Saturday, February 24, 2018

Franklin Parker Preserve, NJ - Chatsworth Lake and Batona Trail

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

GPS Coordinates 39.81384, -74.54757
Franklin Parker Preserve Parking Lot

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

HIKE DISTANCE:  10 miles

Brodie and I were filling in a section of the Batona Trail that Shawnee and I never completed.  Shawnee had hiked the northern part from Pakim Pond into Franklin Parker Preserve on 3/13/15 and the southern part from Apple Pie Hill to Chatsworth Lake on 3/19/17.
First we crossed Route 532 from the parking lot to Chatsworth Lake.
Chatsworth Lake
There is an unmarked path that we followed.
At times the path is wide.
Other times overgrown but it opens back up.
A right on top of a berm brought us to ...
... another view of Chatsworth Lake.
Heading back the other way on the berm with a creek down below to the right.
Coming up on Route 532 where I figured we could turn right to cross over the creek then right on a sand road.
Crossing over the creek on Route 532.
I was correct about the sand road on the other side, however ...
Ugh.  I knew there were no signs at the other end of this sand road since I had been there previously so assuming there were still no signs I would take that on the return route but for now, not one to ignore no trespassing signs, I continued on ...
... a short distance to the next path.
This path was clear all the way although it was taking us out of our way.  What's a few more miles?
Had we not gone this way, I would not have found balloon #15 of the year.
And what have we over to the left?
Nine more balloons.
A bit farther along ...
Balloon #25 of the year, 11 total for Franklin Parker Preserve on this hike, the most ever for one hike.
This path ends at Russ Anderson Road where the Batona Trail crosses over.
A right on the Batona Trail and now retracing a section I had already hiked with Shawnee.
There are bypasses around the flooded sections and Brodie was happy to take them.
This bypass was also flooded.
But we made our way around.
At mile marker 38 is where the other end of that sand road is that leads to Route 532 in abut a mile versus the 3 mile detour we took.  No signs saying no trespassing so will definitely take that on the way back.  For now ...
... we pick up where Shawnee and I left off last year.
Cranberry Bog
The berms around the cranberry bogs are very scenic.
Coming up on Main Street.
Immediately after crossing, a small bridge.
Brodie loves these bridges.
More scenic cranberry bogs.
At a bench the trail turns left over a bridge.
A helmet on the ground totally freaked Brodie out.
There were some soggy sections with no bypasses where we ended up getting our feet and paws wet.
And here we are at the turnaround point meeting up with the other section Shawnee and I had hiked in 2015.
Heading back.
Back over the bridge to the cranberry bog ...
...  just in time for it to start raining.
The rain had stopped by the time we reached the Main Street crossover.
Back at the bridge ...
... and mile marker 38 where we turned left on the sand road leaving the Batona Trail.
At the end of the sand road at Route 532 where the no trespass signs are, a couple and their dog entering - only people I saw the entire hike.
A left on Route 532 a short distance to the parking lot on the right at the bend ahead.
Some historical signs along the way.
Back at the parking lot.
It was a good morning of hiking even if he did get rained on.


  1. Looks like a great place to hike. Brodie is doing well. Thanks for sharing. Joanne from NJ

    1. Thanks, Joanne. It was a lovely hike that made me not notice what a dreary, gray day it was.


  2. Hi Daniela -- back down in South Jersey again, I see. Well, you really can't ever go wrong with the Batona Trail/Franklin Parker Preserve! Excellent shots, as always, and honestly -- that section where even the "bypass" was flooded? Well, I hiked this portion back in April 2014, and it was even flooded then! I'm wondering if that area was _ever_ dry (outside of when the trail/re-route was first established back in 2012)? Actually, when I hiked it, there was also a section that was flooded _and_ had a downed tree...nature's way of challenging me by "double-teaming" me! :)

    Interesting section/route (of unmarked trails) to get from Chatsworth Lake to the Batona...I've hiked all of FPP's own trails, and did walk across (Rt. 532) to check out the lake when I was parked there, but I never know there were trails that connected CL to the Batona. (That includes the trail with the "No Trespassing" sign...maybe that is recent.) Sigh...this is similar to what happened at Apple Pie Hill, where one now needs an appointment to climb the tower...thanks to (probably) the same turkeys who ruined it for everyone for the trail you encountered today. But WOW -- what a day for the balloons, huh?

    Anyway -- keep up the great work!

    -- Jim

    1. Thanks, Jim. With all of the rain we have had this week, I figured wet sand was better than wet mud and it was! When Shawnee and I had turned back from the northern end in 2015 it was because the trail was all flooded out with no way to bypass and now that was either dry or passable, don't recall the exact spot but we made it through all the way to the turn and I know it was before that. I could see the no trespassing trail on Google Earth and had been at the other end of it previously so I knew that was a way to pick up where I had left off from the southern part of that section but I did not know about being able to get there from the lake on a path so that was just pure exploring! Lots of litter in that area. So sad that there are such lazy and careless people. I would have picked some of that up on my way back but the bag I brought was full of balloons.


  3. I've been down there a few times. I remember it being wet, but a great place to go for winter hiking. I swear, balloons just find you!