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:2000 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.  The park's web site has a Watchung Reservation trail map in color


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 Parks and Community Renewal, 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


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.

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.