This summer, finding a little slice of magic in a fairy wonderland at NJ’s South Mountain Fairy Trail in Millburn can be just what we all need these days. Bring the littles and wander along this one-mile loop, exploring mystical miniature houses and castles made mostly of natural materials, lining a stretch of trail along the South Mountain Reservation Park, all while keeping a safe social distance from others. A special education teacher and #NJMOM created these intricate little pieces of whimsy along the trail in 2011, and since then, it’s become an imaginative escape for families with young children. Want to plan your escape? Here are the details on how the South Mountain Fairy Trail in NJ can make you forget about the real world for a while.
Feature photo via @theknightox
Explore the magic of the South Mountain Fairy Trail in New Jersey, a one-mile loop of mystical mini castles in Millburn
If you haven’t been, the South Mountain Reservation is a nature reserve on the Rahway River and part of the Essex County Park System that winds through portions of Maplewood, Millburn, West Orange, and South Orange. Spanning 2,110 acres, it’s made of dozens of trails, a dog park, and the South Mountain Recreation Complex. The South Mountain Reservation is free and open to the public from 8 AM to 5:30 PM every day, year-round, and its beauty and features change with the seasons.
So where is the Fairy Trail within all that? Park at the Locust Grove entrance at 197 Glen Avenue in Millburn, across from the Millburn Library. Then go toward the Rahway Trail, where you’ll see a trailhead for the mile-long loop, with guidelines on how best to make your journey through the magic (FYI masks are mandatory so be sure to bring them).
Not only are the trails well-kept and natural, but you’ll find amazing views along the way, including a few waterfalls. And while you’re welcome to meander along the trail for as long as you’d like, make sure everyone preserves the magic by following the rules. Please don’t have your kids touch the structures or move furniture around, and keep following the specific path—going off the trail erodes it, as well as damages plant life.
After the fairy trail, if the kids still have energy to burn off, check out the rest of the park at the South Mountain Reservation. The Turtle Back Zoo in West Orange is a part of the reservation, along with Essex County’s TreeTop Adventure Course and Mini Golf Safari (all are open now with social distancing mandates). Head to the waterfront regatta-themed playground (which will re-open in July) and grab a bite at the outdoor patio on McLoone’s Boathouse to wrap up an enchanted day chasing fairies.