Explore the most popular hiking trails in South Mountain Reservation with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

12.3.18. A series of three pretty trails through the woods. The first part tracks the West Branch of the Rahway River. Some gentle climbs and some mud after rain. Nothing too strenuous and we completed this 2.5 mile loop in about one hour. Note however that only the Rahway trail is marked (white blazes).

trail running
25 days ago

Paved running trail. Good for skating.

Went yesterday on an absolutely beautiful fall day. The two waterfalls we saw were incredible, as was most of the scenery. The trails weren’t super challenging but there were some points with steep elevation. Pretty crowded which negated any possibility of seeing wildlife. Also, we did get lost due some poorly marked trails, but we were able to get back on. Overall, if you avoid the wide heavily trafficked trails you are in for a great hike.

11/2/18. South Mountain Reservation is almost in my back yard and I've hiked it very, very often, I had not however (until introduced to it by All Trails) ever hiked this particular combination. An easy 4.5 mile hike that can be done in approx 1.5 hours — one feels like a Parisien Boulevardier on 10' wide trails for most of the hike (with the exception of the Lenape trail which is narrower and twistier). Fall colors make it feel like a sepia photograph. As others have noted though, with the exception of the Lenape trail (yellow), it is VERY poorly marked and I don't recommend doing this without the GPS on in the All Trails app.

Love the trail itself but needs to be marked. Walked in circles the whole time

Nice trail but easy to get lost

A friend and I just hiked this Sunday, and we both agreed the trail markers were albeit readily available for most parts of the trip- are confusing to read on other sections. You have to pay attention to where you are going with the intersecting pathways. Nonetheless, we still couldn’t find the markers to follow once we hiked back around towards the viewing platform (we started at locust park). It was pretty muddy, but it was an enjoyable hike! We did end at hemlock falls and returned back because altogether we ended up doing about 11 miles just by deviating and climbing parts of alternative routes and climbing up to the top of the waterfall. But all in all nice starter hike for those lookin to slowly extend their trips! We are coming back here with a few more ladies to have them try this out before I make them do part of the Appalachian trail and Hawk Mountain. Haha!

It's great to hike so close to home without driving far. bought a map at REI , still discovering all the unmarked trails.

- Nice trail, overall.
- A little confusing to navigate in parts, especially with so many intersecting roads and paths, but doable if you print a map in advance or use a phone for directions.
- Not too many changes in elevation; pretty easy for all ages.
- The falls and view from Washington Rock were nice, but nothing too memorable. Otherwise, not much else to see along the way.
- LOTS of bugs. Must bring bug spray!

Great spot to hike
Trail marking could be better but great experience overall

You need to go after a lot of rain. Then the waterfall is really cool. I like parking at the Walker Road entry. It adds more miles, but is nice to hear the train at Turtleback Zoo, and you really can raise the pace on these trails. This is one of the most dense suburban areas in the world; so, to lose yourself in the woods is such a wonderful experience. Very dog friendly park, with lots of streams!

trail running
4 months ago

Flat trail, good for trail running, follow the red mark. At lease 3-4 crossings with other trails

The trails are easy and decently marked, however it's easy to get off the trail if you are distracted, the falls are nice. Watch for bikes on the trails.

Shady and perfect for a warm day.

Very fun hike but it would have been impossible without GPS and the AllTrails app, because there are almost no markings on the trails. Even with GPS and the AllTrails app, finding our way was difficult at times. Sometimes we would just start walking where the trail was supposed to be and it would eventually materialize. That said, while South Mountain Reservation is often crowded, we were hiking alone, which was great, on much of this route — probably because no one else knows about or can find it. Interestingly, the trails themselves are mostly in pretty good condition, so someone is clearly handling the upkeep — just not the markings.

Our dog loved it!

My family and I hiked this 2 times this weekend and enjoyed it. Very easy trail.

Not very well marked. Went off trail quite a bit. Hemlock Falls was nice.

An easy trail that may get you lost towards the end of the outer swamp trail. overall it was a fun trail with nice view of the two waterfalls and other scenes. A nice breezy trail to do.

Really nice trail, family friendly, and beautiful scenery

Did this trail today - could be marked out better but overall a good hike and lots of things to see

The trail itself was fine, but the best part was definitely the little fairy houses hidden in tree trunks and trees along the trail.

Not as well marked as I would have liked but great!

You can leisurely hike the trail. the elevation inclines are not extreme. Take your time and soak in the surrounding. The only annoying issue are some of the irresponsible dog owners that do not leash their dogs while on the trail.

Spring Time Day Hike:

Complexity: Super Easy
Terrain: Flatland
Trekking Pole: Not Needed
Foot Wear: Trail runners should work fine. You dont need a fancy hiking shoe. A sturdy running shoe will also work
View: This trail is pretty much close to civilization. There is a little park in the trail head.
Trail & Markers: Even though i did not see a trail head. The path is pretty visible. Pretty wide trail. I followed orange trail markers. As there is so many trails criss crossing so watch out.
Parking: Enough parking for 20 cars
Permit: No fees
Animal Encounter: Squirrels
Overall timing: Should not take more than 45 min even if are walking slow
Streams : No
Pet : Leashed

It’s a nice, local spot with a small waterfall. Trail markings are difficult but if you know your way, it’s possible to stay off of paved roads and in some beautiful wooded areas with nice creeks. Great for our dog and 5 year old daughter.

Nice to get out for some fresh air, but I could hear cars driving nearby the whole time, and the only sign I saw on the trail was very adequate: "Where's the waterfall?"

Lame trail, most of it’s paved. Hate i wested my time.

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