South Mountain Reservation is a 2000+ acre park located in Essex County bordering the towns of Millburn, South Orange and Maplewood. The hilly park follows along the ridge of the lower Watchung mountain range and offers many easy to moderate hiking options for those looking to get in a long day or just going out with the children. The 34 mile Lenape Trail [yellow blazes] runs the length of the park.
Geographic highlights include two ponds along dammed sections of the Rahway River, Hemlock Falls and a few other smaller water falls, basalt rock formations [including the famous Turtle Back Rock], and various overlooks to the east with views of the Hudson River and New York City Skyline.
A favorite afternoon hike starts in the Tulip Springs parking area along Glen Ave. in Millburn, following the white blazed trail north along the Rahway River until it meets South Orange Ave. After a short detour to see Hemlock Falls the yellow or white and red blazes can be picked up and followed back south along the top of the ridge.
South Mountain Conservancy
The South Mountain Conservancy is a non profit organization that works within the park to support, protect and preserve the park. They run regular hikes, trail maintenance days, and forest regeneration, and native plant care taking.
Downloadable Trail Map from the Essex County web site, or purchase a trail map from SOMOCON at these locations.
Photos of this park taken by Chris Casciano. Photographs from parks and trails around New Jersey can be purchased at New Jersey Landscape Photography by Chris Casciano. Buy a print to support this site and take home a memory of the trails.
Map & Location
View directions via the Essex County site or click on the map below for a link to Google Maps. or click on the map below for a link to Google Maps.