The hike begins at a kiosk in the southwest corner of the parking area. Just ahead, you'll notice a triple-black-square-on-yellow blaze on a tree, which marks the start of the Vista Spur Trail. Follow the black-square-on-yellow blazes as they descend wooden steps, join a wide dirt road, and continue ahead to cross the Ramapo River on a steel truss bridge.
Just beyond the bridge, the orange-on-white-blazed River Loop Trail begins on the left. Turn left, leaving the wide gravel road, and follow the River Loop Trail along a narrower footpath, parallel to the shore of the Ramapo River. Since the footpath is in the floodplain of the river, it may be muddy or even flooded in places when the water is high. Soon, you'll reach a junction with the black-square-on-orange-blazed River Spur Trail. Turn left onto the River Spur Trail, which continues along the river. After passing a small cascade, the trail bears right, away from the river, and it soon ends at a junction with the yellow-blazed Vista Loop Trail. Turn left onto the Vista Loop Trail and cross a stream on a wooden footbridge.
On the other side of the bridge, the trail turns sharply right and follows the cascading stream. Soon, it begins to climb on stone steps, passing an attractive waterfall along the way. This beautiful trail section was built in 2017-18 by an AmeriCorps trail crew of the New York-New Jersey Trail Conference. After passing more cascades and pools in the stream on the right, the Vista Loop Trail levels off, curves to the right, and reaches a junction with the wide park road leading to the MacMillan Reservoir.
Follow the Vista Loop Trail as it turns left, joining the blue-blazed Ridge Loop Trail, and continues along a paved section of the park road. A short distance ahead, the two trails diverge. The Vista Loop Trail continues ahead, but you should bear left to stay on the Ridge Loop Trail. Soon, the trail passes to the left of the stone dam of the MacMillan Reservoir. You’ve gone a little over a mile from the start, and this is a good place to take a break.
Continue heading uphill along the blue-blazed Ridge Loop Trail. You'll notice triple-red and triple-pink blazes on the sides of the trail, but stay on the blue-blazed Ridge Loop Trail. In a third of a mile, the red-blazed Marsh Loop Trail crosses. Continue ahead on the blue-blazed Ridge Loop Trail, which crosses a stream, descends a little, and levels off. In 750 feet, you’ll reach a fork in the road. Here, the red/silver-blazed Rocky Mountain Connector begins on the left, but you should take the right fork, continuing to follow the blue-blazed Ridge Loop Trail.
The Ridge Loop Trail continues to descend. After crossing a stream and its tributary, it ascends gradually, levels off, and descends a rocky section of the road to cross another small stream. The trail now begins a steady climb, which is gradual at first, but soon steepens. As it nears the crest of the rise, the trail bends sharply to the right and levels off, continuing along the ridge. Rocky Mountain and Drag Hill are visible through the trees to the right (when there are no leaves on the trees).
After another short climb, you’ll reach a junction where the Ridge Loop Trail turns right, leaving the road. Follow the blue blazes, which continue on a footpath. (Straight ahead, the road is marked with the purple blazes of the Havemeyer Trail). Soon, the trail reaches an exposed rock ledge, where it bears left and continues over undulating terrain.
In about half a mile, at the top of a short climb, you’ll begin to a parallel a stone wall to the left. The trail then descends to reach another woods road, the route of the yellow-blazed Vista Loop Trail. Turn right, now following both blue and yellow blazes, and follow the road downhill. In another 500 feet, the yellow blazes turn right. Turn right and follow the yellow blazes for about 200 feet. When the yellow blazes turn sharply right, continue ahead for another 200 feet, following black-star-on-yellow blazes to a viewpoint over the Ramapo Valley, with Campgaw Mountain visible in the foreground to the right. On a clear day, the Manhattan skyline is visible in the distance. After taking in the view, return to the junction of the yellow and blue trails, turn right onto the blue-blazed Ridge Loop Trail, and descend on a wide, rocky path.
When you reach a fork, follow the blue blazes, which bear right and continue to descend to the main park road. Here, you should turn left and follow the blue/yellow-blazed Vista-Ridge Connector downhill along the park road. Near the base of the descent, the Vista-Ridge Connector curves to the right, and it soon ends at a junction with the yellow-blazed Vista Loop Trail. Proceed straight ahead on the Vista Loop Trail for 200 feet, then continue on the black-square-on-yellow-blazed Vista Spur Trail, which passes to the right of Scarlet Oak Pond, continues across the bridge over the Ramapo River, and ends at the parking area where the hike began.area where the hike began.
Publication: Submitted by Daniel Chazinon 12/26/2002updated/verified on 11/14/2018
This loop hike traverses lesser-used portions of the reservation, passing a scenic reservoir and a waterfall and climbing to an expansive viewpoint.
The hike begins at a kiosk in the southwest corner of the parking area. Just ahead, you'll notice a triple-black-square-on-yellow blaze on a tree, which marks...
Whether you are going for a day hike or backpacking overnight, it is good practice to carry what we call The Hiking Essentials. These essentials will help you enjoy your outing more and will provide basic safety gear if needed. There may also be more essentials, depending on the season and your needs.
Hiking Shoes or Boots
Water - Two quarts per person is recommended in every season. Keep in mind that fluid loss is heightened in winter as well as summer. Don't put yourself in the position of having to end your hike early because you have run out of water.
