This is a guest post by Leigh Marcos who wrote to me about her experiences over the last year with her family hiking some of the scariest hiking trails in the U.S. She defines "scary" not as being dangerous, but haunted. One of her recent expeditions and posts was in Texas. She asked if I would want a post about a New Jersey trail.
To most people, New Jersey is either "seashore" or "suburban sprawl." Many are surprised to find that inland from the East Coast there is an abundance of hiking trails. The largest is the Batona Trail located in Washington Township. For avid hikers, Batona is the perfect opportunity to explore the depth of nature that exists in this amazing forested area of the state.
The Batona Trail includes the Bass River State Forest, Wharton State Forest, the Ong's Hat Ghost Town and Franklin Park Preserve. The Batona Trail is approximately 52 miles long. It is lush with nature's flora and fauna. Start your hiking of the Batona Trail at the former Lebanon State Forest, now known as the Brendan T. Byrne State Forest. Choose the season of the year for optimal hiking weather.
Since the Batona Trail is located in the southern part of the state, the climate is less harsh. Hiking the Batona Trail in autumn is riot of color and relief from daily stress. Cool off in summer beneath an enormous canopy of green trees and scrub pines while you hike in clean, fresh, piney air. In winter, hike the trail in snowshoes and in spring, return to hike amid an extensive carpet of newly sprouting flowers, mushrooms and ferns.
For New Jersey, the Pine Barrens' Batona Hiking Trail is the one that gets the haunted label and that sometimes attracts the public. As far back as the 1700’s hikers have reported seeing the Jersey Devil in these woods. Depending on the storyteller, the Jersey Devil can be described as a prehistoric pterodactyl or the misshapen spawn of a woman who was cursed.
Then, there is Ong's Hat, a ghost town where many ghost hunters converge to revisit the story of Jacob Ong, whose ghost haunts the small, centrally located with Pemberton Township. As with all ghost stories and folklore, it is left to the individual to decide fact from fiction. Still, these special places enhance the enjoyment of hiking the Batona, New Jersey trail.
Avid hiking enthusiasts find much to love about hiking the Batona, New Jersey trail. The trail was created in the mid 1960s and has grown in popularity for hikers and students of nature. Even the name, “Batona,” rings with the essence of nature. It was derived from the words, “Back to Nature.”
More Batona Trail and Hauntings Reading