Department of Environmental Protection

New Jersey State Park Service

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SWIMMING ADVISORY: Swimming is only permitted on State Park Service property in designated areas when lifeguards are on duty. Visit the swimming schedule page of our website to stay up to date on when lifeguards will be on duty during the 2023 season.

Wharton State Forest Overview

If you can explore the unique natural ecosystem of New Jersey’s Pinelands at Wharton State Forest.

Rich natural resources made South Jersey an important center of industry. Batsto Village produced iron products for the Revolutionary War, and more than 30 of its 19th century buildings survive, including the fully furnished Batsto Mansion. Wharton boasts a variety of trails for hiking, mountain biking and horseback riding, as well as rivers and lakes for canoeing, kayaking and fishing. Swimming is available during the summer at Atsion Lake. The Atsion Recreation Area also offers picnic tables and charcoal grills, two small playgrounds, a short nature trail, a canoe/kayak launch area, restroom and changing facilities.

Wharton State Forest is the largest single tract of land within the New Jersey State Park System. It is also the site of Batsto Village(available for self-guided exploration), a former bog iron and glassmaking industrial center from 1766 to 1867 that currently reflects the agricultural and commercial enterprises that existed here during the late 19th century.

Throughout Wharton are rivers and streams for canoeing, hiking trails (including a major section of the Batona Trail), miles of unpaved roads for mountain biking and horseback riding and numerous lakes, ponds and fields ideal for wildlife observation.

The Batsto Blacksmith Shop has live demonstrations at select times. Please contact the Batsto Visitor Center for additional details; 609-561-0024.

Swimming facilities are available at Atsion Recreation Area on Route 206 in Shamong Township from Memorial Weekend to Labor Day, while lifeguards are on duty. For more information call 609-268-0444. The Recreation Area is open from 9:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Swimming is only permitted when lifeguards are on duty from 10:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. During the summer months, the park and swimming area may close temporarily if we reach the maximum capacity for visitors. We advise you to call the park prior to your visit to check the status.

Inner tubes, rafts and other flotation devices are not permitted in the swimming area. Only Coast Guard approved life jackets are permitted. Pets are prohibited on the beach.

Trail Map

Cross Country Skiing
Cross country skiing is permitted on numerous trails during the winter months.

Batona Trail
This 50-mile trail connects Wharton, Brendan T. Byrne and Bass River State forests. This portion of the Batona Trail is maintained by the NJ State Park Service and the Batona Hiking Club.

There are 50 miles of marked hiking trails providing many opportunities to explore the vast wilderness. More than 27 miles of the Batona Trail are within Wharton State Forest.

Horseback Riding
There are hundreds of miles of sand roads open year-round for horseback riding.

Mountain Biking
In addition to marked trails, there are hundreds of miles of sand roads available for mountain biking.

Motorized Vehicles
There are over 250 miles of sand roads available for street-legal vehicles and motorcycles that are properly registered, insured and driven by a licensed operator. ATV's are not permitted.

General Guide to the trails at Wharton State Forest

1808 Trail Map

Whispering Pines Trail Map

Atsion Family Camp Hiking Trail

Online reservations can be made at (link is external).

Atsion Campsites:
Fifty tent and trailer sites with fire rings and picnic tables. Potable water, flush toilets and showers are within walking distance. Please call ahead for campfire regulations. Trailer sanitary station open April 1 through October 31. Campsites open April 1 through October 31.

Atsion Family Camp Hiking Trail

Godfrey Bridge:
Thirty four tent and trailer sites (21 feet or less), water, picnic tables, fire rings and pit toilets. Please call ahead for campfire regulations. Campsites open all year.

Pet Friendly Campsites:
Pet friendly campsites are available at the Atsion Family Campground, Godfrey Bridge, Goshen Pond, buttonwood Hill, Lower Forge and Batona Camp. There is an additional charge of $5 per night to utilize the pet friendly campsites. Pet friendly camping is limited to domestic dogs and cats, with a maximum of two pets per camping permit. A Pet Registration and Certification form is required during the check-in process which will be retained in the area files. Dogs and cats must have current rabies vaccinations. Written proof of the pet's current rabies/distemper vaccine and license (if a license is required by the resident's State) must be provided during the check-in process.

