High Mountain Park Preserve
Wayne Township, Passaic Co., N.J.

1,154 acres


We met at William Paterson College first and then went to High Mountain.

From Route I-80; drive to exit 53 onto Route 46E; travel for less than one mile and turn left onto Riverview Drive (Lane); travel north for 1.5 miles to the sixth light, turn right onto Valley Road; continue for 3.5 miles to Paterson Hamburg Turnpike (Route 504); turn right and go 1.0 mile to College Road. Turn left on College Road and go one mile to the entrance for William Paterson College Parking Lot 6 on the right.  Meet on uppermost level of lot at NE corner.

From Parking Lot 6 you can walk north on the yellow trail up to Mt. Cecchino and then to High Mountain (885 feet).  

But we drove into Bergen County to the end of Scioto Drive to investigate the northern part of the park.  It is an interesting area botanically.  

Then we drove to Reservoir Road and to Pawnee Lane where we walked up to the yellow trail and then to High Mountain.


Preakness Range of the traprock (basalt) Watchung Mountains.   Great views of New York City from High Mountain's summit.


pre-historic era  --  rock shelters used by native Americans.

American Revolution  --  the high points on the ridge were used as signaling points.

1940s  --  the New York-New Jersey Trail Conference begins creating and maintaining hiking trails.

World War II  --  on High Mountain were a mobile 3-inch anti-aircraft gun and a .50 cal. anti-aircraft gun.

1993  --  established by The Nature Conservancy.

2000 --  North Haledon donated 89 acres of borough-owned land to The Nature Conservancy to be added to High Mountain Park Preserve.  The state agreed to pay half of the $1.1 million for another 42 acres that abuts the North Haledon property.
(Associated Press. 10/16/00. http://www.gsenet.org/library/11gsn/2000/gs01016a.php)


For a circular hike and to reach the summit of High Mountain, follow the Red Trail to the Yellow Trail. From the summit, continue on the Yellow Trail until it turns south back to the Red Trail that returns to the parking lot.


Nine ecological communities (and 380 plant species, 18 of which are rare).  The rare species include:

Torrey's mountain mint (Pycnanthemum torrei)
basil-leaved mountain mint (Pycnanthemum clinopodioides)
narrow-leaved vervain (Verbena simplex)
hazel dodder (Cuscuta coryli)


June 1, 1996 Torrey Botanical Society trip. With Kathleen Strakosch Walz (leader).  Report by Dr. William Standaert.

Acer platanoides (Norway maple) few
Acer rubrum (red maple) some
Acer saccharum var. saccharum (sugar maple) few
Ailanthus altissima (tree of heaven) few
Amelanchier arborea (shadbush) few
Betula lenta (black birch) common
Carpinus caroliniana var. virginiana (musclewood) few
Carya glabra (pignut hickory) common
Carya ovata (shagbark hickory) some
Cornus florida (flowering dogwood) some
Crataegus sp. (hawthorn) 1
Fagus grandifolia (American beech) some
Fraxinus americana (white ash) common
Juniperus virginiana (red cedar) few
Liriodendron tulipifera (tulip-tree) 6/01/96
Ostrya virginiana (hop hornbeam) few
Pinus strobus (eastern white pine) few
Populus deltoides var. deltoides (cottonwood) few, top of High Mt.
Populus tremuloides (quaking aspen) 1
Prunus serotina (black cherry) 6/01/96 some
Prunus virginiana (choke cherry) 1, top of High Mt.
Quercus alba (white oak) some
Quercus prinoides (chinquapin oak) top of High Mt.
Quercus prinus (chestnut oak) common
Quercus rubra (red oak) abundant
Sassafras albidum (sassafras) some
Tilia americana (American basswood) few
Tsuga canadensis (eastern hemlock) few
Ulmus rubra (slippery elm) few

Gaylussacia baccata (black huckleberry) some
Hamamelis virginiana (witch hazel) some
Ilex verticillata (winterberry) 2
Lindera benzoin (spicebush) common
Opuntia humifusa var. humifusa (eastern prickly-pear cactus) 1 patch
Rhododendron periclymenoides (pinxter flower) few
Rhus glabra (smooth sumac) some
Rhus typhina (staghorn sumac) some
Rosa carolina (Carolina rose) few
Rosa multiflora (multiflora rose) some
Rubus odoratus (flowering raspberry) few, The Clove
Rubus phoenicolasius (wineberry) 1
Rubus sp. (blackberry) 6/01/96 common
Salix humilis (upland willow) 1, High Mt.
Sambucus canadensis (common elderberry) few
Sambucus racemosa ssp. pubens (red-berried elderberry) few, The Clove
Vaccinium corymbosum (highbush blueberry) few
Vaccinium pallidum (hillside blueberry) common
Vaccinium stamineum (deerberry) 6/01/96 some
Viburnum acerifolium (maple-leaved viburnum) common
Viburnum prunifolium (blackhaw viburnum) few
Viburnum rafinesquianum (downy arrowwood viburnum) 6/01/96 few

