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Lake Sonoma/Overlook Rock/Manaticut Point Short Loop from Crescent Drive
This loop hike goes by Lake Sonoma and climbs to Overlook Rock and several other panoramic viewpoints.
Allowed on leash
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Take Skyline Drive to its northwestern terminus at Greenwood Lake Turnpike (County Route 511). Turn left and proceed south for 1.6 miles to West Brook Road. Turn right onto West Brook Road and cross the Wanaque Reservoir on a narrow causeway. At the next T-junction, turn left and proceed for 0.8 mile to Magee Road. Turn right onto Magee Road and take the first left onto Burnt Meadow Road. Continue for 0.9 mile and turn left at the second intersection with Crescent Drive. Continue for 0.2 mile until you reach a huge boulder on the right side of the road, just beyond a curve. Park along the side of the road.
To the left of the boulder, you'll notice a triple yellow blaze that marks the start of the Manaticut Point Trail. Head into the woods on this trail. Soon, you'll cross two branches of a stream on rocks, with several abandoned sections of concrete pipe adjacent to the stream, and pass by a cliff. A short distance beyond, you'll cross another stream below an interesting V-shaped rock formation and continue uphill, parallel to the stream.
About a mile from the start, the orange-blazed Lake Sonoma Trail joins from the right. The trails run jointly for a short distance, but when they diverge, you should continue ahead on the orange-blazed Lake Sonoma Trail, which crosses the inlet stream of Lake Sonoma, turns right and soon reaches a viewpoint over the lake. The trail parallels the lake for a quarter mile but does not approach the lakeshore.
The Lake Sonoma Trail recrosses the woods road, briefly parallels a stream, then crosses it below an attractive cascade. It immediately turns left and begins a steady climb. At the top, it bears left, briefly descends, then turns sharply left at a switchback and climbs gently to reach a junction with the white-blazed Overlook Rock Trail, which joins from the right. When the trails diverge In 150 feet, follow the Lake Sonoma Trail as it makes a short, steep climb to its terminus at Overlook Rock - a massive exposed rock face with a panoramic east-facing view over Lake Sonoma and Windbeam, Bear and Board Mountains, with the Ramapo Mountains in the background. You've now gone about two miles from the start.
After taking in the view, descend from the rock and turn left onto the white-blazed Overlook Rock Trail. In half a mile, after crossing an intermittent stream and climbing gradually, you'll reach a junction (marked by a single cedar tree) with the blue-blazed Hewitt-Butler Trail at a viewpoint to the southwest. The Overlook Rock Trail ends here, and you should turn left onto the blue-blazed trail.
The trail descends briefly, then climbs steeply to the crest of the ridge. It heads southeast along the ridge, passing a viewpoint to the right over Saddle Mountain, and descending gradually. At the base of the descent, there is a small pond on private property to the right.
After climbing through a cleft in the rock, you'll reach a junction with the yellow-blazed Manaticut Point Trail, which comes in from the left. Follow the joint blue/yellow trail, which descends a little and then climbs steadily to a panoramic viewpoint from Manaticut Point - an open rock ledge. Windbeam Mountain is directly ahead (east), with Bear and Board Mountains to its left. To the south, you can see a quarry, with the New York City skyline visible on the horizon.
The trail now descends very steeply. Watch carefully for a double blaze painted on a rock, and follow the yellow-blazed Manaticut Point trail as it turns left and continues to descend more gradually. It soon joins a grassy woods road, which it follows downhill, bearing left at a fork along the way. When you reach the trailhead at the paved Crescent Drive, turn left and follow the road a short distance back to your car.
To view a photo collection for this hike, click here.