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Welcome to the NJ Pine Barrens, a hidden gem for bikers looking for adventure and tranquility in nature. But first of all…where the heck is the NJ Pine Barrens anyway?!

Fast Facts:

  • Size: the Pine Barrens encompasses approximately 1.1 million acres, which is about 22% of New Jersey’s land area. 
  • Counties Covered: parts of Atlantic, Burlington, Camden, Cape May, Cumberland, Gloucester, and Ocean counties.
  • Total Area: Roughly 1.1 million acres.
  • Perimeter: if traced along its outer boundaries, spans a vast and irregular distance. It is not a perfect circle or rectangle. However, it’s estimated to cover several hundred miles if one were to travel around the outer edge of the designated area.

Whew! That’s a lot!

Even as a local growing up here, navigating the extensive network of maps of trails in the Pine Barrens can be daunting. As an avid biker who has ridden these paths countless times, I understand the importance of having clear, reliable information that matches your energy levels.

Whether you’re a seasoned biker or someone who enjoys leisurely rides, the Pine Barrens offers a unique variety of trails for you. From smooth, paved paths that allow for easy rides to more challenging mountain biking trails, I put together a guide for them all.

I’ve included details about them all, based on my experiences. They’ll guide you through choosing the perfect trail that aligns with how you feel on any given day. Because let’s face it, sometimes you just want to get into nature without figuring out a new place. So these 5 spots offer you the best of both worlds. But what they all have in common is views of beautiful Pine Barren forests and wildlife that call this area home.

Finally, if you’re a regular reader of my blog (if so thank you!) then you know my lists never countdown to a #1 best. Everyone is different and varied, so I leave it to you to decide which is best. Besides, deciding what YOU like is the best part of self-healing! So here we go:

1. Estell Manor Park

Address: 109 State Highway 50, Mays Landing

This county park features about 17 miles of trails for biking. Theycross a variety of landscapes, including forests and fields, and are marked to cater to different skill levels. 

There are many choices for riding here, from paved roads to single track mountain biking to flat dirt roads. 

Covering a variety of terrains, these trails wind through dense forests, along open fields, and past historical sites, providing a diverse riding experience. In this park you’ll also see a variety of wildlife….

The newly paved road is now restructured to restrict cars. This makes for an even more peaceful and safe ride. 

 You can also appreciate the park’s rich history and natural beauty, including the remains of the Estellville Glassworks and the peaceful settings of the surrounding Pine Barrens.

2. Parvin State Park 

Address: 701 Almond Road, Pittsgrove

Situated in Salem County, it’s hard to believe the Pine Barrens stretch so far. Parvin is a gem of a state park, with it’s diverse ecosystems, including swamp hardwood forest, pine forests, and a freshwater lake. 

The park spans approximately 2,092 acres and has 15 miles of trails. This distance can easily be extended if you wish. Not much mountain biking here, so this is the place to come when you want a relaxing biking experience.

Plenty of shade on the paved trails at Parvin

What’s really nice about biking in Parvin is the tall trees that shade the path and the paved roads that criss-cross into different sections of the park. Secondly, although the park can be busy, the trails are quiet. This allows opportunities for deeper healing work if you choose to engage with the natural environment.

There’s something nice about the swamp areas in Parvin….probably my love for frogs!

To get the most of biking here, start on the Parvin Lake Trail  which begins to the right of the Visitor Center from the main parking lot. Then you can cross to the Long Trail and ride the entire perimeter of the park.

This takes you past tons of swamp areas, various small ponds and the campground. Parvin has multiple cabins for rent and since the bike trail goes through the campground, why not check them out for future trips? I’ve rented cabins here and situated right on Thundergust Lake makes for a nice setting.

Pretty sunset over Parvin Lake

There are many options to dismount your bike and take a peek at nature or picnic.

The last stretch before returning to the parking lot takes you over a small bridge then overlooking a dam with an impressive flow of rushing water. Along this stretch you’ll see plenty of people fishing and enjoying the lake. It has a family and friendly vibe.

3. Batsto Village

(Part of Wharton State Forest): 31 Batsto Road, Hammonton

Part of Wharton State Forest in the New Jersey Pine Barrens, it offers lots of choices for biking riding. The park has well-marked trails through dense pine forests.

Batsto Lake Trail

Is an easy, flat loop that circles Batsto Lake. You can explore the remnants of the 19th-century bog iron and glassmaking industries that once thrived here. It is a quick and easy route that offers a lovely lake views.

