About West Milford

About West Milford

The largest municipality in Passaic County, West Milford is also one of the greenest, with the township’s 80 square miles including 17,000 acres of protected watershed, open space and state forest. State forest covers almost two-thirds of the entire municipality. This means that large scale development is greatly limited here, and home owners can rest assured that the scenic beauty of their town and its surrounds will remain intact.  

Home to about 30,000 residents, West Milford is only about 38 miles from New York City, so locals have easy access to the culture and economic prospects offered by this world class city, without having to give up the serenity and recreational opportunities of their home town.  

Location

West Milford is in Passaic County in northern New Jersey, about 38 miles north of New York City. Route 23, a primary New Jersey State Highway, guarantees a speedy connection to surrounding state and regional centers. Route 23 follows West Milford’s southern boundary parallel to the Pequannock River. 

Geography/Terrain

West Milford is a pretty wooded city in the mountainous Highland region of northern New Jersey. About 504 ft above sea level on its southern end (along Route 23) and 1,409 ft at Bearfort Mountain, the city has plenty of variation in altitude and is known for its scenic views. 

Nearly 40 lakes dot West Milford’s majestic mountainous terrain, and narrow roads traverse its pretty valleys and ridges. 

One of the largest cities in New Jersey, West Milford covers about 80 square miles. 

Distance to 3 closest major cities

West Milford is 38 miles northeast of New York City. It is about 42 miles northwest of Jersey City, NJ and 13 miles north of Wanaque, NJ. 

Jobs

New York City is an easy commute from West Milford, and about 28,000 local residents choose to work there. However, there are ample of employment opportunities in a city of this size, and many residents choose to work closer to home. 

Housing

West Milford is an affluent community built around several lakes. Many homes were originally built as summer resort bungalows, particularly those on the lakes, and most of these have since been upgraded and converted to year-round residences. Fortunate buyers may be able to purchase one of these charming historic homes today. Many newer homes have been built over the last 25 years, including large homes on one- to four-acre lots. West Milford also has two large condominium developments, and several apartment and townhouse complexes.  

Parks/Sports/Recreation/Golf

Beautiful West Milford sits in the heart of the Highlands and encompasses several scenic lakes. The closest is the Monksville Reservoir is an angler’s paradise, famous for its trophy size muskellunge, walleye, bass and trout, and the US Sailing Association also likes to use it regularly. 

Nearly two-thirds of the West Milford municipality is taken up by protected state forests (the Wawayanda State Park to the west and the Ringwood State Park to the east), so local residents enjoy easy access to a wide range of recreational activities, from hiking, mountain biking, boating, fishing, and horseback riding in summer to ice-fishing, ice-skating and cross country skiing in winter. 

The township’s Parks and Recreation Department sponsors a wide range of recreational activities for citizens, and the teen center’s coffee house is a popular and positive, hang out for that age group. Bubbling Springs is a popular spot, particularly in summer.

Golfing enthusiasts will find plenty to enjoy here. The Passaic County Golf Course in neighboring Wayne is one of the nations oldest clubs, with two eighteen-hole courses, a shag field, and several practice greens. Other nearby courses include the Packanack Golf Club, the North Jersey Country Club, the Preakness Hills Country Club, and the Upper Montclair Country Club.  

Special Attractions/Events

West Milford is a serene and scenic town, protected from urban sprawl by 3 neighboring state forests and several lakes and waterways. Citizens love their outdoor lifestyle and are active in protecting and promoting it. Volunteerism thrives in West Milford, and locals participate fully in the locally televised council meetings. Townsfolk enjoy sharing local events and seasonal celebrations together, including the fun Regatta held on Greenwood Lake, an event that has been held annually since 1876. 

Interesting Facts/Historic Buildings and Places

Originally home to the Lenni Lenape Indians, the West Milford area was first settled by outsiders in the early seventeen-hundreds. The Lenni Lenape were hunter gatherers who foraged and hunted in the forests and fished the many lakes from bark and dugout canoes; these peaceful people sold some of their lands to early settlers and moved south as increasing numbers arrived.  

Early settlers were mostly English, Dutch, and German, and they mostly lived off farming and trapping. Wildlife was prolific in the forests back then, and valuable animal pelts fetched a fine price in the Old World.  

The discovery of iron ore to the north in the seventeen-thirties provided West Milford with its first industry: iron smelting and manufacturing. With water and wood in such abundant supply, furnaces were quickly built here, and several remain as local landmarks today. Greenwood Lake was dammed in both the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries to provide water for the ironworks below. 

By the late Nineteenth Century West Milford had become a popular holiday destination for city dwellers from places like New York City. Many of the pretty cottages built during these days still remain, particularly along the lakefront. Fun seasonal events included the yearly regatta on Greenwood Lake, which first occurred on October 6, 1876, and continues annually to this day, and local holidaymakers included baseball great Babe Ruth, who owned a house in Sterling Forest and spent time boating on the lake and hunting in the forests.  

Largely remaining a summer community until the late nineteen-sixties, West Milford is now one of the largest municipalities in New Jersey.

Contact Information

Karen Adatto
Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage
130 Skyline Drive
Ringwood NJ 07456
973-962-5413