Amphicarpaea bracteata (hog peanut) some
Calystegia sepium (hedge bindweed) few
Celastrus orbiculatus (Asiatic bittersweet) 6/01/96 1
Ipomoea sp. (morning glory) some
Lonicera dioica (honeysuckle 1
Lonicera japonica (Japanese honeysuckle) few
Menispermum canadense (moonseed) 1, The Clove
Parthenocissus quinquefolia (Virginia creeper) some
Rubus sp. (dewberry) few
Smilax rotundifolia (round-leaved greenbrier) few
Toxicodendron radicans var. radicans Poison-ivy common
Vitis aestivalis (summer grape) common

Achillea millefolium var. ssp. lanulosa (yarrow) few
Actaea alba (white baneberry) some, The Clove
Agrimonia sp. (agrimony) few
Alliaria petiolata (garlic mustard) 6/01/96 common
Allium vineale (field garlic) some
Allium tricoccum var. tricoccum (wild leek) 6/01/96 soon; some, The Clove
Antennaria plantaginifolia var. plantaginifolia (plantain pussytoes) 6/01/96 few patches
Apocynum androsaemifolium (spreading dogbane) few
Arabis laevigata var. laevigata (smooth rockcress) some, The Clove &elsewhere
Aralia nudicaulis (wild sarsaparilla) 6/01/96 few
Arisaema triphyllum var. triphyllum (jack-in-the-pulpit) 6/01/96 some
Artemisia vulgaris (common mugwort) some
Asarum canadense (wild ginger) 6/01/96 some, The Clove
Asclepias quadrifolia (four-leaved milkweed) 1 patch, High Mt.
Asclepias syriaca (common milkweed) few
Asclepias verticillata (whorled milkweed) few, High Mt.
Barbarea vulgaris (winter cress) 6/01/96 some
Cardamine pensylvanica (Pennsylvania bittercress) 6/01/96 1 large patch
Cardamine parviflora var. arenicola (bittercress) common
Caulophyllum thalictroides var. thalictroides (blue cohosh) common, The Clove
Cerastium viscosum (mouse-ear chickweed) 6/01/96 few
Collinsonia canadensis (horse-balm) common
Comandra umbellata var. umbellata (bastard toadflax) 6/01/96 1
Conopholis americana (squaw-root) 6/01/96 2
Coptis trifolia var. groenlandica (goldthread) 1 patch, Dairy Trail
Corydalis sempervirens (pale corydalis) 6/01/96 common
Cunila origanoides (dittany) some
Cypripedium acaule (pink lady's slipper) 6/01/96 few
Daucus carota (Queen Anne's lace) some
Desmodium paniculatum (tick-trefoil) few
Erigeron philadelphicus (Philadelphia daisy fleabane) 6/01/96 few
Euphorbia cyparissias (cypress spurge) few
Fragaria vesca var. vesca (woodland strawberry) some, entrance to The Clove
Galium aparine (cleavers) some
Geranium maculatum (wild geranium) 6/01/96 some
Geranium robertianum (herb Robert) 6/01/96 common, The Clove
Geum sp. (avens) some
Helianthus divaricatus (sunflower) some
Hepatica americana (round-lobed hepatica) 1 patch, The Clove
Heuchera americana (alumroot) 6/01/96 soon; few
Hieracium caespitosum (yellow king-devil) 6/01/96 some
Hieracium venosum (rattlesnake hawkweed) 6/01/96 some
Hypericum gentianoides (orangegrass) some
Hypoxis hirsuta (yellow stargrass) 6/01/96 common
Impatiens capensis (orange jewelweed) 6/01/96 some
Krigia virginica (dwarf dandelion) 6/01/96 common
Krigia biflora var. biflora (two-flowered Cynthia) 6/01/96 few, High Mt.
Lepidium campestre (field peppergrass) 1
Lysimachia quadrifolia (whorled loosestrife) few
Maianthemum canadense (Canada mayflower) 6/01/96 some
Medicago lupulina (black medick) 6/01/96 few patches
Mitchella repens (partridgeberry) few
Ornithogalum umbellatum (star of Bethlehem) 6/01/96 1 clump
Osmorhiza claytonii (sweet cicely) some, The Clove
Oxalis stricta (yellow wood-sorrel) 6/01/96 some
Plantago lanceolata (English plantain) 6/01/96 some
Plantago major (common plantain) some
Polygonatum biflorum (smooth Solomon's Seal) 6/01/96 1
Polygonatum pubescens (hairy Solomon's Seal) 6/01/96 common
Polygonum persicaria (lady's thumb knotweed) few
Polygonum virginianum (jumpseed) few sites
Potentilla simplex (common cinquefoil) 6/01/96 abundant
Prenanthes sp. (lettuce) some
Pycnanthemum clinopodioides (mountain mint) 1, High Mt.
Pycnanthemum incanum (mountain mint) few, High Mt.
Pycnanthemum tenuifolium (mountain mint) some, High Mt.
Pycnanthemum torrei (Torrey's mountain mint) 1 patch, High Mt.
Ranunculus abortivus (kidney-leaved crowfoot) common
Ranunculus recurvatus (hooked buttercup) 2
Ranunculus repens (creeping buttercup) 6/01/96 1
Rumex acetosella (sheep sorrel) 6/01/96 some
Rumex crispus (curled dock) 6/01/96 soon; few
Rumex obtusifolius (round-leaved dock) few
Sanguinaria canadensis (bloodroot) some, The Clove
Sanicula canadensis (black snakeroot) 1. Dairy Trail
Sanicula trifoliata (beaked sanicle) some, The Clove
Scutellaria leonardii (small skullcap) 6/01/96 few, local
Silene antirrhina (sleepy catchfly) 6/01/96 common at 1 site, High Mt.
Smilacina racemosa False Solomon's Seal) 6/01/96 some
Solidago arguta var. arguta (sharp-leaved goldenrod) 1, The Clove
Solidago caesia (blue-stem goldenrod) some
Solidago juncea (early goldenrod) some
Staphylea trifolia (bladdernut) few, The Clove
Stellaria media Common Chickweed) 6/01/96 some
Symplocarpus foetidus (skunk cabbage) few
Taraxacum officinale (common dandelion) 6/01/96 some
Trifolium pratense (red clover) 6/01/96 few patches
Triosteum aurantiacum (horse gentian) 6/01/96 1, High Mt.
Tussilago farfara (coltsfoot) few, entrance to The Clove
Veratrum viride (swamp hellebore) few
Verbascum thapsus (common mullein) few
Veronica arvensis (corn speedwell) 6/01/96 some
Veronica officinalis (common speedwell) 6/01/96 some
Veronica serpyllifolia (thyme-leaved speedwell) 6/01/96 few
Viola cucullata (blue marsh violet) 6/01/96 1
Viola palmata (wood violet) 2
Viola pubescens (yellow forest violet) some
Viola sagittata (arrowhead violet) 2

