The Watchungs consist of three narrow, curved ridges that extend from Bound Brook north to Oakland and Mahwah. The Watchungs are composed of volcanic basalt which formed when molten lava extruded out of the earth’s surface and cooled rapidly. The ridges roughly parallel each other, with only a mile or two between them. The westernmost ridge, known as the Third Watchung,is lower and less prominent than the eastern two ridges, known as the First and Second Watchungs. Their extension north of Paterson is also known as the Preakness Range.
Suburban developments have covered all but isolated sections of the Watchungs, with areas for hiking limited to several parks and reservations. Most of these are extensively developed with park drives open to vehicular traffic, wide bridlepaths and stables for horses, picnic areas, and other recreational facilities. Thosewho are seeking pristine wilderness will not find it here.