Norvin Green – Lake Sonoma and Overlook Rock

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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”.

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.

Updated: 7/2020 – Page refreshed, not re-hiked. 7/2016 – Added a new video.

Map:

You’ll want the North Jersey Trails. If you have the map earlier than the 2009 version, Sonoma/Overlook and the parking are not on there.

Books:

A good shorter loop containing Lake Sonoma and Overlook Rock is in 50 Hikes in New Jersey (from 2014 edition and on). The rest of Norvin’s trails can be found in the The New Jersey Walk Book.

Burnt Meadow Road. There is a pullout for a couple cars.

Parking: N41.10297° W74.32538°

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.

Also 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.

Start out on Stonetown Circular, RED TRIANGLE on WHITE

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.

It’s just not a Jersey trail without a rusted out car…

It's just not a Jersey trail without a rusted out car...

1.1 – Cross power lines.

Crossing a power line cut.

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).

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.

Stream crossing on Horse Pond Mountain trail.

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.

View from the Horse Pond Mountain trail

2.2 – Turn LEFT and start following YELLOW (Burnt Meadow). The trail drops down steeply, with some scrambling, before leveling off.

Scrambling down Burnt Meadow Trail
Burnt Meadow Trail levels off

2.6 – Cross Burnt Meadow Rd near parking pullout #2, continuing on YELLOW (Burnt Meadow).

[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]

Rocky Hewitt Butler trail

3.9 – Viewpoint along BLUE (Hewitt-Butler).

Viewpoint from Hewitt Butler

4.7 – Turn LEFT and start following WHITE (Overlook Trail) [BLUE (Hewitt-Butler) continues straight]. Cross a power line cut and a viewpoint a bit later.

View of powerlines from a little side trail off of Hewitt Butler

View on from Hewitt Butler… the clouds look omimous but it didn’t rain.

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.

View from Overlook Rock

View from Overlook Rock

When ready, scramble back down and backtrack to the start ORANGE (Lake Sonoma). Now follow ORANGE (Lake Sonoma).

Lake Sonoma Trail
Getting nearer to Lake Sonoma

6.3 – Lake Sonoma area.

Lake Sonoma

We scrambled downhill off the trail for this vantage:

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 on our Interactive Map that we’ve used before.

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.

Soon, follow ORANGE (Lake Sonoma) as it turns left when YELLOW (Manaticut Point) leaves to the right.

X marks the spot on the way back

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.
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Hiked: 7/26/14.
Hiked: 3/20/10. Trail Blog: “Norvin Green – Lake Sonoma and Overlook Trails