Rushes and Sedges:
Carex laxiflora var. laxiflora (sedge) some
Luzula multiflora (woodrush) few

Dactylis glomerata (orchard grass) 6/01/96 few
Microstegium vimineum (Japanese stilt grass) some
Panicum boscii (Bosc's panic grass) few
Schizachyrium scoparium (little bluestem grass) common

Ferns & fern allies:
Asplenium platyneuron (ebony spleenwort) few
Athyrium thelypteroides (silvery spleenwort) some, The Clove
Cystopteris fragilis var. mackayi (Mackay's brittle fern) some, The Clove
Dennstaedtia punctilobula (hay-scented fern) common
Dryopteris intermedia (fancy woodfern) 1, The Clove
Dryopteris marginalis (marginal woodfern) common
Onoclea sensibilis (sensitive fern) few
Osmunda claytoniana (interrupted fern) some
Polystichum acrostichoides (Christmas fern) common
Thelypteris hexagonoptera (broad beech fern) few, The Clove
Thelypteris noveboracensis (New York fern) some

High Mountain

Rydings, Joseph. 1934. Country Walks in Many Fields: Being Certain Choice Annals of the Paterson Rambling Club. Paterson, NJ: Press of the Morning Call.

High Mountain was the site of the first club trip of the Paterson Rambling Club formed. September, 1904

A Trip to High Mountain

I have just returned from a visit to the High Mountain. I went alone. A friend whom I had hoped would have been able to go with me discovered when we were on the point of starting out that he had a business engagement, and so your humble servant was obliged to go it alone. Happily, I am able to find a sort of companionship in buds, butterflies, and even in inanimate things, such as stones and flowers and trees. So that I was not lonely after all.

The day was beautifully fine and the cooling breezes along the mountain side helped to relieve the ascent of the usual fatigue that accompanies it when one climbs the mountain in the dog days.

. . . I climbed the mountain by the woodland path which branches off from the Haledon Turnpike a few paces beyond the entrance to the old farm that has taken to itself the name of  "The Belvidere." . . .

