Lake Sonoma, Overlook Rock, Manaticut Point

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Loop featuring Lake Sonoma and views from Overlook Rock and Manaticut Point.

6.8 or 4.6 miles. Rugged, rocky surface with multiple rock hops over streams.

Our two cents:

The shorter loop is a solid pick: it packs Lake Sonoma and all the main viewpoints into a rugged but pretty hike, the miles are manageable and the navigation is straightforward.

Do the longer version if you are like us and want the miles. That gets you a couple more viewpoints but does utilize eroded woods roads sometimes and crosses a power line cut (but runs in the forest along it, not in it).

Mostly shady but the viewpoints are in full sun with no real shade to rest in. 

There are so many photos from this hike I put the panoramas and the overflow pics in the blog post for it, Overlook Rock and Manaticut Point with Mama Bear and Cubs“.

Updated: 5/2021 – Page refreshed, minor description adjustments to reflect trail changes that don’t affect the route. Not re-hiked. 8/2018 – description, GPX, Interactive Map added; re-hiked; new photos.


Map/Book:

North Jersey Trails. Our Interactive Map includes both the 6.8 and 4.6 hikes. The shorter route is in 50 Hikes in New Jersey.

Parking: N41.09077° W74.32124°

If coming from Rt. 287 N, take exit 55; Rt. 511 to West Brook Rd.; then Magee to Burnt Meadow Rd. to Crescent Drive. Google search: “Manaticut Point Trailhead”.

Parking is on Crescent Dr. along the curb. The trailhead is near a large rock.

Manaticut trailhead

Restrooms:

None. Gas stations and convenience stores along Rt. 511.


Hike Directions:

Overview: Manaticut Spur (YELLOW with BLACK DOT) – Manaticut (YELLOW) —Overlook Rock (WHITE) – Manaticut (YELLOW) – Manaticut Spur (YELLOW with BLACK DOT)

Shorter 4.6 loop: Manaticut Spur (YELLOW with BLACK DOT) is a connector trail from the parking area to the YELLOW trail… if you want the shorter loop, simply stick with the YELLOW blazes – with and without a dot – for the whole hike.

0.0 – Start following Manaticut Spur (YELLOW with BLACK DOT) at a trail sign and near a large rock.

YELLOW with BLACK DOT connector trail to YELLOW

Large rocks loom above and there are several stream crossings.

Stream crossing

0.3 – Turn RIGHT to start following Manaticut (YELLOW). [Manaticut (YELLOW) also goes left]

1.0 – Continue following Manaticut (YELLOW) passing Lake Sonoma (ORANGE) then Manaticut Sonoma Connector (ORANGE-YELLOW… like candy corn!).

The trail is co-joined with Lake Sonoma (ORANGE) along the lake.

1.2 – Lake Sonoma comes into view.

Lake Sonoma

The trail runs along the edge with views over the lake.

Lily pads on Lake Sonoma

2.0 – Continue following Manaticut (YELLOW). [Overlook Rock (WHITE) goes to the right]. The trail now also has WHITE blazes.

Shortly after, where YELLOW and WHITE blazes indicate the trail turns to the right, instead turn LEFT for a brief scramble up to a wide panorama from Overlook Rock.

Small scramble to Overlook Rock

View from Overlook Rock.

View from Overlook Rock

Come back down off of Overlook Rock.

// Shorter 4.6 Version: With your back to Overlook Rock, turn LEFT to continue following Manaticut (YELLOW)/Overlook Rock (WHITE). At the next intersection turn LEFT to now follow Manaticut (YELLOW). [Overlook Rock (WHITE) goes right]. Continue following the description for the shorter version noted below. //

For the longer version: With your back to Overlook Rock, turn RIGHT to continue following Manaticut (YELLOW).

Shortly, turn LEFT to now follow Overlook Rock (WHITE).

2.5 – After following a wood road for a while, Overlook Rock (WHITE), turns off of it to the left, just after a stream crossing. A small cascade is off to the left.

Cascade on Overlook Trail

2.7 – Viewpoint on Overlook Rock (WHITE).

Hills in the distance with green forest in the foreground

Continue following Overlook Rock (WHITE).

Hiker on rock slabs

There may be a new blue trail on the right when approaching the power line cut.

3.0 – There is a stone wall before a power line cut.

Stone wall and cross a power line cut

Continue following Overlook Rock (WHITE) across the power line cut.

3.1 – Turn left and continue on Overlook Rock (WHITE). [Tapawingo (BLUE) goes right].

3.6 – View from a rock slab. We found that the viewpoint marked on the TC map was before this and only a very limited view.

View west from the Overlook Rock trail

Cross the power line cut again, continuing on Overlook Rock (WHITE).

The blazes on the ground direct to a woods road that is overgrown and grassy and that’s the route, though we walked on rocks around it a bit. We didn’t spot the blaze on the other side till we were over there.

Large power tower and lines

In this section, the trail follows woods roads for a bit and sometimes it’s a little overgrown and feels like the “trail less taken”.

4.8 – Start following Manaticut (YELLOW) straight. [Overlook Rock (WHITE) and Manaticut (YELLOW) also go left and is where you’d come in from the shorter version].

// Shorter 4.6 Version continues from this point. Subtract 2.2 from the mileage. //

4.9 – Continue following Manaticut (YELLOW), pass a limited viewpoint.

Green hills with pine trees and rocks in the foreground

5.3 – A pond comes into view off on the right, which might not be visible seasonally.

Off the right side of the trail, we found a large flat group of rocks for a break spot, overlooking the pond.

We were surprised to see not only a gazebo at the edge but large koi fish swimming in the pond. (Unsure of what the deal is with the gazebo area, we assumed it was private so stayed away).

Pass a pond and gazebo on YELLOW Mantaticut

5.4 – Shortly, after a small rock scramble, continue following Manaticut (YELLOW) as it turns right. [Manaticut Sonoma Connector (ORANGE-YELLOW) goes to the left].

Brief scramble on Mantaticut YELLOW

5.8 – Manaticut Point. (Any blue markers in the photos are from when the trail was also Hewitt-Butler (BLUE) in this section).

View from Manaticut Point

Expansive views over Norvin Green State Forest ahead and left.

Green rolling hills seen from Manaticut Point.

To the right a quarry is visible in the distance.

View from Manaticut Point - quarry in the distance

Close up of the quarry:

Close up of quarry

After a short steep downhill section, continue following Manaticut (YELLOW). [Pass West Brook Connector (PINK)].

Trail markers on a rock slab

6.5 – Now follow Manaticut Spur (YELLOW with BLACK DOT), retracing steps from earlier.


Hiked: 8/5/18. Long version, Trail Blog: “Overlook Rock and Manaticut Point with Mama Bear and Cubs
Hiked: 10/6/13. Short version, Trail Blog: “Overlook Rock and Manaticut Point in the Fog