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New Jersey

High Mountain Park Nature Preserve

Location: Wayne township, North Haledon Borough, Passaic County

Acres Protected: 1260

Established: 1993

Why is This Land Special?
A natural oasis amid urban sprawl, unique High Mountain Park is situated in the Preakness Range of the Watchung Mountains. Rolling topography provides panoramic vistas, including a stunning view of New York City from High Mountain's summit. The nature preserve is one of the largest tracts of forested land in the Piedmont region of northern New Jersey and encompasses a mixture of woodlands and wetlands. Along with its open space value, the nature preserve harbors rare and threatened wildlife and a globally imperiled traprock (basalt) glade/outcrop community. Nine ecological communities and 380 plant species, 18 of which are rare, have been identified at the site. They include the globally imperiled Torrey's mountain mint (Pycnanthemum torrei) and basil-leaved mountain mint (Pycnanthemum clinopodioides), which, along with narrow-leaved vervain (Verbena simplex), are also classified as endangered by the state. Hazel dodder (Cuscuta coryli), a state-imperiled plant, has been recorded as well.

Several rock shelters in the area have been determined to be sites of pre-historic human habitation. During the American Revolution, high points along the ridge were used as signaling posts. The New York-New Jersey Trail Conference has been active at High Mountain since the 1940s, creating and maintaining hiking trails.

Visitation Guidelines

  • Groups seeking to use High Mountain Park Preserve for an organized event must register with and obtain park permits from Wayne Township's Department of Parks and Recreation.
  • Please stay on the blazed trails.
  • No fishing or hunting, trapping or collecting.
  • Motorized vehicles and aircraft are prohibited.
  • Horseback riding, camping, fires (other than authorized prescribed fires), firearms, rock climbing, spelunking and feeding animals are prohibited.
  • Unleashed pets are prohibited.

Lots of hiking trails are available.

The Preserve is open from dawn until dusk.

View a Trail Map.


From Eastern NJ/NYC: Take Route 80 West; Exit at exit 53 onto Route 23 north. Proceed on Route 23 North 1 mile to Alps Rd. Turn right and go 2 miles to traffic light at the intersection of Alps and Ratzer Rds. Turn right on Ratzer Rd. Proceed 1 mile and turn left onto Valley Rd. Continue 2/3 miles and turn right onto Hamburg Tpk. Proceed 1 mile and turn left onto College Rd. (same turn as for Wayne General Hospital). Proceed uphill for 1 mile with the William Paterson University campus on your right. At the top of the hill, turn right into parking lot #6 (at the recreation center). Use the top tier of the parking lot. The trailhead sign is across College Road opposite the parking lot entrance.

From Southern/Central NJ: Take Garden State Parkway North to exit 153B (on left). Follow Route 3 to Route 46 West to Route 23 North. Follow directions from Eastern NJ/NYC.

From Western NJ: Take Route 80 East to exit 53. Proceed 1/3 mile on Route 46 East. Exit on Riverview Dr./Wayne. Go 1 mile to Valley Rd. Continue on Valley Rd. and make right at intersection with Hamburg Tpk. Follow directions from Eastern NJ/NYC.


Have you been to this preserve? Are you thinking of visiting? See what others are saying about their experiences and add your comments below.

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Time for you to join the discussion. Tell us about your experience at this preserve. What plants and animals did you see? When did you go? You can help others plan their visit when you share your thoughts. And thank you for visiting one of our nature preserves!

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