Map - Know where you are and where you are going. Many of our hiking areas feature interconnecting network of trails. Use a waterproof/tear-resistant Tyvek Trail Conference map if available or enclose your map in a Ziplock plastic bag. If you have a mobile device, download Avenza’s free PDF Maps app and grab some GPS-enhanced Trail Conference maps (a backup Tyvek or paper version of the map is good to have just in case your batteries die or you don't have service). Check out some map-reading basics here.
Food - Snacks/lunch will keep you going as you burn energy walking or climbing. Nuts, seeds, and chocolate are favorites on the trail.
Sunscreen and insect repellent
Rain Gear and Extra Clothing - Rain happens. So does cold. Be prepared for changing weather. Avoid cotton--it traps water against your skin and is slow to dry. If you are wearing wet cotton and must return to your starting point, you risk getting chills that may lead to a dangerous hypothermia. Choose synthetic shirts, sweaters and/or vests and dress in layers for easy on and off.
Compass - A simple compass is all you need to orient you and your map to magnetic north.
Light - A flashlight or small, lightweight headlamp will be welcome gear if you find yourself still on the trail when darkness falls. Check the batteries before you start out and have extras in your pack.
First Aid Kit - Keep it simple, compact, and weatherproof. Know how to use the basic components.
Firestarter and Matches - In an emergency, you may need to keep yourself or someone else warm until help arrives. A firestarter (this could be as simple as leftover birthday candles that are kept inside a waterproof container) and matches (again, make sure to keep them in a waterproof container) could save a life.
Knife or Multi-tool - You may need to cut a piece of moleskin to put over a blister, repair a piece of broken equipment, or solve some other unexpected problem.
Emergency Numbers - Know the emergency numbers for the area you're going to and realize that in many locations--especially mountainous ones, your phone will not get reception.
Common Sense - Pay attention to your environment, your energy, and the condition of your companions. Has the weather turned rainy? Is daylight fading? Did you drink all your water? Did your companion fail to bring rain gear? Are you getting tired? Keep in mind that until you turn around you are (typically) only half-way to completing your hike--you must still get back to where you started from! (Exceptions are loop hikes.)
Check the weather forecast before you head out. Know the rules and regulations of the area.
Take N.J. Route 17 to U.S. Route 202 in Mahwah. Proceed south on Route 202 for two miles, then turn right into the Ramapo Valley County Reservation parking area.
TRAIN TRANSPORT :
BUS TRANSPORT :
Short Line offers bus service from Port Authority Bus Terminal in New York City to Ramapo College, which is located about half a mile to the north of the park entrance on Route 202. For schedule information, go to www.shortlinebus.com. Only limited service is available on weekends.
<p>Glad you had an enjoyable hike, especially with the foliage starting to turn in this area.<br><br>Without knowing the specifics of your GPS device and its settings (I'm not sure how MapMyHike operates exactly), it is difficult to pinpoint the cause of error, but we are fairly confident of the 4.5 mileage for this hike loop based on a couple factors:</p>
<li>Our Geographic Information System (GIS) database of trails, from which our maps are produced, is able to calculate straight-line and elevation-adjusted distances. These GIS-derived distances match fairly closely with the 4.5 miles listed for this hike.</li>
<li>GPS measurements are prone to a wide variety of errors. GPS data can be extremely useful, and we use it to create our trail maps, but due to different kinds of technical issues/errors/settings, one should exercise some caution when referring to its data. As a personal anecdote, I recently GPSed the same section of trail with two different GPS units, and after 5 miles, there was a 0.5 mile difference between the two! Satellite configuration, amount of clear sky, GPS chipset, and configuration settings are likely the most common places where GPS error can be introduced.</li>
<p>So I'm not quite sure how an additional 1.8 miles of distance was incorporated into the GPS log of your MapMyHike app, but I'm guessing it is some combination of factors mentioned above. However, thank you for commenting about this, as your word of caution allowed us to double-check the mileage number just to make sure.<br><br>~Jeremy<br>TC Cartographer</p>
October 03, 2014
Great hike, longer than expected
<p>Really great hike with accurate directions and well-blazed trails. Very beautiful with the fall foliage. I tracked the distance with MapMyHike, however, and it registered 6.3 miles, not 4.5, and I never lost GPS reception. Certainly not complaining, I enjoyed every bit of it. Just wanted to throw out a word of caution for anyone who may find hikes over 5 miles to be too much. </p>
April 11, 2014
I highly recommend this hike!
<p>There were people everywhere at the beginning of the hike around the lake area, but once I made the left onto the Schuber Trail the crowds thinned out very quickly.</p>
<p>The trail markings are excellent and the directions are precise.</p>
<p>A Moderate rating seems accurate for this very enjoyable hike.</p>
<p><span class="Apple-style-span">There was one problem with a blow down on the </span><span class="Apple-style-span">Yellow-Silver Trail making it difficult to pass through and unlikely for someone not "flexible" to continue without some minor bushwacking.</span></p>
<p><span class="Apple-style-span">Below is a photo of this obstacle.</span></p>
<p><span class="Apple-style-span">This was the first time I was in the Reservation, but will not be my last.</span></p>
<p><span class="Apple-style-span">Ohh and by the way, the new trail conference headquarters looks fantastic.</span></p>
<p><span class="Apple-style-span">Kudos to the designers and workers who built it!<img src="/sites/default/files/u18171/20140410_154728.jpg" alt="" width="450" height="600"></span></p>