Explore the most popular birding trails near Mountainside with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

16 days ago

1.6.19. A gentle stroll through the woods, not much climbing (279 feet over 3.6 miles). The White trail is well marked (white square blazes), and near Lake Surprise it becomes more of a network of interconnecting pathways. Not a lot of exciting features (the narrow lake and the Watchung Stables). A bit too much road for my liking, but a decent enough walk. Very muddy after recent rains. We took about an hour and a half but were ambling and picking our way through the mud, so normally I'd say this could be done a bit faster.

Took the Purple trail around the pond. Fairly easy but nice hike overall. Trails were a little sloppy from bikers and views are limited, but the historic markers are cool.

Mostly flat easy terrain. 25% moderate as you need to watch your footing to prevent rolling an ankle. quite muddy in second half (when travelling counterclockwise)

Sign was bit confusing but overall had good time..!

11 months ago

I’ve been here a lot. I use to fish the area of watching and plainfield this was my go to place for pickerole and crappie

Friday, November 24, 2017

First part is unnecessary all you pass is a giant white thing with graffiti. Too many roads along this trail. It’s also neither a challenging hike nor a well maintained trail for running or elderly folks.

Saturday, October 28, 2017

Very nice trail. A bit tricky at one point on the trail as you come from west to east. No markings at intersection of Historic Trail (pink) and Cataract Road. Wound up finding our way on white trail, which hooked back up to Historic Trail by the lake. Overall great experience, though.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Very disappointed. The purple trail paralleled route 78 which was very loud. Terribly loud. There were even sections that were along a road. It's too bad as everything else was lovely. A lot of wildlife, a deep ravine, beautiful tree and the historic readings were very interesting. No way that this is moderate. It was very easy.

Monday, September 11, 2017

Last minute decision to hike here on my day off and I was not disappointed at all! A challenging 6 mile hike that has lots of different terrain and elevation change! 10/10

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Did it again. Hiking shoes and long pants recommended.

Friday, September 08, 2017

The trail was difficult to find at the start, but we made our own route following other paths to get to the purple trail. Once you're on it, the Watchung Historic Trail is clearly marked with purple blazes. It does get muddy and very narrow/steep at certain parts, but it was honestly one of my favorite hikes.

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Trails were poorly marked and confusing. Not an ideal place to hike if it recently rained (somewhat muddy, although I've experienced worse). Didn't care for the close proximity of the brush to the trail - we were constantly batting away random vines and had to watch our step. The open fields around the forest were pleasant and I enjoyed the visitor's center. Other than that, it wasn't so great. I won't be returning any time soon.

Monday, July 03, 2017

I was completely immersed in nature on this trail. The constant noises from chipmunks or squirrels scattering about, woodpeckers working and birds chirping left nothing to the imagination. There were numerous junctions that had me wondering how much deeper would the experience get if I wandered off of the purple trail.

The trees broke up the direct sunlight and that was good considering it was close to 90 degrees.

AllTrails on my iPhone helped me along this trail and it reduced worry of getting lost. Trails are marked well but it did take sometime to find the trail entrance from the parking lot.

Wear some good shoes because some parts were pretty rocky!

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Great hike for anyone. Trails are nicely marked.

Awesome trail. It was my first time.. started at 10 am and finished around 2:30pm. Totally doable for a first timer.

Saturday, April 01, 2017

Maybe we shouldn't have hiked it when it was raining, but a majority of the Purple Trail was underwater. Not like a little creek, but a flowing river lined on either side with thorn bushes. We were soaked to the bone and freezing and again that might've been our own fault for picking the wrong day to hike it, but the trail maintenance was just not there.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017



Moderate in length, easy in elevation change.

mountain biking
Saturday, October 01, 2016

Love this trail. It has awesome technical climbs and dry river crossing , however found out by other hikers bikes are not permitted in Watchung, very big shame given the diversity and plenty of options for multi-use activity, maybe that will change one day. Some spots are very rocky. Be careful on rainy days.

Sunday, September 04, 2016

Did the pink trail; markings were hard to find; got lost for 30 minutes and had to backtrack. Rocky, climbed over fallen trees, some of the trail had lots of water flowing right on path. There is a rope midway through to help get you from the bottom to climb up to the next ledge ... But I'd do it again! Was a blast! 6 miles according to the trail map

Monday, August 08, 2016

This is a pretty good trail but the Easy designation might not be accurate for the whole hike. There are a couple spots where the trail is washed away, one of which requires a short, steep climb. It is roughly halfway around the circuit. There is a ladder and rope available to help. But not every hiker would be able to manage that portion of the trail. Overall the trail is reasonably well marked and there weren't a lot of people even on a Sunday afternoon. But there is also a portion that is within earshot of I-78. So it's not perfectly quiet either.

Sunday, June 19, 2016

The white trail was marked but had too many intersections and side trails that loops back to the main white blaze trail. a large portion of trail was built as horse bridle path, thus a lot of manure landmines all over. The smell is all around during midday hours. The artificial man made reservoir looked more like a swamp with massive brown algae growth. My son informed me that the water lacks oxygen and thus the brown murky color. Make sure you bring bug spray to ward off the mosquitoes and black flies. The trail was leveled and was easy to hike on. Very heavy tree canopy to shade from the blazing sun. All in all, the trail was sufficiently wide for my 2 sons and me to walk abreast and just shoot the breeze and enjoy each other' company.

Kid friendly, serene . my first Trail since i moved to US three months back and was all worth. What a way to welcome the spring. MY 10 year old loved it!

Sunday, April 03, 2016

I actually made this trail myself as part of my Eagle Scout Project. It's a 6 mile loop trail starting at Trailside and takes you through the reservation. I made it to balance out the existing trails in the reservation and it's pretty easy. It has a couple slope spots along the trail but for the most part it isn't too bad, definitely family oriented. Enjoy!

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Good for bird watching and photography opportunities

Friday, August 08, 2014

This trail is more of a one time hike.

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