About Morris County, NJ

Morris County NJ Map
Written by NJroute22

About Morris County, NJ

Morris County, NJ is to the north of Route 22 but still plays a viable role on NJroute22.com. Several cities we cover are in this county (Chester, Long Hill, Morristown), as well as some roads (Route 287, Route 202, and Route 206.)

Morris County, New Jersey

morris county NJ map outline stateMorris County is a county located in the U.S. state of New Jersey, about 25 mi (40 km) west of New York City. According to the 2010 United States Census, the population was 492,276, up from the 470,212 at the 2000 Census, retaining its status as the tenth-most populous county in the state; since 2010, Morris County’s population has increased by 1.5% to a Census-estimated 499,727 in 2014. The county is part of the New York Metropolitan Area, and its county seat is Morristown. The most populous place was Parsippany-Troy Hills Township, with 53,238 residents at the time of the 2010 Census, while Rockaway Township, covered 45.55 square miles (118.0 km), the largest total area of any municipality.

Morris County, as of the 2000 Census, was the sixth-wealthiest county in the United States by median household income at $77,340 (second in New Jersey behind Hunterdon County at $79,888), sixth in median family income at $89,773 (third in New Jersey behind Hunterdon County at $91,050 and Somerset County at $90,605) and ranked tenth by per capita income at $36,964 (second in New Jersey behind Somerset County at $37,970) The Bureau of Economic Analysis ranked the county as having the 16th-highest per capita income of all 3,113 counties in the United States (and the second highest in New Jersey) as of 2009. The county ranked third in the New York Metropolitan area in terms of median income.



Morris County was named after Colonel Lewis Morris, governor of New Jersey in 1738/9, the year the county was named.

Paleo Indians and Native Americans

The Wisconsin Glacier covered the northern section of Morris County from 23,000 B.C. to 13,000 B.C.

After the Wisconsin Glacier melted around 13,000 B.C., Paleo Indians moved into the area from the south in search of big and small game as well as plants. The area was the first tundra with grasses growing. Rabbits and fox moved into the area from the south.

The area of Morris County was inhabited by the Lenape Native Americans prior to the arrival of European settlers around the year 1000. They came from the Mississippi River area. They lived along the rivers and hunted game, fished, collected plants and nuts.

Henry Hudson explored the Hudson River area in 1609, which later the Dutch did surveys of the area.

From 1611 to 1614, the Dutch established the colony of New Netherland, which claimed territory between the 40th and 45th parallel north, a zone which included northern New Jersey. Dutch forts were established along the Hudson River beginning in 1613. As the years went by, more forts were established to trade with Native Americans.

The Native Americans traded furs and food with the Dutch for various goods. In return, the Dutch gave the Native Americans metal pots, knives, guns, axes, and blankets. Trading with the Native Americans occurred until 1643 when a series of wars broke out between the Dutch and Native Americans.

There were hostile relations between the Dutch and Native Americans between 1643 and 1660. This prevented colonization by the Dutch of the Morris County region which was technically included in their claimed “New Netherland.”

On August 27, 1664, three English ships approached Fort Amsterdam and the fort was surrendered to the English. The English now controlled New Netherland and Morris County was now under control of the colony of New York. Relations with the Native Americans improved for a while.

There was a war with the Dutch ten years later. The Dutch re-took control of New Amsterdam but after a year returned it to the English. Relations with the Native Americans and English improved for a while.

European settlements began in the early 18th century while it was known as Hunterdon County. Native Americans were still in the area at that time. The land was purchased from the Native Americans for various things such as blankets, shirts, rum, guns, knives, pots and gunpowder. The Native Americans’ concept of selling land was different than that of the Europeans. Colonization occurred along the Atlantic coast and moved inland.

The first settlement in the area today known as Morris County occurred in Pompton Plains by the Dutch in 1695. From 1710 to 1730, various iron mines and forges were established. The first was in Whippany in 1710 and then in Succasunna in 1713.

By 1750, nearly all Native Americans had left New Jersey. This was due to land purchases from the Native Americans, diseases that the Native Americans contracted from Europeans, and due to starvation from the Little Ice Age, during which Native American corn crops failed and rivers froze, preventing fishing. Snowstorms sent the game into semi-hibernation or made them difficult to find. Nut crops such as oak, hickory, beech, walnut, chestnut, and butternut failed some years due to late frosts in spring. Due to all the events that happened, Native Americans went to eastern Canada and others went to the Ohio Valley. The Walking Purchase in September 1737, prevented Native Americans from going to eastern Pennsylvania. At that time, European settlement grew swiftly as there was now land to be farmed and settled.

