New Jersey has many outstanding county parks. They range from zoos, outdoor nature education centers, lakes, scenic settings with hiking trails, boating, living history farms and everything in between
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Located within Lord Stirling Park on 425 acres of the western portion of the Great Swamp Basin of the Passaic River. The variety of habitats of floodplains, swamps, rivers, intermittent streams, marshes, meadows, and natural and man-made ponds, fields, and forests provide homes for diverse plant and animal populations in this environmentally sensitive park. All are within walking distances of the multi-faceted building. The Great Swamp Exhibit, a swamp vivarium, and an environmentally based library are located within the Center itself. You can hike the 8-½ miles of trails on your own or register for one of the multitude of programs – there are experiences available for all ages! The building is open year round, except for major holidays, 9am to 5pm. Note: Trails are for foot traffic only; pets, horses, bicycles & motorized vehicles are prohibited because the trails run through a wildlife sanctuary.
Washington Valley Park
Situated on 715.5 acres that lie along the First Watchung Ridge in Bridgewater Township. The park contains the former Bound Brook Elizabethtown Reservoir that will become the focal point of the park along a network of trails. The park is located between the first and second Watchung Mountains at the geographic center of Somerset County. It consists of Pine and Hemlock forests, open freshwater wetland marshes, impressive rock outcroppings, numerous historic features and a 21-acre reservoir. Washington Valley Park offers several recreational opportunities in an undisturbed natural setting, including hiking, mountain biking, and hawk watching. The more than seven miles of trails are great for hiking, and some of the best mountain biking in the state. Washington Valley Park’s Hawk Watch area is one of the East Coast’s premier locations to watch thousands of raptors migrate south every autumn. And, if fishing is what you like, the reservoir is where you need to be. This body of water offers a multitude of fishing opportunities. Whether you are a person seeking solitude, or someone who is bringing their family for a day of fun, Washington Valley Park has something for the outdoors person in all of us. The park can be accessed from Vosseller Avenue at Millers Lane, and also at Newmans Lane.