T.Washington Rock State Park is one of New Jersey’s oldest parks, having been first acquired by the state in 1913. The 52-acre park on Mount Watching in Green Brook is now a popular sight in Central Jersey. This easily accessible, easy-hiking trail is great for beginners because it offers great rewards.make it one of best NJ hiking trails.
The area of mountains surrounding Washington Rock is named after George Washington. He used this location as a lookout during the Revolutionary War so he could monitor the movements of enemy forces. But in modern times, families and friends flock to the area for short hikes and picnics.
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In particular, Washington Rock State Park has a 400-meter hiking trail called the Orange Mountain Trail. This trail leads to a paved path loop. This is about a third of a mile. The trail and observatory parking lot is located at the intersection of Washington Avenue and Rock Road (County Route 529).
At the northwest corner of the parking lot is an interpretive information panel and the starting point for the Orange Mountain Trail. The trail is easy to follow, but follow it as soon as you enter the forest. (Continue straight ahead and you’ll find yourself in the backyard of the house.) From there, follow the orange flames in the trees that frequently appear on your journey. The trail is mostly flat with some rocks along the way. Otherwise, the road to Washington Rock is mostly flat with no major inclines or dips.
After about a quarter mile, the road leads to a fork with a paved road on one side. This part of the trail is a loop, so either direction will end up in the same place. The paved road continues to Rock Road East across from Washington Rock. Be careful on this road. The road is hilly with limited visibility around turns. (There’s also parking here on Rock Road East. Just park here and walk to Washington Rock, which cuts the hike considerably.)
View from Washington Rock
After crossing the street, follow the one road leading to the flag. Also in front of him are two large Washington Rock signs. This part of the park has picnic tables and plenty of space for picnic blankets. On the other hand, around the flag is a platform made of stone and concrete. The platform offers green views of Somerset and Middlesex counties on two levels he. You’ll also enjoy views of the New York City skyline, 25 miles northeast of Washington Rock. In fact, on a clear day you can see the Statue of Liberty on the Hudson River.
Winter is my favorite time to visit the park. The scenery is beautiful in every season, but in winter (when there are no autumn leaves), the scenery spreads farther. Additionally, it tends to be less busy from December to February. Also, since the hike is short, it would be nice to revisit in different seasons and weather conditions. It is not recommended to drive through the snowy mountains, but the scenery is great after the snow. For those planning a day trip, there are also plenty of shops and restaurants down the mountain.
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All photos: © Patrick Lombardi / Best of NJ