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New Jersey Pine Barrens, NJ

Sep 25 - Oct 2, 2022 -- $1300 ★

Yes ... there really is great hiking in New Jersey!

The Pine Barrens -- also known as the Pinelands -- is a vast, unexpected wilderness area in the otherwise densely populated State of New Jersey. We will be thru-hiking the flat, sometimes sandy 53.5 mile long Batona Trail (from BAck TO NAture). The trail features a surfeit of tranquil streams and ponds featuring flora and fauna such as orchids, deer, scrub oaks, hawks, black bears and even a white cedar forest. In some years, you may even see Earth Stars (aka poop-flowers).

The Pine Barrens are notable not only for their remote beauty, but their proximity to major population centers like New York City, Philadelphia, Newark, Wilmington and Ong's Hat. This is your opportunity to experience wild New Jersey while improving body composition.

We will thru-hike the entire 53.5 mile long Batona Trail, which gives participants a nice feeling of accomplishment for backpacking over 50 miles and thru-hiking the entire trail. Daily mileages average about 9 miles per day on primarily flat, often sandy trail punctuated by a few rolling hills. Along the way, we'll take some time to visit historic Batsto Village. Crackling campfires are permitted in most campsites to warm us up on chilly and crisp late summer evenings.


Weather is always an important concern when hiking. Expect daytime hiking temperatures into the 70s and 80s and nighttime temperatures in the 50s. However temperatures may reach the 90s or fall below freezing on any given day. Late Summer in New Jersey might also bring rain or even frost at night. Chances are the surface water will be warm enough for swimming while the mosquito population will be subsiding (although there will still be ticks). Here is the historical September weather

Probable Trip Leaders

Beau Devlin
Don Johnson


$1300 per person double occupancy. Here, double occupancy means that you will share a hotel room with another trip participant. You will also be responsible for transportation to and from Philadelphia Airport (PHL), as well as personal equipment, restaurant meals and any gratuities for guides. If you drive, you might also be assessed parking charges for leaving your car at the hotel all week.

Covered expenses include 2 hotel nights, 6 days of trail meals, ground transportation to/from the Pinelands, park permits, campground fees, and awesome guides.

Tipping: In order to keep our prices competitive with (and hopefully favorable to) other outfitters, we shamefully can’t pay our guides as much as we think they deserve. Like most other guiding services, we rely on the generosity of our participants to make up this shortfall by tipping the guides. While tips are not required or expected, if your guides have served you well, please consider a gratuity so they can continue living their extravagant lifestyles of eating powdered meals, sleeping in the dirt and pooping in smelly outhouses and small holes they've dug.


The Batona Trail is one of Fitpacking's more attainable (but not easy) offerings and is recommended for beginners. However, do not underestimate the mileage. Even though the entire trail is flat or nearly so, daily mileage can be as much as 12 miles which is a long way to carry a backpack all day. Plus, flat terrain can cause blisters.

While all Fitpacking trips are difficult, this one might be considered somewhat less strenuous than others because of fewer and more gradual elevation changes and solid footing, even if mileages are a little longer.

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Sunday, September 25, 2022

Fly or drive into Philadelphia International Airport (PHL). The best time to arrive is between Noon-3PM. However, if you can save a substantial amount on your flight by arriving an hour or two later or earlier, then do so.

Take free airport shuttle to local hotel (TBD)

Equipment shakedown

Trail mix distribution

"Before" body composition measurements taken

Go to Adventure Outfitter, 3791 Main St, Philadelphia, PA 19127, (855) 336-0855 for forgotten and last minute equipment purchase

There are also 2 REIs somewhat nearby (but a little further)

Go out for dinner at a local restaurant (Dinner cost not included in trip price)

Monday, September 26, 2022

Second set of "before" measurements taken

All the items that you won't bring on the trail will be set aside and put in storage.

Free Breakfast at hotel or Continental Breakfast provided by guides

Shuttle to Bass River State Forest, leave vehicle here

Shuttle to Buddtown Rd @ Ongs Hat

Hike 5.0 miles from Ongs Hat Trailhead to Lebanon Tower

Hike 4.0 miles to Brendan Byrne State Park

Camp at Brendan Byrne State Park, site TBD. Water spigots and bathhouse available

Miles today: 9.0. Total miles: 9.0

Possible Bailout: Route 70

Tuesday, September 27, 2022

Hike 6.5 miles to Apple Pie Hill Tower

Apple Pie Hill Tower is the highest elevation on the trip. Unfortunately, the tower is now closed.

Hike 3.5 miles to Batona Camp

Camp at Batona Camp, site TBD. Water pump and outhouses available

Miles today: 10.0. Total miles: 19.0

Possible Bailout: Route 532 or Route 563

Wednesday, September 28, 2022

Hike 6.0 miles to Lower Forge Camp

Camp at Lower Forge Camp site TBD, no water pump here, so river water must be treated

Miles today: 6.0. Total miles: 25.0

Possible Bailout: Carranza Road

Thursday, September 29, 2022

Hike about 10.0 miles to Bulltown Rd. stopping for lunch and a break near historic Batsto Village and Ranger Station

Hike about 2.0 blue blaze miles to Buttonwood Hill

Camp at Buttonwood Hill Camp site TBD, no water pump here, but there is running water and flush toilets in a park pavilion across the street. There is also a lake that has water which can be treated.

Miles today: 12.0. Total miles: 37.0

Possible Bailout: Route 542 or Batsto Ranger Station

Friday, September 30, 2022

Hike 2.0 miles back to Batona Trail

Hike about 7.0 miles to a dirt path just before Rt. 679

Hike 2.0 miles cutoff trail miles to Godfrey Bridge Family Campsite

Camp at Godfrey Bridge Family Campsite site TBD, with picnic tabes & potable pump water

Option: If it is raining and there is availability, stay in a cabin at Wading Pines Camping Resort. Wading Pines has a camp store to help you undo all the fitness progress you've made thus far.

Miles today: 11.0. Total miles: 48.0

Possible Bailout: Route 563 or Bulltown Rd.

Saturday, October 1, 2022

Leave packs at Wading Pines and day hike only today

Day-Hike 1.5 miles back to the Batona Trail

Day-Hike 8.0 miles to Coal Road Trailhead

Day-Hike 2.0 road miles to Bass River State Forest Ranger Station

Miles today: 11.5. Total miles: 59.5

Possible Bailout: Route 679 or Oswego Rd.

Shuttle back to local hotel (TBD)

"After" measurements taken

Dinner and awards Ceremony (Dinner cost not included in cost of trip)

This is the official end of the trip. You are welcome to spend the night at the hotel, however if you drove and would like to get on the road or if you flew and would like to schedule a late flight (or a red-eye if this is a West Coast trip) you can definitely do so.

Sunday, October 2, 2022

Take Free Airport Shuttle

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