South Mountain Reservation

South Mountain Reservation

South Mountain Reservation view - Photo: Daniel Chazin South Mountain Reservation view - Photo: Daniel Chazin Stone pillars - South Mountain Reservation - Photo: Daniel Chazin Stone pillars - South Mountain Reservation - Photo: Daniel Chazin

This loop hike includes a panoramic viewpoint, a scenic waterfall, and a stroll along a pleasant stream.

40.726645, -74.304805

From the kiosk at the northeast corner of the parking area, follow the yellow-blazed Lenape Trail, which bears right onto a gravel road leading to a picnic area. The trail continues through the picnic area, then bears left and begins to climb the First Watchung Mountain on a wide path. It bears right at a fork, then turns right at a T intersection (marked by a chain-link fence) onto a woods...

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Trip Reports

rate experience
October 01, 2017
Great loop
Loved this hike--when we went in early fall most of the streams were dry, but the waterfall and river were running and very beautiful. I was amazed at the diversity of vegetation we saw along the trail, given that it isn't particularly long. The initial climb up to Crest Drive had us winded, but after that it was a fairly easy and pleasant walk. Waymarking is adequate without being excessive. The only place we had trouble following the blazes was on the Rahway trail after the second river crossing (last mile or so)--definitely stay alert during this section. As you approach the parking lot, also be on the lookout for the "fairy houses" hidden in the trees by a local artist.
Kate Wadman
June 02, 2012
River crossing still tricky
Did this as a trail run again a few weeks ago, and the water crossing on the Rahway Trail is still tricky, as noted. Some work with stones to make it a bit easier (and drier) to cross would be a big help.
Michael K7
October 23, 2011
River crossing and tricky sections of Rahway trail
We did this trail today and should say we really enjoyed our time here. Fall colors is gorgeous. From that perspective, I guess this is the best time to hike here. But the foliage, wetness etc also make some sections in the Rahway trail tricky to pass. Of course, we are novice hikers, but no strangers to uneven terrain or long walks. As Elena mentioned below, we found the rock hopping across Rahway tricky. Probably the river must have been fuller than it would have been in summer. We managed to cross, but not before getting our boots fully submerged into water (ah that ickyness :|). Probably Irene had its toll here. We found many fallen trees and sections of Rahway trail which had a good deal of overgrowth (one section in Rhododendron grove had to be walked around since it was difficult to pass through). This also made the crossing the woodlands section (the section where we climb gradually from the river to walk along the side of the hill) a bit scary. There were places where we could not get proper footing and had to depend on our balance to get through. Also, towards the end of the trail (sometime after the Diamond Mills pond I guess), there was a section which went down near the river and curved sharply. We found it difficult to pass through (may be it's just us). That being said, Rahway trail was gorgeous and the scary, treacherous section (for us) was the also the most beautiful :) Lenape trail was also good, but comparatively easier to complete and the payoff (Hemlock falls) provided for a nice break. We would definitely visit again, but will tread cautiously in Rahway trails (or take the alternative bridle paths where things get tricky).
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