Changes are in the Works
Three hikes previously covered here at Yo Hike This! have been impacted by trail improvements undertaken by the NY-NJ Trails Conference. These changes will significantly enhance the hiking opportunities at these spots which are among the best destinations in the state. The trail systems at Terrace Pond in Waywayanda State Park, Bearfort Ridge in Abraham Hewitt State Forest and around Ramapo Lake at Ramapo State Forest will all see substantial alterations in the existing networks. You can read more about these projects here.
Most of these changes will be accomplished solely through re-blazing existing trails, blazing connecting sections of currently unmarked woods roads and re-naming the existing trails. There will be two new trails added-one at Terrace Pond and one at Bearfort Ridge. The idea is that these changes will create easier to define loop hikes and be more intuitive for visitors, which should cut down on lost hikers. I will have to return to all three of these spots to hopefully describe some variations on the original recommended routes. You should consider supporting the Trails Conference in their great work. You can donate to them here. If you’re a hiker in this area, you’ve been benefiting from their efforts for a long time. If you aren’t in a position to donate financially, consider volunteering your time as a trail maintainer. It’s a rewarding way to give back to the community.
Trail Changes Terrace Pond
The very first hike featured on Yo Hike This! was the trip up to Terrace Pond. You can check it out here. Terrace Pond is one of the most popular hiking spots in northern New Jersey. This is for a good reason. It is a beautiful place to hike and is fairly accessible to most hikers. The New York-New Jersey Trails Conference is in the process of making some changes and additions to the trail network in this area. You can read more about them here.
I’ll need to go back and chart out another hike up here that features the trail changes. There will be some blazing changes and the addition of a new trail that will open up some interesting loop opportunities. These changes will also make what will now be the former “Terrace Pond North” trail far more useful as you will be able to make a trip to Terrace Pond from the parking area on Warwick Turnpike and back without having to just re-trace your steps. There will be an entirely new trail blazed blue to be incorporated into the new Terrace Pond North Loop trail that will run along the ridge line to the east of the Pinecliff Reservoir. This new trail will allow for a “lollipop loop” that will take you to the pond and back among other new combinations. The stem of the former Terrace Pond North trail leading to Warwick Turnpike (and over to Bearfort Ridge) will be blazed as a blue/black connector.
The hike I described in that first post will still be possible, but the blaze colors will change. The trip up on the yellow trail will still be the same. However, the “Yellow Dot Trail” will be re-blazed blue as part of the new “Terrace Pond North Loop” trail. A short section of this trail will be blazed as a yellow/blue connector. The section of the blue Terrace Pond North trail that was used to take you downhill back to the parking area on Clinton Road will be re-blazed yellow as part of the “Terrace Pond West Loop” trail. So you will make the same hike but follow a new set of blazes.
The former route of the Terrace Pond South Trail will still be blazed yellow. It will be re-routed from the intersection with the Terrace Pond Red Trail to take over the section of what will now be the former red trail from this intersection to the pond. It will be co-aligned for a short section along the west shore of Terrace Pond with the white Terrace Pond Circular Trail and then take over the route of the former blue blazed Terrace Pond North Trail down the hill and back to the Clinton Road parking area. The entire route will be blazed yellow as the new Terrace Pond West Loop Trail. A short section of the former Terrace Pond South Trail that went from the intersection with the Terrace Pond Red Trail to Terrace Pond will be abandoned, but still exist as an unmarked trail. The Terrace Pond Red Trail up to the intersection with the yellow trail will remain the same.
This will be a great change for this area. The possibilities for new or longer hikes will be exciting to explore-mainly due to that new trail section that will make up a portion of the Terrace Pond North Loop. Keep an eye out as I will need to get out on the trail here to update my recommendations. Until then, just be aware of these changes if you venture out on a trip up to the pond. As I said, the original hike is still possible, only the colors of the blazes have changed.
Trail Changes Bearfort Ridge
There are some equally exciting changes in the works for the Bearfort Ridge/Surprise Lake area. The hike I described as possibly my favorite hike in New Jersey here will be affected, but in a positive way. The changes include combining two existing trails into a long loop that will travel to the ridge line, over to Surprise Lake and back to Warwick Turnpike. It will also include the creation of a new trail on the previously inaccessible ridge line immediately to the west of Bearfort Ridge. You can read more here.
