East of Wilmington near Hammonton in the Wharton State Forest, the Batona Trail is a 50+ mile route passing through pine forests with white sandy areas and several river crossings. This easy walking trail, well marked with pink blazes, runs for 50 miles through Bass River State Forest, Wharton State Forest and Brendan T. Byrne State Forest, crossing streams and passing through forested areas that were once bustling towns with names such as Four Mile, Butler, Martha and Washington. This portion of the Batona Trail is maintained by the NJ State Park Service, Outdoor Club of South Jersey and the Batona Hiking Club.
The Batona trail began in 1961 when the Batona Hiking Club charted and cleared a trail from Carpenter Spring on Lebnon State Forest to Batsto on Wharton State Forest. Subsequent expansion culminated in 1987 with the Batona Trail now stretching from Ongs Hat on Lebanon State Forest, through Batsto and Wharton State Forest, and on to Bass River State Forest, a total of approximately 50 miles. The trail is maintained jointly by the Batona Hiking Club and the State Park Service.
Batona stands for Back TO Nature. It was planned as a wilderness trail, yet is a very easy to follow trail, mostly flat lands, with some sugar sand trails and wetter areas as one passes through the cedar swamps. The Batona trail is marked with prominent pink blazes, making it very easy to follow. It is accessible at many points as it crosses a number of roads.
Overall, Batona Trail - North is the 1st most popular hiking trail of all 29 hikes in New Jersey.