Saturday, March 12, 2016

Watchung Reservation, NJ - History Trail and Deserted Village

Watchung Reservation History Trail - Union County Parks, NJ
The Deserted Village of Feltville - Union County Parks, NJ

GPS Coordinates 40.68345, -74.38841
Deserted Village parking lot off of Glenside Avenue (which runs parallel to I-78) at 7 AM.

Watchung Reservation Trail Map - Union County Parks, NJ

HIKE DISTANCE:  7.9 miles

From the parking lot we started on the pink-blazed History Trail through the grassy overflow parking area at the far end of the lot.
My son, his fiancee and my granddog Sebastian came along since we were going to be scouting out where their wedding will be taking place while doing this hike.  Sebastian always poops early on and that would the white bag.  Fortunately, Shawnee never poops on hikes so my son had to learn poop bag carrying on his own.
Early on we ran into a snag.  There is a gully that was not near as deep when Shawnee and I hiked this way a little over two years ago.
Going in...
There is a rope tied around a tree to hoist yourself up on.
Much younger Sebastian made it up with no problem but we all shared his look of concern regarding how to get Shawnee up.
Since her arthritis has become worse, she has become snappy when I try to lift her so I carry a muzzle in my backpack for such occasions when there is no other alternative but to lift her.
And all is forgiven and forgotten.  The hike goes on.
Interpretive signs through the hike.
Other trails come and go along with pink but just keeping with pink completes the entire loop.
Hermit Pond.
Skunk Cabbage
Just beyond Hermit Pond it doesn't look like the trail goes left but if you turn right, there are no more blazes.  It does, in fact, continue to the left.  Just beyond the mud and overgrowth...
... blazes resume, the trail continues and turns into a wider woods road along Blue Brook.
Sebastian is not a fan of going into the water like Shawnee is.
We took a left on an unmarked woods road to temporarily leave the pink History Trail and go to the Deserted Village.
The Deserted Village of Feltville.
Up ahead is the renovated Masker's Barn where the wedding reception will be taking place.
Now off to scout out a place for the wedding ceremony.
And this would be it.  Imagine it all green in June.
Heading back into the village...
... to our break spot up ahead.
Enforcer of the DO NOT ENTER sign.
Sebastian has caught on to the chicken jerky break snack and was nudging my backpack for it like Shawnee always does.
Heading over a bridge and veering left to...
... the cemetery.
A little bit of backtracking then continuing on downhill and following Blue Brook to connect back up with the pink trail. 
After crossing the bridge over Blue Brook, pink resumes to the left along the bank...
... then uphill.
This part goes through a very scenic gorge.
Pink makes a left on the paved road which veers to the right straight towards...
... a dumpster for that poop bag :)
And a water fountain complete with dog bowls a short distance ahead.
Continuing across a picnic area...
... over to ...
Lake Surprise
The last time I was here there was barely any water in the lake and they had just started construction on the new dam.  It's starting to fill back up now but isn't near full yet.
The path along the lake - this gets pretty crowded and with having taken Sebastian on so many hikes recently, correcting him with the penny can if he starts to react to other dogs and joggers, moving him off of the trail and asking people to leash their dogs before they pass, he has been doing very well and has not been leash reactive at all! 
The trail loops around along the bridge...
... over to the other side of the lake.
Spring is here!
Along the cornfield.
And back to...
... the now very crowded parking lot.


  1. What kind of collar does Shawnee have? I've looked at a bunch of your excellent posts to try to discern what brand/type it is - looks like something in it and a cover maybe? - but haven't found the info anywhere. I do a good amount of backwoods walking with my GSD girl and would love to know. Thanks so much!

    1. It's called a Release N Run leash - best investment I ever made. There is a 4-foot retractable leash stowed in that box. The handle always stays on top of the collar so it is easy to grab and pull out. Whenever we see other people/dogs or have to walk where there is traffic, I have her on leash instantly. No fumbling around trying to hook a leash on. When you let the handle go, it snaps right back into the box. That used to startle her at first but she is used to it now.


    2. Thanks so much for your reply! I leave my girl's leash on her and just loop/lay it on her back, then grab it if I see someone coming, but inevitably it falls off eventually as she trots along lol. This is definitely something I'll look into!

  2. Done this one a couple of times, most recently just after Sandy when there were so many blowdowns I had to change my route. Haven't been there since the dam construction started. It looks like it's no longer possible to walk across the dam, correct?

    Nice hike, thanks.

    1. Gosh Ken, I don't know. I didn't look at it that closely because it was such an ordeal getting Shawnee across the old one (that vertical up part), I just zoomed in for the picture with the thought that we wouldn't be going that way again.


  3. I'm so glad Shawnee made it up that incline. She's such a trooper. Very nice pictures. Thanks for sharing.