Know the New Hiking How-tos
Garret Mountain Reservation
To Lambert Castle parking area:
- Driving: I-80 to Exit 57A, south on NJ 19 to Valley Road exit. Turn right onto Valley Road, then next right.
- Public Transportation: NJ Transit bus #192 and #702 [Valley Road & Fenner Ave]
Two other entrances lead to numerous parking areas at the top of Garret Mountain. Click on Contact Information, then follow the Directions tab. Parking near the Observation Tower (which is now open to the public) is located here: 40.900452, -74.175332
NJ Transit bus #192 and #702 [Valley Road & Fenner Ave]. Walk 0.2 mile north along Valley Road to just beyond Frederick Avenue, turn left on an entrance road for Lambert Castle Museum, walk an additional 0.2 mile.
Situated on a ridge 500 feet above sea level, Garret Mountain Reservation offers several overlooks with panoramic views of northern New Jersey and New York City.
The Reservation features three major blazed trails.
- The Yellow Trail circles around Garret Mountain Reservation [yellow blaze; 3.1 miles]. Access points with parking are scattered throughout the park, including one located near the 70-foot high Observation Tower. The steep former Yellow Trail spur from the Lambert Castle parking area (shown on older trail maps) has now been incorporated into the Morris Canal Greenway – and re-blazed accordingly with its logo.
- Alert: As of September 2019, he asphalt path between Lambert Castle and Lambert Tower is closed indefinitely. This section of the Greenway is awaiting installation of new metal railings to replace the rotted-out wooden ones.
- The Morris Canal Greenway segment that runs through the Reservation includes a section of the pathway that is roughly parallel to the original Canal now covered by I-80 and Route 19. This trail offers a head-on north-facing view of downtown Paterson. Click for a map showing parking and access points to the Morris Canal Greenway. Zoom in to the northern end of Garret Mountain Reservation to view access points which include Lambert Castle parking area and another at Summit Avenue. The Greenway actually includes two routes: The Garret Mountain Reservation route is hiking only (displayed in green on the map); while another planned route down below will be multi-use and follows roads and sidewalks where available (displayed in yellow).
- The White Trail traverses the northern end of the park and connects at both ends with the Yellow Trail, making possible additional loop hikes.
Blazed trails in the park range from 0.7 to 3.1 miles, and when combined total over 8 miles. Other unblazed major trails and minor trails add to the total -- use "Web Map" link.
It is possible to walk seven tenths of a mile on the sides of major roads and local streets from Garret Mountain Reservation to Rifle Camp Park. (enter “Garret Mountain Reservation, Woodland Park, NJ” in an Internet map search service to view a street map).
- No fee for parking or hiking, just admission to Lambert Castle
- The Friends of Garret Mountain serves "to help preserve, protect, and enhance the natural beauty of Garret Mountain Reservation and Rifle Camp Park."
Garret Mountain, located in Paterson and Woodland Park, is divided into two separate Passaic County parks: Garret Mountain Reservation to the north and Rifle Camp Park to the south.
The 568-acre Garret Mountain Reservation includes Lambert Castle, built in 1893 by Catholina Lambert, a wealthy silk manufacturer. Many workers believed that he built it high up on the mountain to watch over his mills below. The main portion of the park - on the ridgetop above the castle - is encircled by a paved drive and has a variety of developed recreational facilities, but it also features three trails that traverse lesser-used areas and offer several panoramic overlooks. The New York City skyline can be seen from several overlooks along the Yellow Trail.
Lambert Observation Tower, built in 1896 on the ridge of the mountain, is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Closed since 1971, it re-opened in 2014. When open to the public, visitors can climb to the top of the 75-foot tower and enjoy commanding views of Paterson and the distant New York City skyline.
Garret Mountain is a destination for birds – both migratory and local -- and for birders. It is one of twelve National Natural Landmarks (NNL) designated in New Jersey by the National Park Service. The NNL Program encourages the conservation of outstanding examples of biological and geological features found throughout the country.
Special note: this area is especially rich in labor and industrial history. A fabulous day or two can be spent by combining visits to:
- Lambert Castle, library and art museum, home of Passaic County Historical Society, on Garret Mountain.
- The Paterson Museum-Thomas Rodgers Building [manufactured steam engines], Paterson.
- The Paterson Great Falls National Historical Park and related raceway system [source of water power]
- The American Labor Museum/Botto House [1913 silk strike headquarters], 83 Norwood Street, Haledon