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New Jersey Pine Barrens

Sunday, October 13, 2024 - Sunday, October 20, 2024 -- $1575 ★

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 of course Ong's Hat. This is your opportunity to experience colorful Fall Foliage and explore wild New Jersey while improving body composition.

We will thru-hike the entire 53.5 mile long Batona Trail (60 when taking side-trails into account), which gives participants a nice feeling of accomplishment for backpacking over 50 miles and thru-hiking the entire trail. Daily mileages average about 10 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 if we take the initiative to gather wood.

Topographical Map of Proposed Route

See CalTopo map


Weather is always an important concern when hiking. Expect daytime hiking temperatures into the 60s and 70s and nighttime temperatures in the 40s and 50s. However temperatures may reach the 80s or fall below freezing on any given day. Fall in New Jersey might also bring rain or even frost at night. So while the water temperature may be too cold for swimming, the foliage will be nearing peak and the mosquitoes will be reasonably sedentary (although there will probably still be ticks). Be prepared for a variety of conditions. Here is the historical October weather

Probable Trip Leaders

Steve Silberberg
Rick Romine
Any Other Guide(s) TBD


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.


$1575 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. You may also be assessed parking charges if you leave your car at the hotel all week. Shuttling to the park may also be an option.

Covered expenses include 1 hotel night, 2 nights in front country campgrounds, 6 days of trail meals, airport ground transportation, ground transport to/from the Pine Barrens, State Park permits 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.


While all FPING 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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Important Note
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Sunday, October 13, 2024

Drive or fly into Philadelphia Airport (PHL). The best time to arrive is between around 9AM-Noon. However, if you have completed your online shakedown and will arrive fairly ready to go, you can fly in a little later.

Call for a free airport shuttle that will take you to our local hotel

We will assemble at: TBD, To Be Determined

Mini-equipment shakedown, following up your virtual shakedown done prior to the trip

Make-Your-Own Trail mix bar

"Before" body composition measurements taken

Buy last minute and forgotten items at Adventure Outfitter, 3791 Main St, Philadelphia, PA 19127, (855) 336-0855

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

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

At around 3PM, shuttle to campsite: Brendan T. Byrne State Forest, P.O Box 215 New Lisbon, New Jersey 08064. Site(s): 079 & 081 Elevation: 100'

Shuttling will take about 1.5 hours

Guides prepare dinner in camp. On some trips with longer shuttle times, we may opt to go out for an opening dinner at a local restaurant. (Cost of restaurant dinner not included in trip price)

Camp at Brendan T. Byrne State Forest, P.O Box 215 New Lisbon, New Jersey 08064. Site(s): 079 & 081 Elevation: 100'

Monday, October 14, 2024

Shuttle to Bass River State Forest, leave vehicle here

Shuttle to Buddtown Rd at 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, sites 079 & 081. Water spigots and bathhouse available. We will already be set up here from the night before.

Miles today: 9.0. Total miles: 9.0

Possible Bailout: Route 70

Tuesday, October 15, 2024

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, October 16, 2024

Hike 6.0 miles to Lower Forge Camp

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

Miles today: 6.0. Total miles: 25.0

Possible Bailout: Carranza Road

Thursday, October 17, 2024

Hike about 10.0 miles to Bulltown Rd. stopping for lunch break and self-guided tour of historic Batsto Village and Ranger Station along the way.

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, October 18, 2024

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 your own (or shared) expense 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 19, 2024

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

End of hiking portion of trip

Miles today: 11.5. Total miles: 59.5

Possible Bailout: Route 679 or Oswego Rd.

Pick up packs at Wading Pines

Shuttle back to local hotel: TBD, To Be Determined

Gather your off-trail items from storage

After body composition measurements taken

Dinner and awards ceremony at a local restaurant (Dinner cost not included in trip price)

Stay in our local hotel (included in trip cost)

Gather your off-trail items from storage

After body composition measurements taken

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

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 20, 2024

Take free airport shuttle or we will pay for a shared cab/Uber

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