Primitive Campsites:
Bodine Field, Hawkins Bridge, Batona, Mullica River and Goshen Pond have hand pumps for water and pit toilets. Buttonwood Hill and Lower Forge sites have no water. Mullica River and Lower Forge can only be accessed by hiking, canoeing or horseback; motor vehicles are not permitted. All other areas are accessible by motor vehicles. Please call ahead for campfire regulations. Maximum campsite capacities vary from 50 to 250 persons. We highly recommend that group leaders carefully estimate their group size so not to overestimate as refunds cannot be made later.

Nine furnished cabins with screened porch, fireplace, outdoor campfire rings, refrigerator, hot and cold running water, bathroom with toilet and shower; single beds. Cabin #6 contains two bunks. All cabins are designed for people with disabilities. Five cabins accommodate four people; three cabins accommodate six people; one cabin accommodates eight people. Cabins are located on Atsion Lake. Open for next season from May 3rd , 2024 through October 31st, 2024

From the Friday before Memorial Day through and including Labor Day, cabins must be reserved for seven or fourteen consecutive nights only. From April 1st to the Friday before Memorial Day and from the day after Labor Day through October 31st, cabins may be reserved for a minimum of two consecutive nights to a maximum of fourteen consecutive nights.

Mullica River provides excellent boating for electric motors, trailer launch and car top launch. Canoeing and kayaking can also be enjoyed on Mullica, Batsto, Wading and Oswego Rivers.

Launching fees are charged for trailered motor boats on the Mullica River beginning on Memorial Day weekend and ending on Labor Day inclusive. Launch fees are not charged for kayaks and canoes.

Wading River and Oswego River Water

Pickerel, catfish, perch and sunfish may be caught within the rivers and streams.

Hunting is permitted in designated areas within the park and is subject to Division of Fish and Wildlife regulations(link is external).

Batsto Through the Years: A Teaching Resource(link is external) was developed to help educators explain the importance of the New Jersey Pinelands and the lifestyles of the people who lived and worked there. It is the result of collaboration between the State Park Service and the Batsto Citizens Committee, Inc.(link is external).

The 10 lessons included in the teaching resource are based on fourth grade Core Curriculum standards for Social Studies. Topics range from the environment and early Pinelands industry to daily life in the village. The suggested follow-up activities help students make connections between life in the 18th and 19th centuries and the present day. Critical thinking activities challenge students to examine their own community and evaluate how society deals with preservation of historic buildings and open spaces.

In conjunction with the manual, Batsto Village offers seasonal educational programs and interpreter-led tours. Age appropriate presentations and a “child friendly” museum greet our visitors. For schools unable to travel to Batsto Village, staff and volunteers also offer in-school presentations. For more information about Historic Batsto Village, contact the Batsto Village Visitor Center at 609-561-0024.

Bald eagles, red-tailed hawks, marsh hawks, ospreys, great blue herons, swans, screech owls, great-horned owls, bluebirds, hummingbirds, purple martins, goldfinch, turkeys, beavers, river otters, fox and deer are only some of the wildlife the alert visitor can see

The Carranza Memorial in Tabernacle marks the spot where Captain Emilio Carranza Rodríguez was killed while returning from a historic goodwill flight from Mexico City to the United States. Carranza became a national hero when, in the summer of 1928, he was selected to undertake a goodwill flight from Mexico City to New York City in response to the previous year's flight from New York City to Mexico City undertaken by American aviator Charles Lindbergh.

Carranza began his American visit by landing in Washington, D.C. on June 12 where he was congratulated by President Calvin Coolidge. He then flew to New York City and was honored by the city’s mayor. Carranza departed New York on July 12. Shortly after taking off, he encountered thunderstorms while flying over the NJ Pinelands. His plane, named the Excelsior, came apart and he crashed into the woods. His body was recovered the next day.

A 12-foot monument in Wharton State Forest marks the site of his crash. WikiMiniAtlas

The monument, installed with funds donated by Mexican schoolchildren, depicts a falling eagle of Aztec design. Every July, on the Saturday nearest the anniversary of his crash (second Saturday in July) at 1:00 p.m. he is honored at the monument site by members of the American Legion Mount Holly Post 11 accompanied by an entourage from the Mexican consulates in New York City and Philadelphia.

