About Wanaque

About Wanaque

Home to about 10,600 residents, Wanaque is a pretty settlement between the Wanaque Reservoir and the rolling Ramapo Mountains. Many beautiful lakes and state parks are a short drive away, and New York City is just 40 minutes southwest. 


Pretty Wanaque is found at the southern end of the Wanaque Reservoir in northern New Jersey’s Passaic County. Only minutes from the New York state line, Wanaque is about 30 miles east of New York City. 


On the southeastern end of the beautiful Wanaque Reservoir, scenic Wanaque is surrounded by forest and sits about 240 ft above sea level. Covering an area of about 9 square miles, Wanaque benefits from closeness to several pretty lakes, including Stephens Lake, Meadow Brook Lake, Clots Lake, Lake Washington, and Lake Iosco. While the New York suburban area is expanding into the northwestern part of the city, much of Wanaque remains undeveloped. 

Distance to 3 closest major cities

Wanaque is located about 34 miles east of New York City. It is 17 miles north of Paterson, NJ and about 13 miles from West Milford. 


With a median household income and house value that is significantly above the state average, Wanaque is a prosperous community with ample job prospects for trained employees. 

Health and education are the primary sectors of employment in Wanaque, but construction, manufacturing and small business companies also hire large numbers of local residents. Many find satisfactory employment in the financial, real estate and professional sectors, and retail is an ever-increasing segment as the town grows in size and sophistication.  


Wanaque is currently undergoing a period of development, with elegant housing and well planned retail and commercial sites being built. Median house values are significantly above the state average in this prosperous, picturesque community, and historic and contemporary homes alike tend to be well looked after. Much of this pretty semi-rural community still remains undeveloped. 


Ample public parks and civic plantings make Wanaque an attractive and family friendly community. The nearby Wanaque River and Reservoir is a great place to go boating and fishing in summer and ice-fishing and ice-skating in winter. The riverside trails are ideal for family walks and picnics in summer and cross country skiing in the snowy months.  

The Ramapo Mountains to the east of town contain some beautiful wilderness areas, including the Ramapo Mountain State Park, a stunning forest wilderness with a multitude of hiking and multi-use trails that are ideal for mountain biking and cross country skiing. A 120-acre clearwater mountain lake provides canoeing, fishing and bird watching. Also a short drive from Wanaque is the Garret Mountain Reservation in West Paterson. Home to an excellent equestrian center along with horseback riding trails and athletic fields, Garret Mountain also contains two historic sites, Lambert Castle and its observation tower. Cross country skiing is enjoyed here in winter. 

For golfers, Wanaque is a short distance from the redoubtable North Jersey Country Club, one of the nation’s one-hundred oldest courses, and there are several additional courses in the wider region. 

Special Attractions/Events

Closer to New York City than Ringwood or West Milford, Wanaque still enjoys the proximity to the stunning Highland wilderness that these communities have. Historic Lambert Castle (home to the Passaic County Historical Society) is nearby in Garret Mountain Reservation, and the Long Pond Ironworks Museum is another local historical treasure. 

Wanaque prides itself on its community spirit and locals enjoy getting together throughout the year to celebrate various sporting and cultural events, and seasonal celebrations.  

Interesting Facts/Historic Buildings and Places

Long home to the indigenous Lenni Lenape Indians, the Wanaque region was first visited by Europeans in the early quarter of the eighteenth-century, when Dutch families began to arrive and clear the forest for farming. The men raised sheep and the women spun and wove the wool into cloth; cleared trees were milled for lumber to build houses for new arrivals. 

In the mid-eighteenth century iron was discovered in the hills, and German ironmaster Peter Hasenclever founded an ironworks at Long Pond (Greenwood Lake) in 1766. He bought five hundred workers and their families from Germany to build and work the ironworks, which included a furnace, forge, houses, shops and farms, and dammed the upper Wanaque River for hydropower. Industrial structures still remain at the site, which is currently undergoing restoration. The "Old Country Store" has been renovated and now houses the informative Long Pond Ironworks Museum.  

A small township grew up to house the workers, then called Pompton, and local residents survived primarily by mining and also charcoal burning. Then in the mid-century, the railroad arrived, bringing more residents, many of whom worked in the nearby Wanaque River Paper Mill. By the end of the nineteenth-century, Wanaque was a thriving industrial settlement with a paper mill, feed mill, railroad, tavern and a public school system. Many of Wanaque’s historic buildings date from these early days.

Contact Information

Karen Adatto
Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage
130 Skyline Drive
Ringwood NJ 07456