<<<Hikes in NJ - Trails Less Taken
Ramapo Valley County Reservation
Summary: Popular park in Bergen County. This hike goes past Scarlett Oak Pond, climbs to Hawk Rock viewpoint, then continues around to Bear Swamp Lake where you'll pass a few old ruins of summer houses. Head back past MacMillan Reservoir. Parts of this trail around the Reservoir and Hawk Rock are VERY popular.
7.2 miles. Moderate trail surface, some hills, rocky sections, some stream crossings on rocks or logs. Shorter option:
2 miles roundtrip: Hawk Rock viewpoint. (Take main path past the pond, after the pond, turn right, and then look for the GREEN trail on your left, not too far down. Head uphill to the viewpoint, then turnaround and retrace your route back)
"No-Hunting" Park.... but note that the parks adjacent to this one do allow it - Ringwood to the NW, and Ramapo Mountain Forest to the south - and it's not clear the boundaries of those parks on the maps. This is a great choice to hike during hunting season; but just be aware of the surrounding parks if you like to hike far.
Map: There was a trail kiosk but no maps; not sure if they are stocked there in season. Most of the route can be found on this map. The trails are well marked, but consider buying the North Jersey Trails Map Set.
Books: Trails are described in the New Jersey Walk Book. Oddly, none of our other books have hikes in Ramapo.
Parking: Rt. 287N, exit 58 to 202N in Mahwah. Large lot is on the left.
Restrooms: The bathrooms are located in the back of the building near the trailhead, and were open on a Saturday in January. (Unsure if they are open everyday, all year).
Hike Directions: Overview: Silver to Green (Halifax) to Blue (Shore) to Red-Silver to Orange to Silver
The trails start by the wooden kiosk in the left corner of the lot.
Take the main wide path and go over a bridge almost immediately. Continue toward Scarlet Oak pond, which will be on your right. After the pond, turn RIGHT and then look for the GREEN trail shortly on your left (markers are a green rectangle on a white background). Head uphill toward Hawk Rock.
1.0 mile - Hawk Rock viewpoint - great view of the area, and a rock outcrop to sit on.
Continue heading uphill steeply, then it levels off very briefly, then head down steeply. Follow the markers,turn left onto an old woods road with a old car nearby.
1.8 mile - Pass the BLUE-on-WHITE (Havemeyer) trail on your left. Continue on GREEN, crossing a stream on rocks. Pass another car and some building ruins, marked "Halfiax Ruins" on the map.
2.7 mile - Pass the WHITE trail on your left.
Cross a pipeline cut.
3.2 mile - Cross a pipeline cut again, with a paved road. Go down the paved road, look for the GREEN markers on your right.
3.5 miles - Turn left onto YELLOW (Hoeferlin Memorial). Green continues to the right.
Very soon, the trail joins up with BLUE (Shore), head right, and follow the trail around Bear Swamp Lake.
4.4 miles - pass some building remains from old lake houses. There is a chimney and such. You can sit on the rock outcrops here and overlook the lake.
Follow the BLUE trail, go over a little bridge, then turn LEFT as BLUE goes around the lake. The trail is now a paved road, and there are more building remains along the shore.
4.9 miles - turn RIGHT onto RED-SILVER. The BLUE trail continues straight on the paved road.
5.5 miles - Trail becomes ORANGE (Schuber) and RED/SILVER ends. Go straight on ORANGE. (It goes to the right as well)
Follow this back to the lot, passing the MacMillan Reservoir, and head back to your car... following the hordes of people out for a stroll.