Hike of the Week – Watchung Reservation

Hike of the Week, New Jersey, Outdoor Adventure

The best part about hiking the Watchung Reservation is that you can hike out of the reservation and hike about an hour north on New Providence road, to a place where the beer flows like wine, where ladies take turns riding a mechanical bull, where couples of all ages gather on the dance floor to line dance their little hearts out, I’m talking about a place called Colorado Café. This place does exist, believe it or not, down the road from the Watchung Reservation. If you ever make it back to the reservation, there are even more spectacular things awaiting you inside.

The reservation is a protected 2,000 acre area, located in Mountainside, New Jersey. Here where you will find historical geological features, like volcanic ridges that were formed hundreds of millions of years ago. You will suddenly stumble upon an abandoned village, which is kind of spooky, even in the day time. Me and my girlfriend recently completed the 11+ mile loop and eventually walked through an area mainly made up of evergreens. It was almost as if someone had planted them there. We later read that they were in fact, planted there.


Our companion, Stuart – the French bulldog, attempted to have lunch along the trail. The lunch would have been a garter snake if we hadn’t pulled him away in time. It is finally getting nice out and the garter snakes are starting to come out and sun themselves this time of year. Watchung Reservation is a great place to spot many different kinds of birds. We saw a red-headed woodpecker, hawks, turkey vultures, mallards, and dozens of small bird species that I cannot readily identify.

A great hike overall if you’re looking to do a lengthy day hike. What we did not like was that occasionally the trail took us near the main road, which means listening to “noises of the road” from time to time.  The only other minor snafu was finding the trial head. We ended up doing the hike backwards as a result of finding the trail ass, instead. You will definitely want to get a map at the visitor center. There is also a “surprise” along the trail, and that is up to you to explore 🙂

2 thoughts on “Hike of the Week – Watchung Reservation

  1. How cool is that! And in New Jersey? So happy that you and Cait took Stewey with you. Good dog. You should check out Ricketts Glenn up here in NEPA. You’d LOVE it!!! Thanks for the beautiful pictures and the vicarious stroll through the woods.

  2. Thanks for the tip, Marcella! We need to plan a trip out there soon.
    Stuart loves hiking, except when he has to cross brooks and streams, but you’d be surprised how high that little dog can jump.

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