Morris County was originally part of Burlington County which was established in 1694. Hunterdon county separated from Burlington County.

Morris County was created on March 15, 1739, from portions of Hunterdon County. The county was named for the Governor of the Province of New Jersey, Colonel Lewis Morris. In later years Sussex County (on June 8, 1753) and, after the revolution, Warren County (on November 20, 1824, from portions of Sussex County) were carved out of what had been the original area of Morris County under English rule.

The county was the site of the winter camp of the Continental Army after the Battles of Trenton and Princeton during the winter of 1777, as well as another winter camp at Jockey Hollow during an extremely cold winter of 1779–80.


According to the 2010 Census, the county had a total area of 481.62 square miles (1,247.4 km), including 460.18 square miles (1,191.9 km) of land (95.5%) and 21.45 square miles (55.6 km) of water (4.5%).

A pointed gray rock on the left of the image amid dense underbrush and immature trees

Highest point, in woods near sign on trail indicating highest point in county.

The county rises in elevation and relief from east to west, with only the more developed eastern suburbs in the Passaic River valley being relatively level. The highest point is at 1,395 feet (425 m) above sea level on a mountain south of Pine Swamp in western Jefferson Township. The second-highest point is on a mountain just north of Riker Lake at 1,358 feet (414 m). The lowest point is about 160 feet (49 m) in elevation, at Two Bridges, the confluence of the Passaic and Pompton rivers.

The county is drained by several rivers. The Rockaway River drains 125 square miles (320 km), of the northern section of the county. The Whippany River drains 69 square miles (180 km) of the middle of the county. The South Branch of the Raritan River and the Black River drain the western area. The Loantaka Brook Reservation is a public park with nature, biking, jogging and horse paths, to which 105 acres (42 ha) of land was added as part of a purchase in 2009.

Most of the county’s borders are rivers. The Pequannock River drains the northern boundary area. The Pompton River drains the eastern section. The Passaic River also drains the eastern border area. The western border is drained by the Musconetcong River.

There are several large lakes in Morris County, among them are Lake HopatcongBudd Lake, Lake Parsippany, and the Jersey City Reservoir.

Adjacent counties


A horse path along a stream in the Loantaka Brook Reservation

Around 500 million years ago, a chain of volcanic islands shaped like an arch collided with proto North America. The islands rode over top of the North American plate. This created the highlands in western Morris County and the eastern section of Morris County.

Around 400 million years ago, a small continent long and narrow collided with proto North America. This created folding and faulting, as compression occurred. Then around 350 million years ago, the African plate collided with North America creating the folding and faulting in the Appalachians. But when the African plate pulled away from North America, an aborted rift valley was created. This half graben, tarts east of Boonton and goes through the middle of Parsippany, south to Morristown, to the south end of Great Swamp. From Parsippany and the Boonton area, the half-graben goes east to the western side of Paterson, where there was another fault by the lava flows. East of the Ramapo Fault is where there is this aborted rift valley. The Ramapo fault goes through the county on a northeast-southwest axis. The fault separates the Highlands from the Piedmont, also known as the Newark Basin. This is an active fault. The last major earthquake occurred in 1884, with a strength measured at 5.3 on the Richter scale.

Around 21,000 B.C., the Wisconsin Glacier covered about half of Morris County. The terminal moraine went from Hackettstown east to north of Budd Lake, east to Rockaway and Denville, then southeast to Morristown then south to the south end of Great Swamp. When the glacier melted around 13,000 B.C. the meltwater created Glacial Lake Passaic. The lake extended from what is now Pompton Lakes through Parsippany south to the south end of Great Swamp. From Parsippany, the lake went east to the lava flows of western Paterson. This lake was thirty miles long and ten miles wide (36 km by 12 km). The depth was about 200 feet (61 m). When the Wisconsin glacier cover Morris County the ice sheet was about 300 meters (980 ft) deep. Due to debris from the glacier, the lake was unable to drain through the Watchung Mountains near Short Hills. Instead, it drained through Moggy Hollow at the southwestern end of the lake. But when the glacier melted and receded to the New York State line, the lake drained through the Little Falls area, as this was lower in elevation than Moggy Hollow. And thus the Passaic river formed.

The swamps of the Great Piece Meadows, Hatfield Swamp, Troy Meadows, Lee Meadows and Great Swamp were all under the Lake Passaic until it drained, and then these areas were created.

