I spent last weekend with the Scouts, camping out at Goshen Pond as part of an open house weekend for the Cub Scouts. We did the “A Walk Through Atsion” hike previously covered in this blog, only now featuring the colors of Fall. It was a great day to be hiking, camping, and taking pictures, a triple threat.
Tag Archives: Shamong
Atsion Lake Paddle – Atsion Recreation Area, Wharton State Forest, Shamong, Burlington County, NJ
Distance: The lake is over a mile long and up to a 1/4 mile wide. Can also come in from the Goshen Pond area, which Dan kayaked in from (roughly two miles, one way). We did a mile and a half in two relatively short trips, and we didn’t even get more than halfway down the lake.
Type: Out and back
Difficulty: 4 of 10 – Middle of the lake lack of current can be a pain in the arms.
Total score: 6 of 10.
Fees – If putting in at Atsion, $10 on weekends and $5 on weekdays to get into the lake area (in season)
Rentals – A boat concession rents out canoes, kayaks, paddleboards, and pedal boats right at the put in at Atsion Lake. Cash only I believe!
Terrain – pine forests, marshes, beautiful lake.
Directions – Atsion Lake Recreation Area is located on Route 206 in Shamong, NJ. Drive straight down the driveway to the end of the parking lot, then turn left. The entrance to the boat launch is a small dirt road on your right (it’s labeled!). If bringing your own, drive down and drop your canoe/kayak off at the water, then come back to the lot to park. If renting, park your car before heading down the road.
Put ins – 39°44’23.37″N, 74°43’53.07″W (dock at Atsion Lake Recreation Area)
39°44’34.91″N, 74°45’25.66″W (Ephraim Road past Goshen Pond Camping Area) – Note – I haven’t done this in a canoe, so not sure if a canoe can make it down. A kayak definitely can.
Standouts – birds and beautiful cedar water
Red and Blue Trails – Atsion Lake, Atsion Recreation Area, Wharton State Forest, Shamong, Burlington County, NJ
Distance: 1 mile
Type: Figure 8 trail
Difficulty: 1 of 10
Total score: 7 of 10
Website – Wharton State Forest
Open – Hours are seasonal
Entrance fee – $5 on weekdays, $10 on weekends (so you might as well bring your swim trunks and enjoy the lake while you’re here!)
Terrain – flat lakeside forest and marsh
Trailhead – 39°44’18.87″N, 74°43’57.51″W
Mullica River Trail – Wharton State Forest – Atsion, Shamong, Burlington County to Batsto, Hammonton, Atlantic County, NJ
Distance: 9.5 miles (can be done as a one night backpacking trip or as a day hike)
Type: One way
Difficulty: 3 of 10
Total score: 7 of 10
Terrain – forest, swamps, meadows
Trailheads – Atsion – 39°44’30.37″N, 74°43’33.55″W (next to ranger station/general store) – (5.5 miles to campsite from here)
Batsto – 39°38’33.67″N, 74°39’18.61″W (on dirt Batsto Lake Road) (4 miles to campsite from here)
Note – you can also
A Walk Through Atsion – Shamong, NJ
Type: Out and Back
Hours: Always open
Distance: 1.0 miles round trip
Difficulty: 2 of 10.
Total score: 7 of 10.
Terrain – Flat.
Trailhead – 39° 44.526’N, 74° 43.548’W – Parking lot at the Atsion Ranger Station off of Route 206.
Standouts: Old mansion, old barn, old schoolhouse, old railroad bridge, old church and graveyard.
Markings – None.
Description: This is not an official trail, but it’s pretty easy to follow the route. Start at the parking lot at the Atsion Ranger Station (open Spring to Fall). Then go into the ranger station. This is the old company store of Atsion, and town that you are standing in, yet no longer exists.
Walk around the ranger station to check out the old Richards Mansion behind it. The Richards family ran an iron empire in the pine barrens for decades, and Atsion was one of their main holdings. You can tour the mansion one day a week during the season, it’s well worth going in.
After this, head down the dirt Quaker Bridge Road (in front of the mansion). Today, Rt 206 is the major highway, but in the 1800s it was Quaker Bridge Road that was well traveled. Hence, the mansion fronting it. If you followed this road down for four miles into the woods, you would hit Quaker Bridge. We’ll do that, but not in this post.
The stops come quick on this hike, one of the reasons it’s such a nice one to take. Your first one will be the old church on the right. It looks new (the front is fairly new, as is the wheelchair ramp), but its roots and the main part of the building are quite old. Take a look around through the graveyard, there are several veterans gravestones from the Civil War.
Getting back on the road, a few hundred feet up is the Atsion Schoolhouse. This served the local community well, and still serves vandels who break into it every few months. Be respectful, don’t go in, even if there is a giant hole in the boards.
You’ll then continue down the road until the railroad tracks intersect with it. At this point, turn right and follow the tracks through the swamp.
In less than 0.2 miles, you’ll come to the old railroad bridge. If you’re brave, you can walk across it. Be careful!
When you’re done, turn around and came back the way you came. When you reach the mansion, walk around to the back and check out the old concrete barn built by Joseph Wharton. You know, the guy they named the forest for. It’s then just a short stroll to your car.
Overall, this is a nice, easy, leisurely walk through the old town of Atsion with plenty to do and see. It’s a great one to do with kids, as they’ll have a lot to look at!