Whether you’re a cyclist, a jogger, a fisherman (or woman!), a walker, a dog owner, a photographer, or an energetic child, there is something for EVERYONE at majestic Echo Lake Park. Nestled between Westfield and Mountainside, the park is accessible from Springfield and Mountain Avenues, and once you enter, you can spend hours here.
At Echo Lake Park you’ll find exactly what the park is named after–a large, gorgeous lake (divided into upper and lower ponds) hugged by picturesque, winding walking paths. A favorite photographic spot at the lake near the Springfield Ave entrance is the waterfall and recently refurbished waterwheel, both viewable from a lovely gazebo.
Echo Lake is a frequent stop for those who love to fish–the lower pond is regularly stocked with trout, and there are even handicapped-accessible fishing ledges. Anyone over the age of 16 requires a license to fish (you can purchase a license at Wal-Mart or Dick’s Sporting Goods in Union).
Close to the Mountain Ave entrance are the famous paddle boats. Did you know it costs only $10 an hour to rent a paddle boat? Burn some calories peddling and then treat yourself to something tasty at the snack bar, which offers ice cream, hot dogs, and snacks. Across from the snack bar is a great playground for the little ones that is chock full of slides and swings, as well as some picnic benches and grills.
At the center of Echo Lake Park is a wonderful dog park, almost three acres large with separate fenced areas designated for smaller and larger dogs. It’s a great way to socialize your dog and really let him stretch his legs, since four-legged friends can run off-leash in the dog park.
After having visited this park many times, I only just discovered its beautiful September 11th Memorial, which honors area residents who died on that tragic day. Two steel beams from the wreckage stand tall at the Memorial, along with a replica of Lady Liberty’s torch.
In the winter, bring the kids to Echo Lake for sledding! There is a huge hill that just screams out for a toboggan, and rumor has it the parks department places bales of hay at the bottom to ensure a safe landing.
There are well-kept ball fields at the park, and let’s not forget about the free summer concerts on the great lawn: this year’s concerts are slated for July 9, 16, 23, and 30. (For more information visit www.ucnj.org.)
Go alone or go with the family, but do go to Echo Lake sometime soon and enjoy the spoils of this perfect park.
Concession stand and pedal boat hours of operation: open April 1st to October 31st, weekdays 12-5 pm, weekends and holidays 11 am to 6 pm. There are restrooms throughout the park.