National protected areas


Historical population
Census Pop.
1790 16,216
1800 17,750 9.5%
1810 21,828 23.0%
1820 21,368 −2.1%
1830 23,666 10.8%
1840 25,844 9.2%
1850 30,158 16.7%
1860 34,677 15.0%
1870 43,137 24.4%
1880 50,861 17.9%
1890 54,101 6.4%
1900 65,156 20.4%
1910 74,704 14.7%
1920 82,694 10.7%
1930 110,445 33.6%
1940 125,732 13.8%
1950 164,371 30.7%
1960 261,620 59.2%
1970 383,454 46.6%
1980 407,630 6.3%
1990 421,353 3.4%
2000 470,212 11.6%
2010 492,276 4.7%
Est. 2014 499,727 1.5%

In 2009, some mainstream magazine ranked the county sixth-best place in the nation to raise a family, the best of any county in the state. The ranking was mainly due to the high graduation rate of 98.4% and employment possibilities from area industry.

Census 2010

At the 2010 United States Census, there were 492,276 people, 180,534 households, and 129,262 families residing in the county. The population density was 1,069.8 per square mile (413.1/km). There were 189,842 housing units at an average density of 412.5 per square mile (159.3/km). The racial makeup of the county was 82.61% (406,683) White, 3.12% (15,360) Black or African American, 0.16% (805) Native American, 8.95% (44,069) Asian, 0.02% (106) Pacific Islander, 3.03% (14,910) from other races, and 2.10% (10,343) from two or more racesHispanics or Latinos of any race were 11.47% (56,482) of the population.

There were 180,534 households, of which 33.9% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 59.6% were married couples living together, 8.5% had a female householder with no husband present, and 28.4% were non-families. 23.5% of all households were made up of individuals, and 9.5% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.68 and the average family size was 3.19.

In the county, 23.9% of the population were under the age of 18, 7.1% from 18 to 24, 25.2% from 25 to 44, 30% from 45 to 64, and 13.8% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 41.3 years. For every 100 females there were 95.9 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 93.2 males.


There are 33 Fortune 500 businesses that have headquarters, offices or a major facility in Morris County. These include AT&THoneywellColgate-PalmolivePfizerJohnson & JohnsonExxonMobilNovartisBASFVerizon, and Bayer. Major industries include finance, insurance, real estate, pharmaceuticals, health services, research and development, and technology. There are 13,000 acres (53 km) set aside for 28 county parks. Four county golf courses and 16 public and private courses are in Morris.

Major employers in the county include:

  • Novartis Life Sciences 5,000+
  • Atlantic Health Healthcare 2,500-4,999
  • Louis Berger Group Services 2,500-4,999
  • Picatinny Arsenal Industrial 2,500-4,999
  • Saint Clare’s Hospital Inc. Healthcare 2,500-4,999
  • UPS Logistics 1,000-2,499
  • Avis Budget Group Leasing 1,000-2,499
  • BASF Chemicals 1,000-2,499
  • ADP Services 1,000-2,499
  • AT&T Info Tech 1,000-2,499

Roads and highways

As of 2010, the county had a total of 2,527.39 miles (4,067.44 km) of roadways, of which 2,070.57 miles (3,332.26 km) are maintained by the local municipality, 295.54 miles (475.63 km) by Morris County and 161.28 miles (259.56 km) by the New Jersey Department of Transportation.

Morris County is served by several major roadways, including Interstate 80Interstate 287Interstate 280U.S. Route 206U.S. Route 202U.S. Route 46Route 10Route 24, together with a number of counties and local roads.

Public transportation

NJ Transit also provides rail service with Morris County via its Morris & Essex Lines and Montclair-Boonton Line to Hoboken Terminal and to New York City via its Midtown Direct service. Rail stations are located in the county providing electrified train service seven days a week from ChathamMadisonConvent StationMorristownMorris PlainsDenville, and Dover on NJ Transit’s Morris & Essex Lines; electrified train service seven days a week from GilletteMillington and Stirling on the Gladstone Branch; and diesel train service (weekdays only) from Mount ArlingtonLake HopatcongNetcongMount OliveMountain LakesBoontonTowaco (Montville) and Lincoln Park.

Bus transportation is also offered by several carriers including Lakeland Bus Company and NJ Transit.

Morris County NJ Map


About the author


NJroute22 (site admin) is an avid traveler along NJ Route 22 (and almost all of central New Jersey!) Family man, pet lover, and property owner who has a natural curiosity for everything around.