The white Bearfort Ridge Trail and the Orange Quail Trail will be re-blazed as the new green-blazed Bearfort Ridge Loop. A section of the yellow Ernest Walter Trail will be blazed yellow and green as a co-aligned portion of this loop. A new pink “West Ridge Trail” will parallel a section of the Bearfort Ridge Loop Trail and provide a new connection-and new loop opportunity- between the top of the first climb up to the ridge line and the Ernest Walter Trail. I’m really looking forward to hiking the ridge line west of Bearfort Ridge on this new trail.
The short portion of the Terrace Pond North trail that was on the north side of Warwick Turnpike will be re-blazed as a blue & green connector trail and the beginning portion of the white Bearfort Ridge Trail from the parking area on Warwick Turnpike will be re-blazed as a green & black connector trail. Again, the hike I described in my earlier post will still be possible, only some of the colors of the blazes will have changed. I will need to get back out here soon and incorporate these new opportunities into a post that describes the trail additions.
Trail Changes Ramapo Mtn. State Forest
As in the other two areas, there are improvements afoot here as well. The hike described in my post here can still be made, but the color of the blazes will change. There are some more substantial changes here than at Hewitt or Waywayanda. The McEvoy Trail will no longer exist. It’s former route will be subsumed into several other trails that will be either extended or incorporated into new loop trails. The Hoeferlin Memorial Trail will no longer exist on the south side of Skyline Drive. As with the McEvoy Trail, its former route in this portion of the State Forest will be re-blazed and incorporated into other trails. It will remain unaffected north of Skyline Drive. A description of the changes can be found here.
For starters, the portion of the now former blue McEvoy Trail that leaves from the lower parking lot on Skyline Drive will be re-blazed and re-named. It will now be blazed as a blue & black connector trail leading up the hill to Ramapo Lake and will be called the Ramapo Lake Spur. The section of the old McEvoy Trail, now marked blue & black, at the top of the climb from the parking lot will be co-aligned with white blazes from the current intersection with the white Castle Point Trail to the lake.
The old white blazed Castle Point trail will be extended to create the white-blazed Castle Loop Trail. It will use the route of the old McEvoy Trail along the north shore of Ramapo Lake to complete the loop. That same section of the old McEvoy Trail will be combined with the route of the Cannonball Trail along the west shore of the lake, a short section of formerly unmarked road at the south end of the lake where it intersects the Indian Rock Trail and the formerly unmarked gravel road that runs along the east shore of the lake to create the blue-blazed Ramapo Lake Loop Trail circling the entire lake.
The formerly unmarked road at the south end of Ramapo Lake, from the point where the blue Ramapo Lake Loop Trail turns north along the east shore will become a red & blue marked connector trail. It will use the unmarked road and a section of the former yellow Hoeferlin Memorial Trail to create the Legrande-Lake Connector. It will run to the intersection with the former Lookout Trail, which will remain red-blazed, but now be called the LeGrande Hill Loop. There will no longer be co-alignment with the former yellow Hoeferlin Memorial Trail. The southernmost section of the Hoeferlin Memorial Trail will remain blazed yellow to the terminus on Pool Hollow Road but now will be called the Pool Hollow Trail.
That’s a lot of changes, but we’re not done yet. The Cannonball Trail will now have its southern terminus at the south end of Ramapo Lake at the intersection with the Indian Rock Trail. The section of the Cannonball Trail between this point and the intersection with the yellow Pool Hollow (formerly Hoeferlin Memorial) Trail will be abandoned. The section of the Cannonball Trail south of the Route 287 crossing will be re-blazed white and incorporated into the existing South Ridge Trail. Only a short section of the Cannonball Trail will be abandoned-but it will still exist as an unmarked path.
The orange blazed Wanaque Ridge Trail that now begins at an intersection with the old McEvoy Trail will be extended and replace the McEvoy Trail between the pipeline right-of-way and the shore of Ramapo Lake, where it will end at an intersection with the new blue-blazed Ramapo Lake Loop Trail. The section of the old McEvoy Trail that headed north to its terminus at a parking area on Wolfe Drive, will be re-blazed as an orange & black connector called the Wanaque Ridge Spur.
Finally, over on the other side of Skyline Drive, beginning at the upper parking lot, a portion of the Orange Schuber Trail, a currently unmarked woods road that goes along the shore of Lake Tamarack, a portion of the Yellow Trail, and nearly the entirety of the white Todd Trail will be re-blazed purple to create the new Tamarack Loop. This trail will have several overlooks of Lake Tamarack. The last portion of the white Todd Trail heading out to an overlook and a short unmarked woods road will be re-blazed green to create the Todd Loop Trail. The remaining northern section of the Schuber Trail heading off to Ramapo Valley Reservation will remain unchanged.