Views of the NYC skyline (Ilgenstein Rock) and of Wanaque Reservoir (Erskine Lookout) are along this hike in Ringwood State Park.
9.5 miles; shorter options noted in the description. Typical rugged Jersey trail surface.
- Shorter: Large network of trails allows for many shorter routes, some noted below.
- Nearby: Long Pond Ironworks; Ramapo Valley County Reservation;
Updated: 6/2020: Page refreshed, not re-hiked. 11/2015 – Description and GPX updated, foliage photos added.
Our two cents:
A stunning section of forest with a couple of nice views as a goal but this long route leans more towards avid hikers comfortable with a complex trail network.
Plenty of shorter options are possible, the directions below indicate ways to shorten it, or use a route in one of the books.
There is a section of switchbacks on Ramapo-Ringwood made for bikes that we find annoying to hike, but not a deal breaker.
The Skylands Manor gardens and grounds are worth a visit before or after a hike. The Manor is only open for tours one Sunday a month, but you can wander the grounds and the garden.
Note: No dogs allowed on Skylands’ grounds.
Looking at the grounds from the manor.
Gardens around Skylands Manor.
North Jersey Trails #115 map is best to negotiate the network of trails here.
Detailed trail descriptions found in the The New Jersey Walk Book.
Parking: N41.12733° W74.23788° [Lot A]
Rt 287 N to exit 55 to Rt 511. Turn right onto Sloatsburg Rd and look for signs for Ringwood.
Turn right onto Morris Ave, go straight where there are stone eagles on either side of the road, and parking lot A will be on the left.
Parking fee is charged from Memorial to Labor Day. Info on the NJ State Park Pass.
At the Visitor Center. Walking out of the parking lot, follow the road around and shortly arrive at the visitor center and bathrooms on the left, with the Manor on the right.
Overview: Crossover (WHITE) to Halifax (GREEN on WHITE) to Pierson Ridge (BLUE) to Crossover (WHITE) – past Ilgenstein Rock – Hoeferlin Memorial (YELLOW) – past Erskine Lookout – Old Guard (GREEN LEAF) to right on Ringwood-Ramapo (RED on WHITE) to Crossover (WHITE)
0.0 – Walking out of parking lot A, turn LEFT and start following the Crossover (WHITE) trail on a level gravel road.
0.4 – Turn LEFT and start following Halifax (GREEN on WHITE). Head up a rocky incline.
At the top, there are views of the reservoir, which may be obscured by leaf cover in season.
0.9 – Pass Ringwood-Ramapo (RED on WHITE), and not long after cross Skyland (BLUE TRIANGLE). Continue downhill on Halifax (GREEN on WHITE).
1.2 – The trail arrives at the unmarked Mountain Bike Loop (a woods road) near Glasmere Ponds.
Turn LEFT onto Mountain Bike Loop and then make a quick RIGHT to see the blazes and continue on Halifax (GREEN on WHITE).
Glasmere Ponds are on either side of the trail.
Soon, Halifax (GREEN on WHITE) veers LEFT uphill. [Mountain Bike Loop continues straight.]
1.9 – Turn RIGHT and start following Pierson Ridge (BLUE). [Halifax (GREEN on WHITE) continues straight, while a woods road continues left].
Cross a gas pipeline cut. Continue on Pierson Ridge (BLUE) when it veers left and leaves the woods road.
2.6 – Pass Bear Swamp (RED on WHITE) on the left (this is a newly blazed trail and may be an unmarked trail on maps.)
2.9 – Pass WHITE leaving to the right and in a few steps come to the end of Pierson Ridge (BLUE). Start following Crossover (WHITE) straight.
/// Shorter Option: WHITE is a much shorter route back to Skylands Manor. ///
3.4 – Turn RIGHT and start following Hoeferlin Memorial (YELLOW)/Crossover (WHITE). [Hoeferlin Memorial (YELLOW) also goes left].
3.9 – Ilgenstein Rock and views of the NYC skyline.
Continue following Hoeferlin Memorial (YELLOW) – did not notice blazes the day we hiked this, it’s a little hard to find.
[Crossover (WHITE) leaves at this viewpoint, no longer co-joined with Hoeferlin Memorial (YELLOW)].
4.3 – Continue following Hoeferlin Memorial (YELLOW) as it crosses BLUE on WHITE
/// Shorter Option: Turning right on BLUE on WHITE will cut the hike shorter. ///
4.7 – Continue following Hoeferlin Memorial (YELLOW) past GREEN and then in a few more steps arrive at Erskine Lookout, with views of the Wanaque Reservoir.
5.2 – Turn RIGHT and start following Old Guard (GREEN LEAF on WHITE).
[Old Guard (GREEN LEAF on WHITE) also goes left; Hoeferlin Memorial (YELLOW) continues straight].
5.4 – Turn RIGHT and start following Ringwood-Ramapo (RED on WHITE).
Before turning, check out the limited view in front of you – moving to the left some helps to get a better angle.
[Ringwood-Ramapo (RED on WHITE) and Old Guard (GREEN LEAF on WHITE) also go left.]
6.9 – Continue following Ringwood-Ramapo (RED on WHITE) [Pass BLUE on WHITE on the right].
8.6 – Limited view from a large rock outcropping named “Warm Puppy Rock” on some maps.
8.7 – Turn LEFT and start following Crossover (WHITE), a woods road that leads back to parking lot A.
Hiked: 4/10/10. Trail Blog: “Hiking to Ilgenstein Rock and Erskine Lookout“