Are you planning a trip to New Jersey? Perched on the crest of Watchung’s First Mountain in New Jersey, Eagle Rock Reservation is a delightful oasis tucked away in the midst of the most densely populated state. Nestled between West Orange, Verona and Montclair, this park is a spectacular spot for a day out. Whether you’re a fan of hiking or more interested in admiring the view, the reservation has much to offer. This quick guide will tell you what you need to know.
A Rich History
Eagle Rock Reservation was designed in the late 19th century, and it takes its name from a bare rock on Watchung’s First Mountain where bald eagles were supposedly spotted nesting. The park owes its design to the Olmsted brothers, who are most famous for designing Central Park in Manhattan.
The park was finished in 1907. By this point, however, it was already a popular Sunday haunt for locals, thanks to the trolley line which served the park from 1894. These days, the park is expertly maintained by the volunteers of the Eagle Rock Conservancy, which was founded in 2004 to preserve and protect the reservation.
A Hiker’s Paradise
Do you fancy a day exploring the woods? Crisscrossed with footpaths and bridle paths, Eagle Rock Reservation is the perfect spot for escaping the city for a hike. With trails color-coded depending on difficulty, downloadable and printable maps, and several map and info points within the park, it’s perfect for seasoned hikers and novices alike.
Picnic Areas and a Restaurant
What better way to spend a sunny afternoon than a lazy picnic in the park? If this sounds good to you, Eagle Rock Reservation has you covered: The park has several dedicated picnic areas, including a sheltered area in case of rain.
If you don’t want to pack your own food, you could also check out the Highlawn Pavilion restaurant, a converted “casino”(the word for an Italian-style summer house), built in 1911 and now known for its excellent cuisine. Many visitors enjoy stopping here for a well-deserved break after a long hike.
A Day Out With a View
Even if hiking isn’t your thing, no one could fail to be impressed by Eagle Rock Reservation’s unrivaled views of the New York City skyline. Head to the Essex County 911 Memorial, and spend some time admiring the view that stretches over the city from the George Washington Bridge to the Verrazano Narrows Bridge.
The reservation is accessible by car and has several parking lots. Since it’s only a 20-minute drive from Newark, Eagle Rock Reservation is perfect for escaping the city. For travelers staying in nearby Montclair, it’s only a 10-minute drive away.
A trip to Eagle Rock Reservation is sure to impress visitors of any age or ability. Whether you decide to hike one of the various trails, relax over a picnic, or simply gaze out over NYC, it’s hard to be disappointed with everything this stunning park has to offer.