Watchung Reservation

Watchung Reservation (11/22/2008)

This is Hike 22 ("Watchung Reservation") from the book Hiking the Road to Ruins. Though this hike covers some of the ground we hiked in this reservation nearly four years ago (including the enchanting pine plantation, the Green Brook mill ruins, and the abandonded village of Feltville), we did get to cover lots of new ground. This hike passes by the Watchung Stables (which is built on a former Nike missile site), includes lovely walks along the Blue Brook, then Seeley's Pond, then Surprise Lake, and visits the ruins of another mill just south of Feltville.

The last attraction is the water tower known by many as "the suicide tower" for the role it played in a very sad double murder and suicide back in 1975. It was from this very tall tower that high schooler Gregg Sanders of nearby Hillside jumped to his death the night of January 15 moments after axing to death his father and mother, presumably to spare them the pain of his suicide. There is a full description in the book Weird New Jersey Volume 2 here.

Though Steinberg says this hike is about 8 miles long, our frustrated attempts to find the shortcut he describes near the tend of the escarpment at Green Brook (which we never did find), delayed us a bit and added to our distance. We ended up hiking 9.3 miles in just over 5 hours.

(Click on the thumbnail to bring up a bigger image in a pop-up window)

Trail head

Basalt makes an early appearance

Scenic gorge near Copper Mine

Blue Brook

Below (and south of) Feltville

Mill remains on Blue Brook


Bridge over Blue Brook

Tree climbing Laura

Roof of picnic pavillion

Inside the pine plantation

Dan ... [photo by Laura]

... taking this photo

Seeley's Pond from on high

On a basalt ledge

Seeley's Pond looking southwest

Looking northeast

Picnic area across pond

Hawk with back to us

Look at that basalt!

Dan on dam [photo by Laura]


On way to mill ruins

Stone cut near mill ruins

Steam boiler under path

Mill foundation

Green Brook looking north


Viewpoint on Sierra trail near Green Brook

Boardwalk near Drake Farm site

At Drake Farm site

Masker's Barn at Feltville

Cottages at Feltville

Lunch at the picnic area

Feltville church/store

Under the porch

Church/store from the south

John Willcocks's two gravestones

Historic cemetery

Surprise Lake

Watchung Stables

Concrete from former Nike base?

First glimpse of water tower

Spiral staircase was removed

Graffiti at base

Deer impact study area

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