Moderate hike that takes in a viewpoint from historic Washington Rock, Hemlock Falls, and the Rahway River.
Historic Fun Fact:Washington Rock is where a signal beacon warned the Army at Morristown of the British Army’s approach.
Fairy Fun Fact: There are whimsical, tiny “fairy houses” along parts of the Rahway trail, made entirely of natural materials to fit in with the landscape. The creator of these was revealed in an article in July 2016, “Thumbelina’s Secret Architect, Creating Fairy Houses on a New Jersey Trail (http://www.nytimes.com/2016/07/18/nyregion/thumbelinas-secret-architect-creating-fairy-houses-on-a-new-jersey-trail.html?_r=1)“. Please take only photographs and leave them as is for others to enjoy!
Trail surface: Moderate, somewhat rocky trails. A few easy stream crossings, and one over the Rayway River that may be tricky depending on water level/rock shifting.
This route: 6.0 miles.Shorter: There multiple parking areas, trails, and woods roads to create shorter routes. The woods roads also tend to be easier and more level.Longer: Use the Lenape and Oakdale Trails to add in the other half of the park or extend the route with the Turtle Back trail.Hike Info:
–Park info 1 (http://www.essexcountyparks.org/parks/south-mountain-reservation)
–Park info 2 (http://www.somocon.org/)
–Trail Map ()
–Google Map (https://www.google.com/maps/ms?msid=202558560008585567507.0004b63239a700c6c950d&msa=0)
Update 12/11/15 – Minor revisions to the description.
Map: There was a overview map at the trail kiosk which is more detailed than the map online. There were no paper maps at the park the time we went, print the map beforehand. A more detailed laminated trail map can be purchased from the conservancy (http://www.somocon.org/purchase-a-map/).
Books: A similar route with detailed instructions and a trail map can be found in Hiking New Jersey (https://www.amazon.com/dp/0762711191/?tag=njhiking-20). A moderate and a longer option is in 50 Hikes in New Jersey (https://www.amazon.com/dp/1581571895/?tag=njhiking-20). The park trails are described in the The New Jersey Walk Book (https://www.amazon.com/dp/1880775336/?tag=njhiking-20).