dotted with nine state-owned log cabins of varying sizes and 50 individual campsites, which can be reserved from April 1 to December 15. Godfrey Bridge offers 49 tent and trailer sites with water, picnic tables, fire rings, and pit toilets. Visitors can also opt for one of the park’s nine “primitive camping” areas—some of which can only be accessed by hiking, canoeing, or horseback.

For hikers, Wharton contains 37 miles of the 50-mile Batona Trail, an undisturbed footpath that passes through some of the Pine Barrens’ most tranquil areas, connecting Wharton, Brendan T. Byrne, and Bass River State forests. But be forewarned: A trail map is essential.

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