Why Is This Land Special?
A natural oasis amid urban sprawl, unique High Mountain Park Preserve is located in the Preakness Range of the Watchung Mountains. Its rolling and often steep terrain provides 11.5 miles of often-challenging hiking trails. Panoramic vistas include stunning views from High Mountain's summit, where you can see New York City and much of northern New Jersey.
The nature preserve is the largest tract of forested land east of the Highlands, encompassing woodlands and wetlands. Along with its open space value, it harbors rare and threatened plants and wildlife.
Several rock shelters in the Franklin Clove section of the nature preserve have been determined to be sites of prehistoric human habitation. Native Americans of the Lenape tribe wintered in the Clove during the 1600s.
It is also said that when Henry Hudson sailed to America in 1609, the first land he sighted above the horizon as he approached New York Harbor was the summit of High Mountain. During the American Revolution, when General Washington was headquartered nearby, colonial troops reportedly used High Mountain’s summit to monitor British troop movements in and around New York Harbor. High Mountain has been a popular hiking destination for more than century. The New York-New Jersey Trail Conference has been active at High Mountain since the 1940s, creating and maintaining the trails.
High Mountain Park Preserve is owned by Wayne Township, The Nature Conservancy and State of New Jersey, and was established in 1993.