The woodland path referred to almost tempts one to spend the day beneath its shade, so pleasant it is to rest awhile and watch the flickering shadows and the dancing sunbeams pass alternately over its sylvan floor. . . . There mints and bergamot flowers, with here a taste of sweet fern and eglantine, furnish everything in the way of a banquet that the most epicurean butterfly could desire. . . .

Leaving the woodland shade I cross a fresh pasture where a young herdsman is minding some cows. . . .

Now the path turns aside and enters again into the woodland. I pass through a patch of wild sunflowers, and their bright golden heads shine as if they were sent to illuminate the forest. As if in contrast here are an immense number of white everlasting flowers, perfect in every detail; no destructive fly or beetle has yet violated their immaculate petals. Where the forest trees open and let in a ray of sunlight, the mandrake grows in dense patches. This plant, so famous for its medicinal virtues, could only be found a few years ago along the roadside, but one day a stray specimen was seen at the foot of the mountain, and since then it has proceeded in one triumphant march, climbing higher and higher every year.

The progress of the mandrake has been intercepted, however, by an English flower that in some mysterious manner has found its way across the ocean, and like other English vegetable settlers, its impudence and obtrusiveness are amazing. This plant, the viper's bugler, has reached the mountain top. It fairly revels on the summit, and is fast crowding out the columbines, poor robin, plantain, the moss pink and other flowers that formerly flourished there. It may become a pest, as other importations have done, but its flowers are very pretty, and the butterflies and the bees have evidently taken a great delight in it, so that it will probably repay the farmer by its honey for the barren sandy soil it seems to choose for its habitation.

. .. . The panorama has lost none of its charms. One sees the white smoke of Ridgewood rising like a thin column from the surrounding forest. Wyckoff, Wortendyke and Ho-Ho-kus just furnish a glimpse of their elegant homesteads, and where the long sketch of the Palisades grows faint to the visions, the town of Nyack seems to wave its little smoky handkerchief, as if it were bidding the beholder good-bye.

A friend who is well acquainted with the topography informs me that the mountain is 876 feet above sea-level. It has a rare advantage as a point of observation, on account of its bare summit. Most of the New Jersey mountains are so crowded with trees at the top that the beholder can hardly get a chance to view the surrounding landscape.

May 19, 1929

The prickly pear cactus was found on thin soil covering the basalt of Preakness mountain, a mile northeast of Pine Lake. Various evidences pointed to the certainty that the ridge was once in open pasture. The red cedars were dying from the increasing shade of oaks and other hardwoods which were reestablishing themselves. Phlox subulata, which usually prefers the sun, persisted, in thin unthrifty stands in this shade. Prickly pear is not rare in northeastern NJ and the Lower Hudson Valley; I know a dozen stands of it, but it always seems strange to see a plant which one associates with the arid Southwest in our northeastern hardwood and mixed forest areas.

It is not doing well. Evidently the shade, increasing yearly since the last cutting, or since the ridge was in pasture, is gradually killing it out. Its tenure in this locality seems likely to be short. P. 77

Raymond Torrey

September 21, 1930

The excursion to Franklin Notch, in the Preakness Mountain region northwest of Paterson, NJ, Sunday, Sept 21, which was scheduled for the study of agaric fungi, under the leadership of Dr. William S. Thomas, was altered, owing to the enforce absence of Dr. Thomas in Europe, to a general one on fall flowers, although one or two mushroom addicts found plenty to interest them . . . Ten were present.

The most unusual plant seen was Pedicularia lanceolata, the Swamp Lousewort, in the meadows along Barbour's Brook. It is quite different from P canadensis, the common woodland species blooming in the spring; with stiff upright stems, one to three feet high, and much larger flowers than the spring species. A large colony of Spiranthes cernua was seen in this swamp, with Lobelia siphilitica, Bidens cernua, Sanquisorba canadensis (still in bloom), and Gerardia purpurea. Spiranthes gracilis was found in a dryer situation.

In the Notch, the interesting flora maintains its numbers with large mass of blue cohosh, Caulophyllum, in plentiful fruit; Clematis verticillaris; one of the few places where it is still found within 30 miles of New York; large stand s of the Upland Lady fern -- some of the fronds over three and a half feet long, exceeding the Cinnamon Fern near by -- Allium tricoccum, the Wild Leek, whose black, shot-like seeds were striking at the season; Wild Ginger, Herb Robert, and plentiful Maidenhair and Ebony Spleenwort. Cardinal Flower was still in bloom in the wet spot at the sound end of the Notch.

On the old road west of High Mountain, The Golden Saxifrage, Chrysosplenium americanum, was a plant rather rare in the near environs of the metropolitan district. Cancer Root, Conopholis americana, was another interesting find.

Raymond H. Torrey