This natural area is composed of two sections bordering the Batsto and Mullica rivers and contains several forest communities that are representative of New Jersey Pine Barrens.

Extensive white cedar and pitch pine forests border the Oswego River. This freshwater wetland corridor is home to the rare bog asphodel, Pine Barren boneset, curly grass fern and Pine Barrens tree frog.

A NJ State Park Service Special Use Permit is required for various types of short-duration, organized activities and/or events within a state park, forest and/or historic site. Examples of organized activities and/or special events include, but are not limited to press events, commercial photography and/or filming, corporate events, fundraisers, festivals, demonstrations, walkathons and races, concerts, Televised events and/or commercial use of or on State Park Service lands and/or waters. 

To learn more about Special use Permits click here.

Access & Restrictions
The Wharton State Forest recreational and historic facilities are partially accessible for persons with disabilities. Please contact the park office at 609-561-0024 for further information regarding disability access needs. Text telephone (TTY) users, call the NJ Relay & CapTel Service at 711 or 1-800-852-7897 for English or 1-866-658-7714 for Spanish.

All-Terrain Vehicles (ATVs)
Recreational use of ATVs is not permitted on NJ State Park Service property. This includes state parks, forests, recreation areas, golf courses, marinas, natural areas, historic sites, and preserves. Thank you for your help in protecting New Jersey’s natural and historic resources. [N.J.A.C. 7:2-3.4(d)]

Responsible Motorized Access
All motorized vehicles operating on designated motorized recreation routes must be licensed, registered and insured, and are subject to the motor vehicle laws of the State of New Jersey, N.J.S.A. 39:1-1, et seq. The maximum speed limit on approved, designated motorized recreation routes is 20 MPH. Drivers must stay on sand roads at all times. "Off roading" is not permitted.

State law prohibits the smoking of tobacco and use of electronic smoking (vaping) devices in all state parks, forests, historic sites, recreation areas, golf courses and marinas. [N.J.P.L.2005, c.383 (C.26:3D-56)]

Alcoholic beverages are not permitted in state parks, forests, recreation areas, golf courses, marinas, natural areas, historic sites, and preserves. [ N.J.A.C. 7:2-2.6 ]

Keep Your Park Clean and Green
Protect plants and animals and care for your parks by taking your trash with you. Whatever you carry into the park, plan on carrying it out too. It’s like crowdsourcing trash management! Bring a bag or two for trash, recycling and cleaning up after your pet. There are no trash receptacles in this park. Thank you!

Swimming is permitted, while lifeguards are on duty, from Memorial Day weekend to Labor Day. The beach area includes changing rooms, restrooms, showers, a first-aid station and a concession building where food and beach supplies may be purchased. Inner tubes, rafts and other flotation devices are not permitted in the swimming area. Only U.S. Coast Guard approved life jackets are allowed.

Pets must always be on a leash no longer than six feet in length and under the control of the owner. Please clean up after your pets.

Tick Protection
Use insect repellent, wear light-colored clothing, tuck pants into socks, stay on trails, check yourself when you get home, shower and wash clothes immediately.

Be Bear Aware
Black bears are found throughout New Jersey. Do not approach or attract bears by making food available. Feeding bears is dangerous and illegal. Never run from a bear! To report an aggressive bear, call 1-877-WARN-DEP (1-877-927-6337) immediately. Please report any damage or nuisance behavior to the park office. Visit the New Jersey Division of Fish and Wildlife at for additional information on bear safety.

Photo Gallery


Related Links

Atsion Recreation Area
Batsto Citizens Committee, Inc.

Park Map

Area Map

Email List


Phone Number
Batsto Office: 609-561-0024
Atsion Office: 609-268-0444

31 Batsto Road
Hammonton, NJ 08037

Email Address

Park Hours

Park Office
Batsto Office: Hours: Open seven days a week from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Atsion Office: Open seven days a week from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

Park Fees
Entrance Fee Free entry for the 2023 season.

Other Related Fees
Map / Directions

GPS Coordinates
39.643889, -74.646778