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Lookout/Hoeferlin/Cannonball Trails Loop
This hike climbs to several panoramic viewpoints in the Ramapo Mountains and loops around scenic Ramapo Lake.
Allowed on leash
Views, Historic feature
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Trail Conference volunteers maintain trails in this park.
Take Interstate Route 287 to Exit 57 (Skyline Drive) and proceed north on Skyline Drive. Just ahead on the left is the Ramapo Mountain State Forest parking area.
From the southern end of the parking area, follow the blue blazes of the MacEvoy Trail. The trail passes stone ruins, turns right onto a rocky woods road, and heads uphill to Ramapo Lake. For much of the way, it parallels a brook with several cascades (particularly attractive after heavy rains). About half a mile from the start, the white-blazed Todd Trail begins to the right, and the MacEvoy Trail crosses a tributary stream. Continue along the blue-blazed trail.
Soon, the yellow-blazed Hoeferlin Trail joins from the right. A short distance beyond, the lake comes into view, and the trail turns left and descends to reach a paved estate road. Turn left and follow the road downhill to the dam. Here, the blue blazes turn right, but you should proceed ahead across the dam, continuing to follow the yellow-blazed Hoeferlin Trail.
About 100 feet beyond the southern end of the dam, a sign and three red blazes mark the start of the red-blazed Lookout Trail. Turn left onto the Lookout Trail, which climbs briefly, then dips down to parallel a stream (the other side of the stream that you followed on the way up to the lake). Soon, it turns away from the stream and begins a steady climb for about a quarter of a mile. At the crest of the rise, the trail passes a large rock ledge to the left, which affords a limited east-facing view, with I-287 visible below. It then descends slightly, and soon turns sharply right.
The red trail continues at about the same elevation, with several short but steep ups and downs, for two-thirds of a mile. Then, after a short climb, you’ll reach a junction with the yellow-blazed Hoeferlin Trail amidst pine trees. Turn left at this junction and follow the yellow trail. Just ahead is a large rock expanse, with views to the west through the pines. The Wyanokies are on the horizon.
The Hoeferlin Trail now begins a steady descent, steep in places. On the way down, it passes a south-facing viewpoint over Pompton Lake. After a short climb, the trail reaches a panoramic viewpoint from a large open rock, with High Mountain visible to the south beyond I-287, and two industrial buildings below on the left.
The trail now descends to cross a stream, then climbs to a junction with an old paved estate road. It turns right and follows the road, which soon becomes surfaced with gravel. In about 500 feet, the yellow blazes turn left, leaving the road, and reenter the woods on a footpath. Soon after passing a huge glacial erratic, the trail begins a steady descent, first steeply, then more gradually.
At the base of the descent, the Hoeferlin Trail reaches a T-intersection with a woods road. Here, the yellow blazes turn left, but you should turn right, now following the Cannonball Trail, marked with white-"C"-on-red blazes. After crossing a stream, the trail ascends a rocky, eroded stretch of the road. At the next T-intersection, the inverted-red-triangle-on-white-blazed Indian Rock Trail begins on the left, but you should turn right to continue on the Cannonball Trail.
A short distance beyond, follow the white-"C"-on-red blazes as they turn right onto a level road that was once paved, then turn left onto a gravel road that circles Ramapo Lake. This nearly level gravel road is a welcome contrast to the rocky paths that you have followed for much of the way.
The trail heads north, paralleling the western shore of Ramapo Lake, but remaining some distance from the water. In another half a mile, you’ll pass a building on the hillside to the left that was formerly used as a ranger station. A short distance beyond, a rock ledge to the right offers a pleasant view of the lake.
Soon, another gravel road joins from the left. Follow the road ahead, crossing a stone causeway that isolates a quiet pond on the left from the main body of the lake. Next, you’ll reach another Y-intersection. Here, the Cannonball Trail turns left onto an intersecting gravel road, but you should bear right and continue along the lakeshore road, now unmarked. Bear left at the next fork and follow a winding section of the lakeshore road. After passing a small, abandoned stone building along the lake shore to the right, you’ll reach another intersection. Here, you should bear right, joining the blue-blazed MacEvoy Trail.
Follow the blue-blazed gravel road that runs close to the shore along the northern end of the lake, passing a private residence on a ledge to the left. When you return to the northern end of the dam, bear left, uphill, on the road, then follow the blue blazes as they turn right, reentering the woods. Continue along the blue-blazed trail back to the parking area where you started the hike.