September 19, 2021 – Oakland, New Jersey
Size: Roughly 4 miles
Max elevation: 716 ft.– complete elevation acquire roughly 564 ft.
Route kind: Lollipop Loop
Purchase Map: Northern New Jersey Highlands Trails Map 2021
Free Map: Ramapo Mountain State Forest Map 2021
Trailhead parking: Ramapo Lake Trailhead – 67 Skyline Drive, Oakland, NJ 07436
No entrance or parking charges – car parking zone typically fills up early on weekends
Ramapo Mountain State Forest situated in Bergen and Passaic Counties in New Jersey, is a rugged 4,269-acre space, with elevations starting from about 200 to 1,100 toes, providing hikers almost 30 miles of trails for his or her enjoyment. From meandering outdated roads, to historic trails, to more difficult rock scrambles, the realm presents one thing for out of doors lovers of all ability ranges.
The central characteristic of the realm is the scenic 120-acre Ramapo Lake, which has spectacular views from quite a few rock outcroppings and ledges, and presents wonderful alternatives for fishermen. The ponds, streams and marshes discovered inside the forest present the right habitat for birds and different wildlife species.
The Ramapo Mountain State Forest, which incorporates wild lands within the municipalities of Oakland (Bergen County), Pompton Lakes, Ringwood and Wanaque, borders Ringwood State Park and the Ramapo Valley County Reservation, part of the Bergen County Park System. The park is operated and maintained by the New Jersey Division of Parks and Forestry.
A system of marked climbing and multi-use trails can be found for the general public to discover. The almost 30 miles of trails supply guests alternatives to hike inside woodlands and rocky vistas. Sweeping views of the New York Metropolis Skyline and the encircling hillsides await out of doors lovers.
The Ramapo Lake Spur Path is an uphill stroll from the car parking zone on an eroded and rocky woods street, gaining about 190 toes of elevation in about 0.6 mile.
The LeGrande Hill Loop Path (1.9 mi) is a brief loop path southeast of Ramapo Lake. The path follows a creek then winds via hillsides above the Ramapo River.
It is a good average loop hike via a picturesque space. Views of the lake and from the viewpoints make this hike definitely worth the minimal effort. The paths are effectively marked and straightforward to observe. This Lollipop-Loop was performed in a clockwise method, with the “stick” being the Ramapo Lake Spur.
There are a few steep sections, however largely simply gradual ups and downs.
On the southern finish of the parking space, a triple black-square-on-blue blaze marks the beginning of the Ramapo Lake Spur. Comply with the path into the woods, passing stone ruins. After going up a steep pitch, the path continues to climb on a large, rocky path, paralleling a cascading brook (notably engaging after heavy rains).
As you method the crest of the rise, you’ll cross a stream on rocks. A brief distance past, the white-blazed Citadel Loop joins from the fitting. Simply forward, the paths bear left at a fork and descend to a path junction at Ramapo Lake, the place the Ramapo Lake Spur ends (there are avenue indicators on the junction for South Shore Drive, North Shore Drive and Rye Cliff Highway). Right here, you must flip left, crossing the dam of Ramapo Lake.
On the opposite aspect of the dam, a triple blue-on-white blaze marks the beginning of the Ramapo Lake Loop. Simply forward, an indication marks the beginning of the red-on-white-blazed LeGrande Hill Loop. Flip left, leaving the lakeshore street, and observe the red-on-white path, which rises briefly, then dips right down to parallel a stream (the opposite aspect of the stream that you just adopted on the way in which as much as the lake). Quickly, it turns away from the stream and begins a gradual climb for a few quarter of a mile. On the crest of the rise, the path ranges off, descends barely and shortly turns sharply proper.
On the spot the place the path turns sharp proper, there’s a faint footpath straight forward which presents some good views south of Bergen County and past.
Return to the path and bear left. Simply past the sharp proper flip, you’ll discover a rock outcrop on the left. Flip left and climb this outcrop, which presents a panoramic southwest-facing view. Pompton Lake is seen on the left, and the ridge of Pyramid Mountain could also be seen on the fitting. We missed this view.
Return to the path and switch left. The red-on-white path continues at about the identical elevation, with a number of brief however steep ups and downs, for two-thirds of a mile. Alongside the way in which, a aspect path on the left (reached after a brief climb) results in one other rock ledge with a restricted east-facing view.
Then, after passing a cliff on the fitting and climbing round to the highest of the cliff, you’ll attain a junction with the crimson/blue-blazed LeGrande-Lake Connector amidst pine timber. Flip left at this junction and observe the crimson/blue path. A couple of steps forward alongside this path is a rock outcrop, with pitch pines. On the base of the outcrop, a brief path results in a west-facing viewpoint. The Wyanokies stand out in sharp distinction towards the horizon.
Return to the junction and bear left on the red-on-white-blazed LeGrande Hill Loop. Quickly, you’ll attain a rock ledge with a broader view over the Wyanokies within the distance.
Then, after crossing a seasonal stream, the path climbs to go a vernal pool, under on the fitting. After climbing some extra, you’ll attain a rock outcrop with an expansive view over the Wyanokies and Ramapo Lake under. You’ll wish to pause right here to benefit from the view.
The distinguished peak behind Ramapo Lake is Windbeam Mountain.
From the point of view, the path descends steadily, passing one other vernal pool on the fitting, and shortly ends on the gravel street that runs alongside the shore of the lake.
Flip proper onto the gravel street. The LeGrande Hill Loop is now co-aligned with the blue-on-white-blazed Ramapo Lake Loop Path. In about 500 toes, the LeGrande Hill Loop Path ends, closing the loop. Proceed forward on the blue-on-white-blazed Ramapo Lake Loop Path, crossing the dam.
Whenever you attain the north finish of the dam, flip proper at an indication for the Citadel Loop Path and the Ramapo Lake Spur Path, proceed via a niche within the guardrail, and proceed alongside the black-square-on-blue-blazed Ramapo Lake Spur, retracing your steps again to the parking space the place the hike started.
Though the views are lower than spectacular, it was a pleasant hike. We didn’t see anybody on the LeGrande Hill Loop and a handful close to the lake. As all the time, we obtained an early begin to beat the crowds. The lot was full once we returned to the car parking zone at roughly 11:30 am. This hike might be mixed with the Ramapo Lake Loop or the Van Slyke Citadel Loop for an extended hike.
Effectively marked trails which are straightforward to observe, scenic space.
Car parking zone fills up early on weekends, views aren’t that nice.
Take a hike!