Westwood Hills Park is a beautiful park located in the northwest corner of Napa. If you are looking for a short hike that yields beautiful views, Westwood Hills Park is definitely one of the better ones. Although really, you can’t go wrong at any of the parks in Napa County.
Hiking Franklin Parker Preserve (Chatsworth, NJ)
A couple of weeks ago, I went to Franklin Parker Preserve. I’ve wanted to check out more hies, especially in the Pine Barrens. When I first moved to NJ, I lived in the Pine Barrens. Not many people know, but the Pine Barrens make up 25% of the entire state of NJ. There are plenty of nature preserves, blueberry fields, and cranberry farms. We moved because it was making our commutes to long. I do miss the running on dirt roads, but it was nice to get back.
The Franklin Parker Preserve hikes through old cranberry bogs, around Chatsworth Lake, Cedar Swamp, and through the Pine Barrens. According to the New Jersey Conservation Foundation, the Franklin Parker Preserve is also known for bird watching.
In the Pine Barrens, Franklin Parker Preserve, Wharton State Forest, Penn State Forest, Pine Snake, and Brendan Byrne State Park, you can combine multiple trails to get over 30 miles. The red trail, green trail, white trail, yellow trail, and Batona Trail all connect. All of the trails are well marked and easy to follow at the Franklin Parker Preserve.
The hike itself at Franklin Parker Preserve is about 6.5 miles. Be careful after rain and check for ticks. It can get buggy. There is a parking lot near Chatsworth that has about 10 spots. Once you park, it’s a quick turn left onto the trail. It took us a few minutes to find it!
Here are a few photos from the Franklin Parker Preserve:
The start of Franklin Parker Preserve and trailhead
Hiking sand roads around Chatsworth Lake and Cedar Swamp
We also found snakeskin at Franklin Parker Preserve
Crossing back over Chatsworth Lake and Cedar Swamp
There are a lot of bugs, including praying mantis. I never knew how big praying mantis are!
In all, I had an enjoyable time at Franklin Parker Preserve and I’m looking forward to checking out and revisiting more of the Pine Barrens.
You can see all the hikes here.
Questions for you:
Have you ever seen a praying mantis?
Where is your favorite spot to hike? Have you been to Franklin Parker Preserve?
Hiking Watchung Reservation
Recently I was in Watchung Reservation. The weather wasn’t ideal for hiking, but I was in the area and have wanted to go. Because patience is not a virtue I have, I decided to hike anyway (instead of driving back up the following day). Watchung Reservation is part of the New York-New Jersey Trail Conference and the Union County Parks System. There is plenty to do outside of nature trails including the trailside nature science center, loop playground, trailside museum, deserted village of Feltville, and Watchung Stables.
There are also plenty of hiking trails in Watchung Reservation including the History Trail and Sierra Trail. The most famous is the History Trail. The History Trail at Watchung Reservation is about 6-miles and visits sites of historical significance. The Watchung Reservation, itself is approximately 2,000 acres with Lake Surprise and Glenside Park.
At the Watchung Reservation parking area, there are several posts, benches, historical markers and of course a trail map. It starts and stops at the Trailside Nature Science Center. It’s not a strenuous hike and was rather enjoyable when we went. Parts were flooded out to rain but no big deal.
It starts on a smooth dirt trail.
There were a ton of trees down at Watchung Reservation!
When we went to cross the reservoir at Watchung Reservation, it was completely flooded out. I had to hop across branches, and stones, which to be honest not falling was one of my biggest accomplishments of the day.
On the other side of the Watchung Reservation and Lake Surprise, there were plenty of historical sites and small huts and houses that were almost completely gone.
In all, Watchung Reservation is a beautiful and peaceful hike. It’s perfect if you want to relax with something not too rigorous. Or if you want to explore some of the other options available.
You can see all of the hikes here.
Questions for you:
Do you like hiking in the rain?
Are there any historic hikes near you? Have you been to Watchung Reservation?