South Mountain and Rahway River

Springfield, New Jersey

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This trail shadows the Rahway River, climbing up through the bottomlands, reaching the 25-foot-high Hemlock Falls before looping back on a bridle path. The nearly level hike has one steep rise and a river crossing that is a rock hop. Observe a park designed by the Olmsted Brothers and built by the Civilian Conservation Corps. The recently established South Mountain Conservancy is working hard to bring the reservation back to the elegance and charm of its glory days. Turtlebacks are a notable part of the local nomenclature—to the extent that the local zoo took the name. “Turtleback” refers to a geological phenomenon in which basalt fractured, leaving cracks to fill with minerals. When erosion took place, the softer basalt wore away while the harder minerals did not. This left the minerals deposited within the cracks extending above the basalt surface, creating hexagonal patterns resembling a turtle’s back.

South Mountain and Rahway River Professional Review and Guide

"This trail shadows the Rahway River, climbing up through the bottomlands, reaching the 25-foot-high Hemlock Falls before looping back on a bridle path. The nearly level hike has one steep rise and a river crossing that is a rock hop. Observe a park designed by the Olmsted Brothers and built by the Civilian Conservation Corps.

The recently established South Mountain Conservancy is working hard to bring the reservation back to the elegance and charm of its glory days. Turtlebacks are a notable part of the local nomenclature—to the extent that the local zoo took the name. “Turtleback” refers to a geological phenomenon in which basalt fractured, leaving cracks to fill with minerals. When erosion took place, the softer basalt wore away while the harder minerals did not. This left the minerals deposited within the cracks extending above the basalt surface, creating hexagonal patterns resembling a turtle’s back."

Activity Type: Hiking, Horseback Riding
Nearby City: Springfield
Distance: 5.8
Trail Type: Loop/Lollipop
Skill Level: Easy to Moderate
Duration: 3 hours
Season: Year-round
Local Maps: DeLorme New Jersey Atlas & Gazetteer
Driving Directions: Directions to South Mountain and Rahway River

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May 2018