Category Archives: Trip Report

Don’t Miss Spring

Though today is the official first day of Spring, Spring jumped the gun on us for a few weeks. If for some reason you haven’t gotten outside on the trail or walking around a local park, don’t waste much more time — you may miss it.

On Saturday I put in 10 miles on the trails of South Mountain Reservation and saw many signs of Spring — early wildflowers like Lavender or the invasive Lesser Celandine, many chirping birds, and trees pushing out new leaves. Continue reading

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A Bit Of Autumn Before Winter

Sitting in the home office, looking out at the cold rain that may be turning to an October snow later in the day and I thought it was timely to share a little bit of the yellow and browns of this season’s short lived Autumn, Photos by Chris Casciano taken in South Mountain Reservation in Millburn, New Jersey. Continue reading

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South Mountain’s 2nd Mayapple Festival in Photos

This past Saturday I spent the day in South Mountain Reservation wandering around the 2nd Annual Mayapple Festival. The day featured 3 separate guided hikes through the park, organized around a festival area at Summit Field that included an art show, live music, an educational booth run by the Essex County Environmental Center, and some other informational booths. All in all, a fun day for people of all ages, and some great weather. Hike 1: Summit Field to Washington Rock The morning started with a early hike out to Washington Rock and the overlook to the south at the Watchungs. The walk wandered a bit covering some unofficial trails and … Continue reading

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Small Parks: Loantaka Brook Reservation

Last weekend I had a nice little bike ride through the densely wooded, paved paths at Morris County’s Loantaka Brook Reservation. Adjacent to Chatham, Harding & Morris, the park is 570 acres and includes 8+ miles of all purposed paved trails, at least 6 miles of dirt hiking trails, a pond, ballfields, and picnic areas. Located near the Great Swamp National Wildlife Refuge and Lord Stirling Park the terrain is a similar fairly flat roll through woods and wetlands. Park Information For more information on Loantaka Brook Reservation, Direction and Trail Maps see these sites: Morris County Parks Commission’s Loantaka Page NYNJTC’s Loantaka page Listing of Park Entrance Locations Trip … Continue reading

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Winter Scenes on the Elmdale Trail

Unlike the icy rains today, yesterday started with nothing but blue and sunny skys. In the afternoon I snuck off for a short snowshoeing and photo trip along the Elmdale Trail (blue markers) in South Mountain Reservation starting and finishing from the corner of Glen Ave and Brookside Drive. View the 4 1/3 mile route on RunKeeper. The snow on this less used trail was icy and crusty the whole way, but I only had to break new trail for a short stint around the loop where the markers get a little sketchy without the worn dirt trails to follow. The snow was littered with fallen shards of ice, and … Continue reading

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Photos From Cold Afternoon In South Mountain

I had a little time at the end of last week for a mid afternoon walk around the snowy and icy banks of the Rahway River in South Mountain Reservation. I brought my camera along to capture some of the beautiful scenery and long Winter shadows. Warning: South Mountain Reservation Closed For Deer Hunt South Mountain Reservation will be closed on Tuesdays and Thursdays from now until January 27 to allow Essex County to run its deer management (hunting) program. This program will then move to Hilltop Reservation and Eagle Rock Reservation for the month of February. More information on the hunt from If you enjoyed these photographs you … Continue reading

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Lenape34, Lenape Trail Hike Report

On Columbus Day, October 11, 2010 I had the pleasure (and minor pain) of hiking 33 miles of the Lenape Trail with a great group of people for an event organized by the Freewalkers. Starting from the southern tip of South Mountain Reservation in Millburn, the day long hike covered several suburban parks and hiking trails in Essex County connected by this branch of the yellow blazed Lenape Trail. It was a great day of walking, exploring the Essex County Parks system, and getting to know a bunch of new friends and fellow hikers. I thought the trail was great and was really quite surprised that the route consisted of … Continue reading

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Spring Wildflower Spotting

It was such a nice Spring day on Friday that I had to leave the confines of my desk and spet a few moments in the sun. After lunch I walked a short loop in South Mountain Reservation entering from the Locust Grove parking area with the intention on checking into what wildflowers were appearing. Here’s what I spotted. What signs of Spring have you seen on the trail? Lesser celadine This waxy yellow flower can be seen in many spots in the valley near the water, runoff or muddy areas. The above photo was taken right off the parking area. Wikipedia entry for Lesser celadine. Yellow Trout-Lily Trout lilies … Continue reading

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New Year’s Day Hike 2010

I’m not one to make grand resolutions for New Years, but I do want to do two things in 2010 — get some more miles under my feet and keep exploring parks that I’m a regular at. Friday I did a little bit of both with a 7.6 mile hike around the snowy and slushy trails of South Mountain Reservation. NOTE: The above map and route was made with RunKeeper Pro, a GPS based activity monitor for the iPhone. One of the nice things about the trails in South Mountain is that its easy to orient yourself based on the slope of the ridge and the nearby roads making it … Continue reading

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Autumn Peaks in South Mountain Reservation

With this new site I’m hoping to post regular trip reports from hikes around the state of New Jersey to supplement the guide pages and give you an idea what to expect when heading out to your local park. Here’s the first of what I hope are many. With the fall foliage at near peak in Essex County and rainstorms moving through Friday and Saturday I spent Sunday afternoon with a couple of photographer friends and wandering around the waterfalls in South Mountain Reservation. Autumn colors seemed to be near peak, so if you’ve got the urge to go out and see the bright reds, yellows and oranges the northeast … Continue reading

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