Don’t just go out, escape

Right outside your door, there’s a whole world to discover. Sure, every apartment complex says it. But what happens when you actually venture outside? What do you see? A convenience store? A strip mall? Maybe, a small park—somewhere nearby? When we chose the location for the Molly Brook on Belmont, adventure was top of mind. Of course, we made sure our community is near shops, dining, and more shops. But we also took into account who would be living here—people looking to escape claustrophobic city life.

High Mountain Park Preserve is literally less than a mile from the doorstep of the Molly Ann Brook (0.9 miles to be exact). Founded in 1993, it’s the largest area of untouched, lush land east of the Highlands region—1200-acres worth. You want hiking? There are 11.5 miles of trails to satisfy all levels of expertise and steep terrain perfect for mountain biking. Woodlands. Wetlands. The most popular treks include Yellow Blaze Trail (2.7 miles), Red-Blaze Trail (2.3 miles), Orange Blaze Trail (2.5 miles), and the White Blaze Trail (1.9 miles). Looking to appeal to even more naturists, in 2013, the park extended the Red Blaze trail to provide access to Franklin Lakes Nature Preserve. If going vertical is your thing, you can climb the high mountain summit and be treated to breathtaking, panoramic views of New York City and northern New Jersey.

Aside from the cardio you get, wandering through any of these trails time and time again, offer an array of photo-op moments. High Mountain Park Preserve is home to 380 rare species of plants and animals that include flying squirrels, wild turkeys, chipmunks, and white-tailed deer.

If you’re somewhat of a history buff, the Franklin Cove area has been discovered to be host to prehistoric human habitation. The mountain itself is made up of volcanic bedrock that is over 130 million years old. In the 1600s, the Lenape tribe had also settled in the Cove during the winter.

High Mountain Park Preserve is open seven days a week from 8 am to 6 pm and is managed by The Nature Conservancy.

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