Bike outside the park

sign at Batsto Village, beyond the sign is paved road biking option
Drive past the Batsto sign to bike this option. However, still park your car in the park for convenience. Then pedal out.

Admittedly, this is not at all a bike path. Rather, it is a seemingly endless car road that sometimes passes houses too.

I discovered this road as bikeable a few years ago, and it continues to be one of my favorites. So what’s so great about this bike ride? Well, for one, you have access to bathrooms in Batsto Visitor Center. The second and equally valuable reason is you have access to the one and only Wharton State Forest. If you’re not familiar with Wharton, then I recommend you experience it. It’s a unique NJ forest and holds much beauty of the Pine Barrens. 

As for the biking, you’ll be treated to mostly flat paved roads along quiet stretches of peaceful scenery. Very few cars and no need to work too hard with sand, hills, and difficult terrain.

Single Track Mountain Biking

This is where it gets a little more serious. The entrance is across the parking lot from the Visitor Center, to the left of the picnic tables and small pavilion. You almost could miss it, but there are a few placards to guide you. However, once you begin the singletrack, it is extremely well marked.

trail markers with distance at Batsto, orange is 19 miles, green is 6 miles

Although the maps can look a little crazy, if you know how far you want to go, you can just stick to follow that marker along the trail. For instance:

  • Green = 6.2 miles
  • Blue = 5 miles
  • White = 2.5 miles
  • Red = 0.8 miles

However, most trails overlap and you can get creative with your route. So if you have lots of time and energy, it’s fun to follow your whims and let your biking heart lead you.

If you’re looking for a challenging adventure set in a silent pine forest, you’ve come to the right place. Take your pick of three different well-marked routes.

various distances with options for riding at Batsto - bike map

I have biked the green, blue, white, and red bike trails and judge the terrain to be very similar. The only difficulty level changes are with the distance. Using a bike odometer, I’ve covered up to 14 miles in one day. It’s not easy and if it’s summer it’ll be harder. However, it is fun and even more importantly, very quiet and peaceful. At times you may feel like you’re the only one around for miles. It’s rare to have that sense of quiet and peace in NJ.

4. Bass River State Park

Address: 762 Stage Road, Tuckerton

This park is in Burlington County and provides an excellent destination for bikers who enjoy camping environments. The park offers a variety of trails suitable for mountain biking, with paths that range from flat and sandy to slightly hilly. The trails are generally well-maintained and marked, great for both beginner and intermediate bikers.

Lake Absegami Trail

A loop around the lake, it offers beautiful views and a tranquil biking experience. The diverse terrain and peaceful settings make Bass River State Forest a delightful place for a day of biking amidst the quiet beauty of the Pine Barrens.

Paved Road

The second option for biking Bass River is simply to park at the entrance and ride your bike through the park. There is about 4-5 miles of paved road, and if you choose to hop on any trails along the road, you will extend your distance. 

easy smooth paved riding throughout Bass River State Park

If you love to camp, but can’t always get there or aren’t always up for it, riding a bike through the campground will satisfy your camper whims.

more bike trails within park, dirt and sand yellow marker.
Yellow Trail is multi-use and extends throughout the park.

You will most likely be treated to the scent of campfire as well as wildlife viewing. Twice when riding my bike through, I saw a snake (but never when camping!). For all these reasons and more, it’s a great place to bring your inner child.

Single Track Mountain Biking

This gem is a best kept secret. I’ve never seen another person using it during the dozen times I’ve been there.

There are a few areas for mountain biking, but my favorite is the trail across the street from the park. Still within Bass River boundaries, it’s primarily the purple marked trails.

To get there, park at the Visitor Center then ride your bike past the ranger kiosk and cross Stage Road. The trail begins where you’ll see a small dirt road into the forest.

Beautiful dense forest of Atlantic White Cedars along this trail, typical of the Pine Barrens.

There are lots of reasons I enjoy this trail so much. For one thing, it’s isolated and that makes it less traveled. Another is the way the dense forest creates dappled light mixed with shadows. The trees are so pure and untouched here.

You can really extend this purple trail to cross back into the park via the yellow trail. To get a slightly different course, enter the woods across the Stage Road as you did with the purple trail, but instead take the orange trail. It’s not as long, but it is apart from the main park enough that you’re getting a more wooded experience.

