happyly approved

Alonzo F Bonsal Wildlife Preserve

23 Riverview Dr W, Montclair, NJ 07043, USA

Dawn - Dusk


hikes, outdoor-adventures

Scenic hike a 30-acre wilderness and wildlife sanctuary at Alonzo F Bonsal Wildlife Preserve.

Montclair's best-kept secret!  This beautiful and peaceful preserve is hidden on Riverview Drive West in Montclair (look for the path next to house #23). Take the path to the end, cross under the sign and you'll immediately see the iconic bridge as you walk down the rock stairs. Ducks can often be seen in the river here, and kids of all ages are sure to love crossing over the bridge, perhaps throwing a rock or two. The river has high levels of pathogens that are not healthy for human contact so as tempting as it may be, keep kids and dogs out of the water, please!

After crossing the bridge, a short walk through a path in the woods leads to an open area where there are three trails you can choose to take. Each trail leads into the other so there’s no wrong choice! Be sure to keep your eyes peeled for wildlife as you enjoy hiking through various trees, plants, and flowers. Listen to all the different birds and maybe catch a glimpse of some deer. There are also fun features sure to delight toddlers and young children, like a small bridge and wooden plank stairway. The paths are not stroller-friendly but the walk is mostly flat making it easy for toddlers and baby-carrying.

The Preserve is open year-round so it's a great place to visit frequently and watch the scenery change throughout the seasons. You may run into a few other people and a dog or two but it’s generally very empty. There’s a lot of shade with the tree cover but in the summer sunscreen and bug spray are recommended. There are no bathrooms so plan accordingly.



Good for All Ages Hiking Admission Free Dog-friendly Bird Watching Wildlife Nature
Thoughtfully captured by:
Rebecca Gamsby
Rebecca was born and raised in northern NJ and grew up in nature. She loves exploring cities and towns all over the world but most recently has been enjoying all the hidden gems NJ has to offer with her husband, young daughter, and dog. Rebecca loves seeking out new playgrounds, toddler and dog friendly hikes (especially if they're near water!), and supporting local farms. She's excited to share these finds with the Happyly community!
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