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South Mountain Reservation covers 2,110 acres in northeastern New Jersey and includes the Fairy Trail. The park straddles the Rahway River in the Watchung Mountains and is part of the Essex County Park System.
Essex County began developing its park system in the 1800s. The county set South Mountain aside as a nature preserve in 1895. The Olmsted Brothers, noted for New York’s Central Park and working with the National Park Service on many projects, designed the reservation.
The Fairy Trail runs for a half-mile near the entrance to the park and has become very popular. About ten years ago, miniature houses appeared along the trail, seemingly out of nowhere. When I visited on a cold January day with TakeaHikeNJ, we walked the easy Fairy Trail and admired the Fae dwellings.
In 2016, the New York Times ran an article revealing the creator of the tiny homes. Therese Ojibway, a special education teacher, was inspired to create magic along the Fairy Trail by a similar village in Maine. She still maintains the houses regularly with her autistic son’s help.
This half-mile trail has been inhabited by fairies! As you walk along the white-blazed path, look carefully and you will find where they have chosen to live. Fairies build their homes in tree hollows and roots, or from natural materials they find in their habitat, such as branches, stones, or dried fungi. Fairy houses are delicate, so be very gentle and try not to disturb any fairies that may be inside.South Mountain Conservancy
- South Mountain Reservation
- Fairy Trail
Location: 197 Glen Ave, Millburn, NJ 07041
Designation: County Park
Date Designated/Established: 1895
Date of my visit: January 10, 2021