Finally, when you’re done biking, there’s still plenty to enjoy at Bass River. There is a public boat launch ramp area for kayaking and picnic areas.

5. Great Bay Boulevard

(Commonly referred to as Seven Bridges Road) New Gretna

Not a designated bike path, but still offers a unique and scenic biking experience. This road stretches through serene coastline with views of the marshlands, tidal creeks, and open waters of the Great Bay. Despite the nickname, the road does not have seven bridges.

This is a Great Bay Wildlife Management Area, operated by the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, Division of Fish and Wildlife. 

The route is relatively flat and straight, making it accessible for bikers of all skill levels. Sunrise and sunset  are particularly pretty. 

 To get here, take the Garden State Parkway and get off at Exit 52 for New Gretna/Green Bank. Turn left onto E Greenbush Rd. Turn right onto US-9 North. Then turn left onto Great Bay Boulevard.

Once you reach the Boulevard, you’ll pass marinas and some neighborhoods, but slowly the landscape will change to bushy trees and marsh land. As you approach the route,  road markings will disappear and you will be enveloped by tall marsh grass to your left and into your right. 

The first bridge is the largest, less than a mile from the strip mall.

The second bridge is pretty small and is about a mile past the first bridge. This gives you a view of the Atlantic City skyline. 

The third bridge is barely even a hill at all. Your legs will probably be happy about that. It comes out about the 2 mile mark.

If you like to watch animals play, you may have a chance to catch a rare glimpse of a seal!

As you continue to pedal you’ll see lots of birds in the marsh and water. Some of these include osprey, herons, egrets, terns, brant geese and black skimmers. 

There are a few more stopping points if you want to get off here and get off the road. 

The fourth bridge is on a curve and it’s just past a boat yard. Unique about this bridge is that there is a traffic light because it is so narrow, only one car can pass at a time. It is also wooden and definitely rickedy. 

Even if you are on a bike, you need to follow the traffic sign. You might still share the bridge with a car, so try to cross quickly. 

It’s kinda hard to believe this old wooden bridge supports motor vehicles.

The fifth bridge is about another mile down the road and is also wooden with a traffic signal. 

You’ll start to notice that the water in the marsh is right along the road now. If it has been raining heavily, you might want to pick another spot to ride. 

By the sixth bridge, you will have peddled about 5 miles and may start to notice beach sand. This is where the road runs out and you can park your car and sit on the beach or just turn around. 

When you first glimpse the other side where the road runs out, it’s a little unbelievable that the wild and powerful Atlantic ocean is lapping at the shores for miles and miles surrounding you.

But there it is!

If you’d like, you can explore the coastline which is more marsh than sand. You may have some luck with the tides and be able to see unique sea life. Because it is mostly water and marsh, there is not much shade. But there’s tons of wind to keep you cool on a hot summer day and even places to put your feet in the water if you choose. What I love best is the seclusion that offers an ideal journaling setting.

Great Bay Boulevard – Good To Know:

  • In total from the first bridge to the end is about 4.5 miles. So double that for round trip. My recommendation is to park after you cross the first bridge since it is the largest and there’s nothing really to see by parking before then anyway. Plus there is a small dirt lot and short boardwalk, making it an ideal place to settle yourself and your gear.
  • You can alter the overall distance as much as you want by parking further in along the road before riding.
  • You have to pack in and pack out all of your trash. 
  • You may see Terrapin turtles crossing in season.
  • If you are coming in spring fall, it does tend to be chillier by the water so dress a bit warmer.
  • There are no restrooms.
  • If you’re up for it, you can come back with an ocean kayak, there are plenty of put-in places.

I Hope You’ll Try Biking In the Pine Barrens!

I’ve biked my little heart out all across the country, and biking in the Pine Barrens always promises to be the best of the best. Sweet smelling pines, flat roads, and peaceful wildlife all create a wonderful day of pedaling in nature. I’ve also healed significant trauma on these roads and in these woods. I hope you receive the many blessings biking in the Pine Barrens has to offer.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do NJ State Parks charge an entrance fee?

As of July 1, 2024, the Governor of NJ has waived the fee

Do state and county parks have bathrooms?

Yes!

Should I use tick repellant if I’m biking, not hiking?

Yes! Always protect yourself from ticks in NJ…Summer, Spring and Fall.

Do adults need to wear a bike helmet in NJ?

The law requires that anyone under the age of 17 must wear a helmet. Although adults are not legally required, it’s highly recommended for safety reasons.

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