South Mountain Reservation

South Mountain Reservation-NJ Travel Blog

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The ferns liked the rain

South Mountain Reservation is an 8-km² (2047-acre) large nature reserve in the Essex County Park System. In some way one could call it Central Park of Essex County. The reserve is located in the middle of the densely populated areas of West Orange, Maplewood, and Millburn. And like Central Park the area was developed by an Olmsted, in this case the son and stepson of Frederick Law Olmsted, the famous architect of New York's Central Park

The original landscape of the reservation, located in the Watchung Mountains, has been nicely preserved. And as such it has become a true green oasis of woods, streams, mountains, and waterfalls in the middle of urban area.

Nice mirror
Very convenient, if one does not have a car one could even take the train to the trailhead. The NJ Transit Millburn station is only several hundreds feet away from the trailhead.

Apart from nature the reservation offers three more interesting features. 1) Nice views! From the south section of the reservation one can enjoy great views on New York City and Newark. 2) History! This viewpoint was used by general George Washington during the revolutionary era. The place, now called Washington Rock, allowed the American troops to view the British enemy. 3) Ghost sites. In the past water of the many streams in this area was pumped into reservoirs on he hills for the city of West Orange. The old steam pumping station, which is located in the reserve has been abandoned and offers some creepy views.

The abandoned pumping station

It had been rather nice weather the whole morning. Even when I left the parking in the Bronx. And, exactly (EX-ACT-LY!!) the second I arrived at the trailhead parking it started raining.... So I grabbed my umbrella and started walking. It must have been a silly sight.

The view from Washington Rock was not a strategic one. The low clouds prevented me from seeing anything. I continued, and so did the rain. I had a quick look at the 7-meter (21-ft) high Hemlock Falls. Ugly graffiti demonstrated that we are in fact in an urban area. Fortunately it dried out and I was rewarded with nice misty scenes and,... thousands of hungry mosquitos who mercilessly attacked me, like I was the only living person on the whole world.

The trail led me just in front of the old pumping station. Graffiti was everywhere. A hole in the fence invited me for a closer look. I did not want to go inside the structure which looked not too stable. But I still got some nice pictures. More about the station here.

When I reached my car the mosquito bite count was about 50. Those little monsters even managed to bite though my think jeans!

More pictures below!

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The ferns liked the rain
The ferns liked the rain
Nice mirror
Nice mirror
The abandoned pumping station
The abandoned pumping station
Washington Rock
Washington Rock
The splendid view from Washington …
The splendid view from Washington…
Hemlock Falls in rain
Hemlock Falls in rain
At the brink of Hemlock Falls in t…
At the brink of Hemlock Falls in …
Near Hemlock Falls
Near Hemlock Falls
Misty after rain landscape
Misty after rain landscape
Nice mirror
Nice mirror
Nice mirror!
Nice mirror!
The abandoned pumping station
The abandoned pumping station
The abandoned pumping station
The abandoned pumping station
The abandoned pumping station
The abandoned pumping station
The abandoned pumping station
The abandoned pumping station
The abandoned pumping station
The abandoned pumping station
Even the hydrant was not safe from…
Even the hydrant was not safe fro…
Old bridge that gave access to the…
Old bridge that gave access to th…
GPS Profile of the hike (rendered …
GPS Profile of the hike (rendered…
GPS Height Profile
GPS Height Profile
South Mountain Reservation-NJ
photo by: mdalamers