High Mountain Park Preserve (Wayne, NJ)


This loop hike climbs to the summit of the highest mountain in view of the ocean on the east coast (south of Maine), with outstanding views.

2.5 hours
4 miles
Route Type:
Allowed on leash
First Published:

Daniel Chazin


East-facing view from the summit of High Mountain - Photo by Daniel Chazin


View High Mountain in a larger map

Trail Conference volunteers maintain trails in this park.
Trailhead GPS Coordinates
40.951987, -74.200308
Driving Directions

Take Route 208 west to the second Goffle Road exit (towards Hawthorne/Paterson) and turn right at the end of the ramp. At the next light, just beyond the intersection with Goffle Hill Road, turn right onto North Watchung Drive. At a "stop" sign at the top of the hill, turn sharply right onto Rea Avenue, which becomes North Haledon Avenue and then Linda Vista Avenue. At a T-intersection with Terrace Avenue, turn right, then bear left to continue on Linda Vista Avenue. After crossing High Mountain Road, the name of the street changes to Overlook Avenue. Continue ahead into William Paterson University (Entry 6). At the next "stop" sign, turn right and continue for 0.4 mile to a small parking area on the right, with a sign "High Mountain Park."


From the kiosk near the entrance to the parking lot, follow a gravel path across an open area that heads northeast, parallel to University Drive. At the edge of the woods, you will notice a double red blaze on a fallen tree, which marks the start of the Red Trail. Follow the trail into the woods. The trail soon reaches a T-intersection, where it turns left onto a woods road. At a huge boulder on the left, the Red Trail turns left onto another woods road.

In another half a mile, you’ll reach a high point on the trail where a triple-yellow blaze on a small rock marks the start of the Yellow Trail (this point is also marked by a green sign as Location 2). Turn right onto the Yellow Trail, which descends to cross a small stream on rocks. The trail turns left at a sign for Location 3 and heads north, passing just west of the low ridge known as Mt. Cecchino. In about two-thirds of a mile along the Yellow Trail, the trail crosses a small stream and begins a steady climb to the summit of High Mountain along a rocky woods road. Near the top, the trail bears left onto a footpath, bypassing an eroded section of the road. 

Just below the summit, the footpath rejoins the woods road. Here, on the right, there is a panoramic east-facing viewpoint. On the horizon, beyond the suburban sprawl of northeastern New Jersey, you can see the New York City skyline, the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge and even a corner of the Atlantic Ocean. Continue up to the summit, which resembles a grassy southern bald, with a few large exposures of basaltic bedrock. From the summit, both the New York City skyline to the east and the eastern end of the ridge of the Watchung Mountains to the south are visible.

When you’re ready to continue, head northwest across the broad summit, following the yellow blazes on rocks, and continue downhill on the Yellow Trail. Be sure to follow the yellow blazes, as several paths and woods roads lead down the mountain. The Yellow Trail crosses a secondary summit, levels off, and then descends steeply on an eroded woods road. 

Near the base of the descent, be alert for a sharp left turn (Location 7) where the yellow blazes leave the woods road and enter the woods on a footpath. Continue along the Yellow Trail, which descends to a stream, bears left to parallel it, and then crosses it. About 250 feet beyond the stream crossing, you’ll reach a woods road (with a green sign marking Location 8).

Turn left onto the road, the route of the Red Trail, and head south. You’ll pass through an area which is often wet, but after a woods road branches off to the left, the trail route becomes drier. Further down the road, the trail passes several clusters of cedar trees, and it descends over slabs of exposed basalt. 

After about a mile on the Red Trail, the White Trail begins to the right at Location 12, but proceed ahead on the Red Trail. Then, in another 500 feet, you’ll reach the junction with the Yellow Trail that you encountered earlier in the hike. Continue ahead on the Red Trail (now retracing your steps) and follow it back to the parking lot where the hike began.

To view a photo collection for this hike, click here.

Comment: Please be relevant, civil, non-commercial.

Great hike today!

We moved our son into William Paterson today and decided to parlay the 4 miler to High Mountain. We saw a racoon (odd @ 2pm).  At the top we saw a young buck and a beautiful view of the city. On the way back we found a rusty crowbar on the red trail (do not think it was 'booby trap'). We also had the pleasure of meeting trail supervisor Bob Simpson at the trailhead! Great day great hike!

Bear sighting on Yellow trail

I completed this hike yesterday without incident but there is a sign posted at the trailhead warning about a mother and and cub black bear sighted on the yellow trail back in May. The correct GPS coordinates for the parking lot are 40.951987, -74.200308

Corrected parking lot coordinates

Thank you for your report about this hike!

I have updated the GPS coordinates for the parking lot to the correct small lot at the trailhead.  The previous coordinates were for the larger parking lot at the University itself.

TC Cartographer

Wayne's High Mountain Park Preserve!

Check out NJUrbanForest.com's virtual tour of this fantastic preserve!


Plenty of pictures!

Parking Lot GPS coordinates

The parking lot is not at the Trailhead so here are the GPS coordinates of the parking lot: 40 degrees 57.126 minutes North, 74 degrees 12.029 minutes West, elevation 570 feet.