Sunday, March 19, 2017

Franklin Parker Preserve, NJ - Batona Trail from Apple Pie Hill to Chatsworth Lake

Franklin Parker Preserve - New Jersey Conservation Foundation
Batona Trail - NJ Department of Environmental Protection

GPS Coordinates 39.80772, -74.59280
Parking off of White Horse Road at the base of Apple Pie Hill where the Batona Trail crosses over.

Batona Trail Reroute Map Franklin Parker Preserve - New Jersey Conservation Foundation

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HIKE DISTANCE:  7.2 miles (3.6 miles each way)

From the parking area, proceed north on the Batona Trail beyond the barrier.
Although it doesn't look steep in the picture, it's a steep climb up Apple Pie Hill.  Well, steep for the pancake flat Pine Barrens.
Looking back at White Horse Road waaaaaay down below.
Almost at the top.
The fire tower at the top of Apple Pie Hill.
You used to be able to climb the fire tower.  Now there are all kinds of mixed signals - a NO TRESPASSING sign, a WELCOME sign inviting visitors to climb the fire tower and a chain link fence with a padlock.
Turn around and say "CHEESE!" 
Back on the Batona Trail at mile marker 35.
It starts out as a sand road but this is the only sand road part for this section.
The Batona trail leaves the sand road to the left and it's pine needle covered paths the rest of the way.
Unlike the section we hiked last week, this part is in great shape with minimal blow downs and a trail wide enough for the wheelchair.
No booties needed on the soft sand/pine needle surface.
Mile Marker 36
Coming up on Route 532.
Crossing Route 532 which is not bad at all because traffic does not seem to be very heavy and there is a very long sight distance.
Although this is now over, in case you were wondering about hiking during hunting season here.
Very few of these along the way.
Time for a drink.
Crossing Russ Anderson Road which is a low traffic local road.
Mile Marker 37
How I even saw this balloon is beyond me because it was on the other side of a mound of sand.  I must have special Mylar balloon radar.
Balloon #20 of 2017.
There is one wet/flooded section of trail with bypass trails off to the side and in this case, some elevation.
Mile Marker 37.5
A very flooded section with the bypass to the left a little flooded but passable for me without getting my shoes wet.
But she doesn't mind we paws so have at it!
I was thinking mile marker 38 was going to be our return point but first...
... a break while I compare the GPS to the map to be sure this is where I think I can access to do the next section another time...
... and to see if we can cross this since we will have to do that the next time.
Indeed, we could.  I would just have to leave her and go back for the wheelchair but I think that is doable.
On the other side of that bridge, a nice view of a cranberry bog or the northern part of Chatsworth Lake, not sure which it is.
We headed back over to where we left our stuff but Shawnee wanted back across that bridge something terrible. I know she wanted in that water but it was way too deep.
She will have to be satisfied with the wet bypass trail on the way back.
Surprisingly, the only time she got stuck on a tree today.  She has become much better at judging the width of those wheels.
Crossing back over Route 532.  I had thought this would be another parking option and there were 2 cars parked off the road on the way back.
Back on the sand road to Apple Pie Hill.
Where the Batona Trail leaves to the left up to the fire tower, we continued straight on the sand road because it was hard to get through the barrier with the wheelchair earlier so I wanted to avoid that.
That sand road swings around for a nice, smooth ascent to the fire tower with plenty of room around the barrier.
Then back down Apple Pie Hill to our car.


  1. Hi Daniela -- another wonderful hike in South Jersey and the Batona Trail! I did a similar hike back in 2014; the trail itself looks like it hasn't changed too much. (I do really appreciate the mile markers that were put up; probably soon after the 2 reroutes [in 2012] were complete.)

    Shawnee looked like she really did enjoy the soft pine needle covered portions of the trails! Sort of reminds me of walking to the beach in shoes or flip flops, then kicking them off when you hit the soft sandy beach...definitely a slice of "paradise"! It also seems like that flooded area you went around was there back in 2014 as well...maybe time for a mini reroute (that is -- maybe just make the bypass the actual trail??)

    Oh, and a small tidbit regarding Apple Pie Hill fire tower (pardon me in advance if you already know the scoop): The gate went up sometime last November. I know you've been to APH at least a couple times before, so you've probably seen the graffiti on the tower and the horrible trash (including old TV's and such dropped from the top of the tower by not-so-cool people.) Well, the inevitable happened, and the rangers closed off the entrance; however, one can still climb up...providing the tower is manned for the day. Or, I think there's a way to make an appointment, but I don't remember how. Hopefully, this clears up the "mixed messages" regarding APH! ;-)

    Keep up the great work on the adventures!

    -- Jim

    1. I had a feeling it had everything to do with vandalism and trash. I have never climbed a fire tower because well, I just can't! Get weak in the knees and have to scoot back down on my rear end and that is from the second level that I made it to the last time I was there. I do see that I did not read down far enough on that one sign and it does say when the tower is manned. Oh well, will probably be back to South Jersey next weekend because it might take until July for all of this snow to melt up here.


  2. Hi Daniela, It looked like a nice hike by the lake and the cranberry bog. Shawnee is doing so well. I'm always happy to see that. God Bless both of you. Thanks for sharing! Joanne from NJ