Watchung Reservation



View Watchung Reservation in a larger map

Park Overview:

Highlights include Surprise Lake, the Deserted Village of Feltvile/Glenside Park, the Trailside Nature and Science Center, Seeley’s Pond and the Watchung Stables. Sierra Trail forms a 10.8 mile loop.

Trail Uses:Hiking, Bridle path, Handicapped
Dogs:Dogs on leash
Trail Miles:13 miles
Park Acreage:1995 acres
Web Map:Watchung Reservation Trail Map
Trail Conference volunteers maintain trails in this park.
Park Description:

Watchung Reservation in Union County is a 2,000-acre wooded tract where animal and plant life are protected.  Highlights of the park include Surprise Lake, the Deserted Village of Feltvile/Glenside Park, the Trailside Nature and Science Center, Seeley's Pond and the Watchung Stables.  Opened in 1941, The Trailside Museum was New Jersey's first nature museum.

Although I-78 traverses its northwestern flank, most of the reservation remains in a natural, wild state, and sound barriers muffle the road noise.

Trails Overview:

Four short nature trails, ranging from 0.2 to 0.9 mile, are near the Trailside Nature & Science Center.  The Sierra Trail [white square blaze; 10.8 miles] forms a loop that encircles the reservation.  Various connecting trails can be used to fashion shorter loop hikes.

Located Within the Reservation the Deserted Village of Feltville -- church/general store building in photo tab above -- features 10 surviving historic buildings, some still occupied.  The church/general building can be viewed in the photo tab above.  A brief history, one-mile self-guided tour, and map of the immediate area are available on its web site.



Take Route 22 to New Providence Road in Mountainside.  More specific driving directions are on the park's web site [see Contact Information below].  [Google Maps: "452 New Providence Rd, Mountainside, NJ"] 

NJ Transit bus #114 from the Port Authority Bus Terminal to the intersection of US 22 and New Providence Road in Mountainside; but hikers must walk uphill 1.4 miles to reach the reservation

Contact Information:Union County Park, Trailside Nature and Science Center

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

Taking the bus

Anyone have experience walking from the NJ Transit bus stop to the nature center?  Looks like there are parts of the walk where you're on the shoulder of Rt 22 and trying to wrap my head around how much of the walk is close to car traffic Thanks,Kathy 

Unleashed Dogs

Any advice for what to do about the high number of people letting their dogs run through the park unleashed?  My young son has a fear of dogs and is traumatized when unleashed pets run up to us while we're hiking through the park.  It's illegal in Union County to let a dog go unleashed, but that doesn't seem to matter.  Suggestions appreciated.


Can we do something about the masses of people that bring there kids to the park? they scream alot and my wife gets migranes easily. How does that sound? it is illegal, but you can not expect to go to a 2000 acre park and not expect some dogs off the leash.  children face fears though childhood and that is the way of life.  If you want to shelter them then there are plenty of more public parks that people will not take there dogs off a leash.  The more remote the location, the better your chance of seeing ANY animal up close.  No one brings there aggressive dog to a park to watch them attack people.  I would be more concerned walking around my  own neighborhood and a dog breaks out of a fence, before i would ever worry about a dog that is behaved enough to be trusted in public without restraint.

Links to maps don't work

these links to the maps don't work, it appears the website has changed... Thanks. This site has great content.

Link to map has been corrected

The link to the map has been corrected.  Thanks for bringing this to our attention.

Link To Map Still Not Working

Sorry, but the link to the Watchung Reservation map still isn't working.   Found this one dated 2014 from Union County Park site:

Link to Map

The existing map link worked for me, although it was very slow to load.