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The Nature Conservancy of New Jersey’s High Mountain Challenge

High Mountain Park

By Taylor Smith

The Nature Conservancy of New Jersey is encouraging Garden State residents to stay active this winter season with the introduction of the High Mountain Challenge, inspired by New Jersey native Jessica Bagley’s running achievements. The Nature Conservancy is also hoping to raise awareness of High Mountain Park Preserve, a protected 1,260-acre tract of forested land in New Jersey’s Piedmont region (near North Haledon and Wayne).

The High Mountain Challenge involves walking, jogging, running (or crawling) up High Mountain. The 1.5-mile route is a fairly steep and rigorous climb that will take travelers 880 feet above sea level. The summit offers sweeping views of New York City’s skyline and Northern New Jersey. Be sure to take a proud selfie at the top and post it to Instagram with your time and the hashtag #highmountainchallenge. The Nature Conservancy might re-post your image in their online photo gallery.

High Mountain falls within the Preakness Range of the Watchung Mountains. The collective 11.5 miles of hiking trails offers stunning views of Manhattan. High Mountain Park Preserve also serves as valuable open space in close range to the New York Metropolitan area, acting as a safe haven for birds, plant species, and general wildlife.

It is said that General George Washington’s troops used High Mountain’s summit as a lookout during the American Revolution, an attempt to monitor the British troop movement in and around New York Harbor. The Preserve is currently owned by Wayne Township, The Nature Conservancy, and the state of New Jersey.

Visitors should be sure to stop by the High Mountain entrance kiosk for details on how to get a free Nature Conservancy car magnet.

For directions and trail maps, visit

See you at the top!