South Mountain Reservation South Loop

South Mountain Reservation

South Mountain Reservation view - Photo: Daniel Chazin South Mountain Reservation view - Photo: Daniel Chazin Stone pillars - South Mountain Reservation - Photo: Daniel Chazin Stone pillars - South Mountain Reservation - Photo: Daniel Chazin

This loop hike includes a panoramic viewpoint, a scenic waterfall, and a stroll along a pleasant stream.

40.726645, -74.304805

From the kiosk at the northeast corner of the parking area, follow the yellow-blazed Lenape Trail, which bears right onto a gravel road leading to a picnic area. The trail continues through the picnic area, then bears left and begins to climb the First Watchung Mountain on a wide path. It bears right at a fork, then turns right at a T-intersection (marked by a chain-link fence) onto a woods...

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Trip Reports

rate experience
June 19, 2018
Probably better during winter or early spring
Went there today. Trails were beautiful but views were obstructed by leaves. Washington rock was this slim viewpoint over the area and other views through the trees were limited, too. The small rivers and brooks were dried out, but that could just be due to the extreme heat we have been having recently (hovering around 90 degrees). Hemlock falls and the Rahway river were flowing. In my opinion, this hike is probably best experienced during winter or early spring.
October 01, 2017
Great loop
Loved this hike--when we went in early fall most of the streams were dry, but the waterfall and river were running and very beautiful. I was amazed at the diversity of vegetation we saw along the trail, given that it isn't particularly long. The initial climb up to Crest Drive had us winded, but after that it was a fairly easy and pleasant walk. Waymarking is adequate without being excessive. The only place we had trouble following the blazes was on the Rahway trail after the second river crossing (last mile or so)--definitely stay alert during this section. As you approach the parking lot, also be on the lookout for the "fairy houses" hidden in the trees by a local artist.
Kate Wadman
June 02, 2012
River crossing still tricky
<p>Did this as a trail run again a few weeks ago, and the water crossing on the Rahway Trail is still tricky, as noted. Some work with stones to make it a bit easier (and drier) to cross would be a big help.</p>
Michael K7
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