Hiking a long route in Bass River State Forest that adds in Absegami and Joe’s Trail.
Winter is when we hike the pine barrens for a dose of green when everywhere else is drab and leafless. There’s just something about a blue sky contrasting against all that pine and the white sand trails.
And, well, in the summer the ticks in the pine barrens will fling you over their shoulders and cart you off. So there’s that too.
We’d hiked Bass River only once almost exactly seven years ago (“Bass River in February“).
It’s a really nice long yet easy hike and we should have gotten back around sooner but so many hikes to do, so little time.
Route: YELLOW (Poppy Allen) – PURPLE (Falkinburg) – ORANGE (CCC) – Joe’s Trail – SILVER (Absegami) – ORANGE (CCC)
For detailed hike directions visit our main Bass River State Forest page.
Many of the trails have had changes since then, such as the CCC trail switching from PINK to ORANGE and adding names in addition to colors – Poppy Allen, Falkinburg etc.
The old park map from 2012 – a topo with colored trails on it – didn’t seem to have Joe’s Trail and I’d missed the Absegami SILVER trail on it because was so tiny and faint colored.
We decided to redo our route and then add an out-and-back on Joe’s Trail and do the Absegami SILVER loop through the cedar bog.
After chugging along YELLOW (Poppy Allen) we picked up PURPLE (Falkinburg).
We’ve been having a lot of precipitation and I’d specifically picked this park because I’d noted there were no wet crossings. (Yup, we actually consult our own site to pick hikes.)
But we hit this long very deep stretch of flooding and had to do a wide bushwhack around it as the water seeped so far out.
Look it’s a Sasquatch in the pine barrens!! ….oh wait that’s just Tom finding a way around the flooding. This is nowhere near the trail, it was this wet way around it.
I was going to pack our plastic over-booties but had thought nahhhh it won’t be wet. They are a little bulky but I should just keep them in our packs since it seems to never stop raining in New Jersey now.
[And I can’t take credit for the booties idea, I got it from Gone Hikin’. Basically, put heavy-weight plastic disposable booties over your hiking boots to cross streams etc. It’s not perfect but it helps.]
We made our way around to ORANGE (CCC)… a.k.a The Trail Formerly Known as PINK.
The pink-blazed and infamous 50-mile Batona Trail is just down the road from here so that must be why it was changed.
Rockin’ that pine.
I’d read last year they may need to clear-cut a section of the pine plantation so that the nearby fire tower can regain its sighting visibility.
That might affect a little of the CCC trail but we didn’t notice anything so I am not sure what’s come of that. See “N.J. Officials Say Pine Trees Impede View From Critical Fire Tower“, March 2018.
Back at the center of the park, we hit Joe’s Trail, named for a hike leader and president of the Outdoor Club of South Jersey (…and veteran of not 1… not 2…. but 3 wars.)
This is a pleasant little trail that follows along Lake Absegami with a few views of the lake and a couple of benches before ending at an old picnic pavilion.
Finally, we backtracked and took up the Absegami SILVER trail, a short trail through an Atlantic white cedar bog.
We split the Bobo’s peanut butter oat bar (these are tasty, recommended) to tide us over till we made it to the Forked River parkway rest stop Starbucks for lattes.
I got a blonde vanilla and Tom got a Juniper Latte as an ode to the pinelands (which actually has a slight pine flavor to it… ehhhh… Tom’s likes these but it’s one of the few coffees we don’t agree on…).
We also tried the Lenny & Larry’s. It wasn’t bad as an alternative to a protein bar… like a soft-batch chocolate chip cookie (but not quite) with 8g of protein per half.