Type of Attraction: Park
Location: Maplewood, Millburn, and West Orange, New Jersey
Metropolitan Area: Newark/New York
Accessible Using: Bus and Train
South Mountain Reservation is a 2110 acre park in Northeastern New Jersey, located just six miles from Newark and 14 miles from Manhattan. It is the largest park in Essex County, and features scenic overlooks, waterfalls, ponds, hiking trails, a dog park, a miniature golf course, a ropes course, a zoo, and more.
Pictured: The Orange Reservoir walkway and the Turtle Back Zoo train
There are scenic overlooks throughout South Mountain Reservation. Along Crest Drive, the Bramhall Terrace, Crater View, and Washington Rock Overlooks provide scenic views of the New York Metropolitan Area. In addition, another overlook atop a former quarry provides unobstructed views to the south and west. Located just up the Second Mountain from the Orange Reservoir, the Crag overlook provides views of the West Orange area. The best views can be found during the fall and winter months.
Pictured: The view of Elizabeth, Staten Island, and the Verrazano Narrows Bridge from the Crater View overlook
The Orange Reservoir is located in the West Orange part of the park. Until 2013, the Orange Reservoir was closed off to the public. However, the County of Essex has since added a 1.7 mile walkway around the reservoir. In addition, paddle boat rentals are available. The Orange Reservoir is located next to the Codey Arena and the Turtle Back Zoo, which also features a ropes course. The Codey Arena is open to the public for ice skating.
Pictured: The Orange Reservoir in springtime
Hemlock Falls is a 25 foot waterfall in the Maplewood section of the park. The falls are located just off of the Lenape Trail, and visitors can hike to the top of the falls.
Pictured: Hemlock Falls in March
By Train: Take New Jersey Transit's Morris and Essex Lines from New York Penn Station, Hoboken Terminal, or Newark Broad Street to the Millburn Station. The trip from New York takes approximately 40 minutes and costs $8.00, the trip from Hoboken takes approximately 35 minutes and costs $7.00, and the trip from Newark takes approximately 20 minutes and costs $3.50. Sit towards the front of the train.
Upon exiting the train, walk straight through the parking lot towards the First Aid Squad building. Cross Glen Avenue and enter the Locust Grove parking area.
Pictured: A New Jersey Transit train at the Millburn Station
By Bus (To Millburn): Bus service is available using New Jersey Transit's Bus 70 from Newark Penn Station in Downtown Newark. Take the bus to Downtown Millburn near the Capitol One Bank, and walk west Lackawanna Place, go under the railroad tracks, and cross Glen Avenue to enter the Locust Grove park entrance.
By Bus (To West Orange): Bus service to West Orange is available using New Jersey Transit's Bus 73 from Newark Penn Station and Coach USA Community Coach's Bus 77 from New York's Port Authority Bus Terminal. Both buses stop at Warnick Lane, just past the BP gas station. Exit the bus and cross Northfield Avenue.
Pictured: New Jersey Transit's Bus 73
Where to Eat: Dining options are available in Downtown Millburn along Millburn Avenue and in West Orange along Northfield Avenue. In Millburn, there are a variety of restaurants, a diner, and coffee shops. In West Orange, there are locations of McDonald's, a Subway, and Dunkin' Donuts
Pictured: Millburn Avenue in Downtown Millburn
Click here to learn more about South Mountain Reservation, and here to view a map of the park. Large color maps are posted at Locust Grove, Washington Rock, and other areas, and are available for purchase at the Millburn Free Public Library, located near the Locust Grove park entrance.
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Note: This information is accurate as of July, 2015.