Watchung Reservation

A Great Recreation Spot

By: - Outdoors - July 20, 2011
watchung reservation a great recreation spot

Watchung reservation is a huge park that is located in the city of New Jersey, in the famed Union County.  In fact, Watchung reservation hiking is amongst the best in the state, offering hiking trails close to Summit, Springfield, Scotch Plains and Berkeley Heights.  Part of the walks take you through Blue Brook valley, Second Watchung and First Watchung mountains and close to Lake Surprise’s dammed headwater.

Watchung reservation is filled with great activities.  Families, couples and kids can enjoy over nineteen hundred acres of land and forests, preserved for its natural forms of resources, as well as being a place of fun playgrounds, a museum, a stables and varied golf courses.  Other important activities that people can enjoy within the reservation include horseback riding and hiking.  In fact, Watchung reservation hiking includes varied trails that are also used by horse riders.  The main trailhead called Trailside has a playground for kids and picnic tables for barbecues and family reunions.  Even those who love to do mountain climbing will find the reservation inviting.  There is a huge science center close to the southern end, where climbers can hike to the southern area along Diamond Hill Raod, clambering up boulders to varied brookside cliffs.  However, unlike many reservations of its kind, it has been developed into a pristine area for recreation, where a long since abandoned village called Feltville has been re-inhabited for the first time again since 2010.  Popular hiking areas quite often go through the pine plantation area, including a conservation area that was established in the 30s.  For a time in the 50s, despite public protests, the reservation was commandeered by the US military for use for a site for a Nike missile, which was in operation until 1963, a means of defending nearby New York City from potential attack during the Cold War.  Today, the base has been converted into a stables for holidaymakers and visitors, but unfortunately, the land was taken again by the government on the northern end for a new interstate.  Attempts by conservationists to overcome the construction of the road came in the form of bridges of land to enable animals to go backwards and forwards from one side of the interstate to the other safely, but to date the majority of animals have never used it.

Watchung reservation is still a beautiful place for a climbing or general trip into the wilderness.  It is equally as popular with history lovers who try to find some remnants of the old missile base amongst the straw and dung of the stables.  Others simply love the Watchung reservation hiking which is still one of the biggest draws of this beautifully preserved area of New Jersey.

Photo: Watchung Reservation – public domain photo –

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