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Lake Sonoma/Overlook Rock/Hewitt-Butler Trails Loop from Burnt Meadow Road
This loop hike goes by Lake Sonoma and climbs to several panoramic viewpoints.
Allowed on leash
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Trail Conference volunteers maintain trails in this park.
Take Skyline Drive to its northwestern terminus at Greenwood Lake Turnpike (County Route 511). Turn right and continue for 5.8 miles, then turn left on Burnt Meadow Road. After 1.4 miles, the pavement ends. Continue on the dirt road for another 1.2 miles until you reach a bridge over Burnt Meadow Brook after a steep downhill. Park on the right side of the road, just before the bridge.
Walk ahead along the road, crossing the bridge, and continue for about 500 feet to an intersection with another dirt road on the right. Just beyond, a triple orange blaze on the right marks the start of the Lake Sonoma Trail, built by volunteers of the New York-New Jersey Trail Conference.
Turn right and follow the Lake Sonoma Trail, which heads into the woods and climbs to a high point, with limited north-facing views. After descending to cross an intermittent stream, it ascends to another high point, with west-facing views. The exposed rock face directly ahead is Overlook Rock, which you'll reach later in the hike.
The Lake Sonoma Trail now descends rather steeply on switchbacks, passing interesting boulders along the way. After about a mile, you'll reach a woods road, where the yellow-blazed Manticut Point Trail joins. Follow the joint yellow/orange trail as it soon turns left, leaving the woods road, and continues on a footpath. In a short distance, the yellow trail turns left, but 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, retrace your steps along the joint orange-and-white-blazed trail for 150 feet, then turn left onto the white-blazed Overlook Rock Trail (don't turn left immediately after descending from Overlook Rock). The trail descends gradually, crossing a woods road and then an intermittent stream. Soon, the trail joins a level woods road, which it follows for 0.2 mile.
After crossing another stream, the Overlook Rock Trail turns left, leaving the road, and climbs to reach a long rock outcrop. It parallels the outcrop to the left, then bears right and climbs to the top, with another broad east-facing view.
The trail descends from the outcrop and again begins to climb, soon joining a woods road. After passing under power lines, the Overlook Rock Trail ends at a junction with the blue-blazed Hewitt-Butler Trail. Turn right onto this trail, which follows woods roads for a quarter mile. Just beyond a sharp bend in the road, the trail turns left, leaving the road, and continues north on a footpath.
In another half a mile, the trail briefly joins a woods road, then turns right and climbs to the summit of the ridge, with east-facing views over Horse Pond Mountain. The trail then descends and, in half a mile, reaches a junction with the yellow-blazed Burnt Meadow Trail. Turn right onto the Burnt Meadow Trail, which passes another viewpoint and then descends rather steeply to cross Hewitt Brook.
After crossing and then following several woods roads, the Burnt Meadow Trail reaches Burnt Meadow Road just before the paving ends. Turn right onto Burnt Meadow Road. At the next utility pole, the yellow blazes turn left into the woods, but you should continue along the road for 1.2 miles back to your car.