A long loop to Lake Sonoma and Overlook Rock located in the northern section of Norvin Green State Forest.
7.8 miles. This isn’t a really long hike but with a decent amount of rugged up/down, several stream crossings, and a bit of scrambling – we’d rate it on the low end of “challenging”.
- Shorter: For about a 4 mile loop, go the opposite direction directly to Overlook Rock and back on the ORANGE trail.
- Variation: 4-mile loop to Overlook Rock and Lake Sonoma from a different lot, see “Norvin Green – Lake Sonoma and Overlook Trails“ as well as 50 Hikes in New Jersey.
Our two cents: The highlights are Overlook Rock and Lake Sonoma, so many hikers will want to do a shorter 4-mile loop from another lot that focuses on just those two areas. This route is for avid hikers wanting a longer loop. There are more views along the way, but some are seasonal. The trail skirts Lake Sonoma, and while you can make your way to the water, there aren’t obvious places to sit for a break.
Update 7/2016 – Added a new video.
Map: You’ll want the North Jersey Trails, don’t think there is a map online. If you have the map earlier than the 2009 version, Sonoma/Overlook and the parking are not on there.
Parking: N41 06.178 W74 19.523
Rt 287 to exit 55, north on 511, after you pass the Reservoir and then Long Pond, turn left onto Burnt Meadow Rd which starts out paved then turns to dirt in a bit. Coming from the other direction on Burnt Meadow is marked on the trail map as impassible, and in fact there was a large water-filled dip in the road past the trailhead.
Note: The trail map shows 3 parking areas along Burnt Meadow. We didn’t notice the first parking, the 2nd is a pullout for a car or two, and the 3rd pullout area is for the start of this hike.
When we first hiked this in 2010, getting to this pullout was bumpy but doable in our economy car. Now the road has now eroded badly in at least one area, so that the parking area is after a rather dicey section.
Going down this one section didn’t appear to be an issue with our AWD compact SUV, but going back up fell into the “ummmm, what did we get ourselves into” category. It turned out to be fine and our car probably can handle more than we realize, but just a heads up. For those without 4-wheel drive or are not willing to roll the dice with their vehicle could park at the 2nd pullout and do the loop from there, which would change the order of the directions below.
Restrooms: None. Options are gas stations on 511 well before the turn onto Burnt Meadow, porta-johns at the two Monksville Reservoir parking lots, or at the visitor center for Long Pond Ironworks (only open 1-4 weekends so that doesn’t help in the morning).
Hike Directions: The trails are well marked, with frequent blazes – just pay attention, as there are many unmarked paths to amble down if you get distracted.
Overview: RED TRIANGLE on WHITE (Stonetown Circular) – WHITE (Horse Pond Mountain) – YELLOW (Burnt Meadow) – BLUE (Hewitt Butler) – WHITE (Overlook) – ORANGE (Lake Sonoma) – RED TRIANGLE on WHITE (Stonetown Circular)
0.0 – Start following RED TRIANGLE on WHITE (Stonetown Circular) into the woods.
Come up on a ridge, where you can see water below to your right and some peaks in the distance, this may be obscured when there are leaves on the trees.
1.1 – Cross power lines. After these there is an abandoned blue car on the left that may distract from the fact that the trail heads to the RIGHT.
1.2 – Arrive at a 4-way junction of RED TRIANGLE on WHITE (Stonetown Circular) and WHITE (Horse Pond Mountain). GPS: Stonetown/HorsePond
Turn left and start following WHITE (Horse Pond Mountain), which is co-aligned with HIGHLANDS (Teal Diamond). [RED TRIANGLE on WHITE/Highlands is straight, while WHITE (Horse Pond Mountain) also goes right]
Head steadily downhill before crossing a stream. The trail turns left and follows a woods road briefly before turning right back into the woods.
Eventually hike across a ridge with seasonal views.
2.2 – Turn LEFT and start following YELLOW (Burnt Meadow). GPS: BurntMdw/HorsePond
The trail drops down steeply, with some scrambling, before leveling off.
2.6 – Cross Burnt Meadow Rd near parking pullout #2, continuing on YELLOW (Burnt Meadow). GPS: Norvin/BurntMeadow
[This is where the hike would start if you don’t park at area #3. The trail has been moved and no longer jogs over down the road, and also bypasses an abandoned car along the trail.]
The trail is easier and more level here for a bit, then heads uphill to an overlook.
3.3 – Arrive at a large rock with a cairn and limited views. Veer LEFT and start following BLUE (Hewitt-Butler). [YELLOW (Burnt Meadow) ends, and BLUE (Hewitt-Butler) also veers right] GPS: HewittButler/BurntMdw
3.9 – Viewpoint along BLUE (Hewitt-Butler). GPS: HewettButlerView
4.7 – Turn LEFT and start following WHITE (Overlook Trail) [BLUE (Hewitt-Butler) continues straight]. GPS: OverlookTrail. Cross a power line cut and a viewpoint a bit later.
5.7 – ORANGE (Lake Sonoma) trail starts on the left, but continue past it towards the big rock. A short scramble up the rock leads to a very nice view and break spot. GPS: OverlookRock
When ready, scramble back down and backtrack to the start ORANGE (Lake Sonoma). GPS: Overlook/LakeSonoma
Now follow ORANGE (Lake Sonoma).
6.3 – Lake Sonoma area. While there aren’t many good spots to sit by the lake, and visibility varies by season, you can make your way close to the water for a look. We have 3 areas marked in the GPS file that we’ve used before. GPS: LakeSonomaView
Continue following ORANGE (Lake Sonoma).
6.7 – Continue following ORANGE (Lake Sonoma) straight when YELLOW (Manaticut Point) comes in from the right. The trails are co-joined briefly. GPS: LakeSon1/Manticut
Soon, follow ORANGE (Lake Sonoma) as it turns left when YELLOW (Manaticut Point) leaves to the right. GPS: LakeSon2/Manticut
7.6 – At Burnt Meadow Rd, either turn left and walk down the dirt road OR cross the road and veer left on RED TRIANGLE on WHITE (Stonetown Circular). Both lead a short distance back to the parking area. GPS: LakeSonomaTrailhead
Hiked: 3/20/10. Trail Blog: “Norvin Green – Lake Sonoma and Overlook Trails“