Mount Defiance/Skylands Manor Loop from Shepherd Lake

Ringwood State Park

This loop hike climbs to panoramic viewpoints on Mount Defiance and traverses the historic Skylands Manor area.

41.136617, -74.232903

From the parking area, follow the paved path down to the beach on Shepherd Lake. Continue through the boat launch parking area and past the boat house, with the lake on your left. You will notice the red-on-white blazes of the Ringwood-Ramapo Trail, which you will follow for the first part of the hike. As you continue along the trail, you may hear gunshot sounds in the distance. These come...

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Trip Reports

rate experience
November 28, 2020
Hike description has been updated
The hike description has been updated to substitute the pink-on-white blazes of the Five Ponds Loop for the green-on-white blazes of the Halifax Trail. The Five Ponds Loop, which was blazed this past summer, has taken over the western portion of the Halifax Trail.
Daniel Chazin
November 28, 2020
New blaze color
The trails have been updated and the green on white blazes are now pink on white! Once we figured that out it was very easy to follow!
September 21, 2020
Moderate Loop with Easy Parking (Off-Season)
My wife and I enjoyed this loop hike, which we agree is properly rated as moderate. Comparing the previous comments from 2011, I think the hike description has significantly changed since that review. The hike is well described and well blazed throughout. Not too many blowdowns blocking the trail after the August 2020 tropical storm, but some areas where tree tops were torn from their trunks. Since we were hiking on a cool day after the summer season, the passage through Skylands Manor was pleasant and not at all busy. We enjoyed walking the switchbacks of the combination mountain bike trail, which is very well constructed. Mountain bikers were courteous to yield to us, too. Finishing up back at Shepherd Lake with a snack at a picnic table was a nice treat. I also followed an All Trails loop that seemed to match this hike, but it diverged around the 3/4 mark. Distance was accurate.
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