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.
- Shorter: 4.6 miles – noted in the description below, just do the YELLOW loop.
- Short: ~3.0 just out-and-back to Lake Sonoma using YELLOW.
- Nearby longer variation: Lake Sonoma and Overlook Rock.
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. Mostly shady but the viewpoints are in full sun with no real shade to rest in.
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).
Update 8/2018 – description, GPX, Google Map added; re-hiked; new photos.
Map: North Jersey Trails. Some trails in this area have changed blaze color, be sure to use a current map. Our GPX and Google Map includes both the 6.8 and 4.6 hikes.
Books: The shorter route is in 50 Hikes in New Jersey and contains a more detailed description.
Parking: N41.09077° W74.32124°
Rt. 287 N to exit 55; Rt. 511 to West Brook Rd.; then Magee to Burnt Meadow Rd. to Crescent Drive. Trailhead parking is on Crescent Dr. along the curb, no parking area, and near a large rock.
Restrooms: None. Gas stations and convenience stores along Rt. 511.
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“.
Hike Directions: Overview: YELLOW with BLACK DOT – Manaticut (YELLOW) —Overlook Rock (WHITE) – Manaticut (YELLOW) – YELLOW with BLACK DOT
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 YELLOW with BLACK DOT. Large rocks loom above and there are several stream crossings.
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 ORANGE YELLOW (like candy corn!).
1.2 – Lake Sonoma comes into view.
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.
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, Hewitt Butler (BLUE) goes left and right].
Continue following the description for the shorter version noted below.
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.
2.7 – Viewpoint.
3.0 – There is a stone wall to take a break. Cross the power line cut. After crossing, Overlook Rock (WHITE) goes to the LEFT.
3.1 – Turn left and continue on Overlook Rock (WHITE), now co-joined with Hewitt Butler (LIGHT BLUE). [Hewitt Butler (BLUE) also 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.
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.
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, also blazed Hewitt Butler (BLUE). [Overlook Rock (WHITE) and Manaticut (YELLOW) also go left].
Shorter 4.6 Version continues from this point. Subtract 2.2 from the mileage.
4.9 – Following Manaticut (YELLOW), pass a limited viewpoint not noted on the map.
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).
5.4 – Shortly, after a small rock scramble, continue following Manaticut (YELLOW) as it turns right. [ORANGE YELLOW goes to the left].
5.8 – Manaticut Point. Expansive views over Norvin Green SF ahead and left, and a quarry to the right.
After a short steep downhill section, continue following Manaticut (YELLOW) as Hewitt Butler (BLUE) leaves to the right.
6.5 – Now follow 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“