Torne Mountain/Osio Rock

IMG_3385Climb Torne Mountain and hike along the ridge for view after view after view, then it’s up Osio Rock for a 360 degree view of the Wanaque Reservoir, the Ramapos and the NYC skyline on a clear day.

Moderate. A bit steep right from the start, and rugged with larger rocks to walk over. There is an “easier” bypass now for the bit of a rock scramble-down before approaching Osio Rock. Continuing on to Lake Lerriwein will include a minor scramble coming back up Osio. Minor scramble through large boulders getting onto the Torne trail on the way back.

  • 2.4 miles – Most people will do this short loop. In the directions below, turn around after Osio rock and exclude the directions to Lake Lerriwein.
  • 6.4 miles – We continued on, climbed down the side of Osio Rock, into a pleasant forested area to end up at Lake Larriwien at Camp Vacamas (private).
  • Longer, variation – Cross Otter Hole (on the side on the road the parking is on) and link up with the extensive trail system in the main part of the park.
  • Shorter – 2.0 miles – take RED direct to Osio Rock and return… easier but misses a lot of views

Our two cents: The trail is short but is typical hilly rugged-n-rocky Jersey Highlands so is not easy, but with multiple viewpoints, a 360 pano from Osio, the NYC skyline, and a funky stone living room in under 3 miles — the reward-to-effort ratio on this route is really in your favor. Lots of sun exposure so plan accordingly if it’s hot and sunny.

Updated 10/27/14: Description updated to include the Torne trail bypass (black dot on blue is the harder route) and the Stone Living Room; new pics; GPX added.

Map: Paper maps available at the trail kiosk or get it online. It’s a non-topo version of the Norvin section of North Jersey Trails. Jersey Highlands Trails shows the end of this route on to Lake Lerriwein.

Books: The route just to Osio plus a 3.7 mile variation that combines Osio with Buck Mountain across Otter Hole in Norvin can be found in 50 Hikes in New JerseyHike of the Week has a shorter route to only Torne Mountain. A shorter version of this hike is in Hiking the Jersey Highlands. Detailed trail descriptions can be found in the The New Jersey Walk Book.

Parking: N41 02.750 W74 21.027
This route starts from the “Otter Hole” parking area of Norvin, not the main parking for the old Weis Center. Rt 287 to exit 53, bottom of the ramp turn left onto Hamburg Turnpike, right onto Glenwild Ave.

Pass a hiker parking area for Wyanokie Crest on the right, shortly after that is limited parking for Otter Hole (8-10 cars or so, the map notes a 2nd parking area a little further down the road). The trailhead is across the road (next to the parking is trail access to the rest of Norvin Green).

Restrooms: None. There was a gas station in town on the way there; and a porta-john in a small park at the corner of Glenwild Avenue and Bogue Dr.

Hike Directions: Overview: BLUE (Hewitt-Butler) to Lake Lerriwein in the Camp Vacamas parking lot, turn around, pick up RED (Torne) trail after Osio on the return trip.

0.0 – The trail is a bit steep right from the start. BLUE (Hewitt-Butler) parallels the road a bit.

0.2 – Pass RED (Torne) on the left. GPS: Torne1/Hewitt

Climb up to a limited viewpoint, then the trail comes up and around for a larger view. After this… it’s almost all views.

0.5 – In an open area with a stone chair and several rock cairns, look ahead for a faint path leading to the Stone Living Room. It’s easier to spot the living room if the trees aren’t full of leaves. After checking it out, retrace your steps and continue following BLUE (Hewitt-Butler). GPS: ToStoneLivingRoom

At one of the larger wide-open viewpoints is a stone couch and on a clear day the NYC skyline is visible. Scrambling up the large rock off to the side gives a better view of the skyline.

0.8 – New “easier” bypass option. Turn LEFT to follow BLUE (Hewitt-Butler) down switchbacks. It’s still steep in spots but not a straight shot over rock slabs like the original route to the right, now blazed BLACK DOT on BLUE (you can take this still, it ends up back on the main trail). GPS: TorneBypass1

1.0 – Continue following BLUE (Hewitt-Butler) as it turns to the RIGHT. [Pass the start of RED (Torne) Trail on the left, marked with 3 red blazes on a tree, somewhat easy to miss. This is the return route.] GPS: Torne2/Hewitt

1.4 – Osio Rock – 360 degree views of Wanaque Reservor, the Ramapo Mountains and if it’s clear enough – the NYC skyline. GPS: OsioRock

[Short route: Turn around here for the 2.4 mile loop: retrace BLUE (Hewitt-Butler) until getting back to the junction with RED (Torne) and follow the description from mile 5.7 below]

To continue on to Lake Lerriwein: Continue following BLUE (Hewitt-Butler) by scrambling down off the back of Osio Rock on rocky switchbacks before ducking into shady forest. Cross a stream on large rocks and follow a mostly level route with some hills.

2.7 – A sign with “VACAMAS” pointing right, with a three orange blazes on a nearby tree. Continue straight ahead, still following BLUE (Hewitt-Butler). GPS: CampVacOrange

3.4 – BLUE (Hewitt-Butler) ends at Lake Larriwien and the Camp Vacamas parking lot. GPS: CampVacamas

After enjoying the view of the lake (there are some rocks to sit on at the edge), retrace the route back on BLUE (Hewitt-Butler), over Osio Rock, until arriving at the junction with RED (Torne).

5.7 – Start following RED (Torne) by scrambling through some large rocks. GPS: Torne2/Hewitt

The rest of RED (Torne) is shady and level. [Variation: Continue backtracking on BLUE (Hewitt-Butler) for a tougher and longer route].

6.1 – When almost back at the road, turn RIGHT and follow BLUE (Hewitt-Butler) to the lot. GPS: Torne1/Hewitt

[Variation: Had enough hiking on trails for the day? Continue straight on RED (Torne) to the road, turn right, and walk down the road to the lot].

Hiked: 10/26/14.
Hiked: 6/19/10. Trail Blog: “Norvin Green – Torne Mountain and Osio Rock