Wharton State Forest, located in the heart of the New Jersey Pine Barrens, is a horse lover’s paradise. With over 120,000 acres of pristine wilderness, this massive state forest offers a diverse range of horse trails that cater to riders of all levels. Whether you’re a seasoned equestrian or a beginner looking for a new adventure, Wharton State Forest has something for everyone. In this article, we’ll explore some of the best horse trails that this natural haven has to offer.
1. Batsto Lake Trail:
Batsto Lake Trail is a 9-mile loop that takes riders around the picturesque Batsto Lake. Starting from the Batsto Village parking lot, this trail winds through sandy paths, meadows, and serene pine forests. Riders can relish the peaceful ambiance and get up close and personal with the abundant wildlife that calls this area home. The trail is well-marked and suitable for riders of all levels, making it a popular choice for both beginners and seasoned riders.
2. Mullica River Trail:
If you’re looking for a longer, more challenging ride, the Mullica River Trail is the perfect choice. Spanning approximately 16 miles, this trail takes riders through scenic landscapes, including dense forests, marshes, and river crossings. The trail starts at Pleasant Mills Road and ends at the town of Atsion, offering riders a rewarding and satisfying journey through some of Wharton State Forest’s most breathtaking sights.
3. Carranza Memorial Trail:
For history buffs, the Carranza Memorial Trail is a must-ride. This 7-mile loop begins at the picnic area near the Carranza Memorial and takes riders through a mix of sandy paths, pine forests, and open fields. The memorial itself commemorates the crash site of Mexican aviator Emilio Carranza, who perished here in 1928. With interpretive signs scattered along the trail, riders can learn about the area’s history while enjoying the stunning natural surroundings.
4. Lebanon Fire Tower Trail:
If you’re looking for breathtaking panoramic views, the Lebanon Fire Tower Trail won’t disappoint. This 7-mile loop combines picturesque scenery with an exhilarating climb to the top of Lebanon Fire Tower. Starting from the Warren Grove Recreation Area, riders will traverse winding forest trails and meander through stands of fragrant pine trees. The highlight of this trail is reaching the fire tower’s observation deck, where riders can relish sweeping views of Wharton State Forest and beyond.
5. Red Trail:
Finally, the Red Trail is an excellent option for those seeking a shorter ride with diverse terrain. This 5-mile loop starts at the Buttonwood Hill campground and takes riders through sandy tracks, open fields, and shaded woodlands. The trail is well-maintained and is suitable for riders of all levels. Along the way, riders may encounter wildlife and enjoy peaceful views of the forest.
Wharton State Forest is truly a haven for horse enthusiasts. With its vast expanse of unspoiled beauty, diverse terrain, and well-marked trails, it offers an unforgettable riding experience for all. Whether you prefer leisurely rides through meadows or challenging adventures through rugged landscapes, these trails have it all. So saddle up, explore the enchanting beauty of Wharton State Forest, and create memories that will last a lifetime.