Hiking Project Logo

Watchung Reservation Loop

  4.0 ( 1 ) Favorite


4.6 mile 7.5 kilometer loop


Ascent: 305' 93 m
Descent: -313' -95 m
High: 419' 128 m
Low: 250' 76 m


Avg Grade: 3% (1°)
Max Grade: 13% (7°)


Driving directions Take a virtual tour
Zoom in to see details
Map Key

Trail shared by Christine Taylor

Beautiful views of the inner portion of Watchung Reservation on this loop of Surprise Lake to Blue Brook to Gorge Loop.

Christine Taylor

Features Fall Colors · Historical Significance · Lake · River/Creek · Wildflowers


This hike incorporates sections from multiple trails in the reservation to bring the hiker gorgeous views of what Watchung Reservation has to offer. A nice balance of minor inclines and descents that are appealing to all skill levels.


Park in the lot for "the Deserted Village of Feltville" on Glenside Ave. Proceed east (facing Glenside Ave, go right) on the connector pink trail, eventually passing a wildflower field to the right. The trail hooks up with the White Trail on the bank of Lake Surprise. At the road, turn right, and just past the boat launch, the trail continues to the right.

After a bit, the trail veers uphill, but there's an unmarked path that continues to the right along the bank of Lake Surprise--follow this trail. Pass the dam, and at the fork, turn left. Meet the start of the Blue Trail and turn right to head over the boardwalk that crosses Blue Brook. Continue on the Blue Trail which follows Blue Brook until the Blue Trail makes a sharp left turn up a steep--yet brief!--climb. This area begins the trek around the gorge.

Continue on the Blue/White trail, and follow the White Trail to the right once they split, keeping the gorge to your right. At the junction, turn right to follow the Yellow Trail. After another small section of boardwalk, look out for the pink trail and turn right to get on the Pink Trail to follow the gorge again. Pass the heart of the gorge and the copper mine ruins.

After following a run-off into Blue Brook, take the wide boardwalk over the brook and turn right to follow an unmarked trail keeping Blue Brook immediately to your right. Soon, the brook will make a hard turn right, so veer left up a short hill and check out the history-marker about Feltville. Turn right and cross the tributary to the brook. Ahead you'll see the "Stairway to Heaven"--follow the steep steps uphill, which end at the Wilcock family cemetery. Keeping the cemetery to your left, follow the white trail markers back to the paved road. Turn right to get back to the parking lot.

History & Background

Sections of this hike are on the History Trail, which includes placards that document the activities of settlers who lived in the area formerly known as Feltville.

Hiked this trail?

We need help with the following missing trail information:

Family Friendly, ADA Accessible, Need to Know, Flora & Fauna


Rate This Featured Hike

Rate Quality

   Clear Rating

Rate Difficulty

Share This Hike

Check In



Trail Ratings

  4.0 from 1 vote


  4.0 from 1 vote
5 Star
4 Star
3 Star
2 Star
1 Star
Featured Hike Rankings


in New Jersey


17 Views Last Month
17 Since Nov 10, 2019



"Scenic Gorge"--History Trail (Pink) at Watchung Reservation.
Nov 10, 2019 near Mountai…, NJ
"Lake Surprise" from the north.
Nov 10, 2019 near New Pro…, NJ
Nov 11, 2019 near New Pro…, NJ


Hiking Project is part of the REI Co-op family,
where a life outdoors is a life well lived.

Shop REI Hiking