MacEvoy/Lookout Trails Lollipop-Loop

Overview

This hike leads to beautiful Ramapo Lake and climbs to several scenic overlooks on rocky footpaths.

Details
Time:
2.5 hours
Difficulty:
Moderate
Length:
3.5 miles
Route Type:
Lollipop
Dogs:
Allowed on leash
Features:
Views, Historic feature
Location
Park:
Region:
County:
Bergen
State:
NJ
Publication
First Published:
02/21/2002

Updated/Verified:
08/21/2015
Submitter:
Daniel Chazin

Photo

Parking


View Ramapo Mountains in a larger map

See also
Trail Conference volunteers maintain trails in this park.
Trailhead GPS Coordinates
41.032596, -74.251801
Driving Directions

Take I-287 to Exit 57 (Skyline Drive) and proceed north on Skyline Drive. Just ahead on the left is the Ramapo Mountain State Forest lower parking area.

Description

From the kiosk at the southern end of the parking area, follow the blue blazes of the MacEvoy Trail. The trail passes stone ruins, turns right onto a 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 Memorial Trail joins from the right, and the lake comes into view. Follow the joint yellow/blue trail as it 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 continue ahead across the dam, now briefly following the yellow-blazed Hoeferlin Memorial Trail (as well as road signs for Southshore Drive and Rye Cliff Road).

Ramapo Lake from the Dam. Photo by Daniel Chazin.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, leaving the lakeshore road, and follow the red trail, which rises 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. The trail levels off and passes a large rock ledge on the left, which affords a limited east-facing view. You can hear the sound of traffic from I-287 below, and the road is visible when there are no leaves on the trees. The trail 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. Along the way, a side trail on the left (reached after a short climb) leads to another rock ledge with a limited east-facing view. Then, after passing a cliff on the right and climbing around to the top of the cliff, you’ll reach a junction with the yellow-blazed Hoeferlin Memorial Trail amidst pine trees. Turn left at this junction and follow the yellow trail. A few steps ahead along this trail is a viewpoint to the west, through the pines, from a large rock expanse. The Wyanokies stand out in sharp contrast against the horizon. 

Lookout Trail Final Viewpoint. Photo by Daniel ChazinReturn to the junction and bear left on the joint Hoeferlin/Lookout Trail, with both yellow and red blazes. Soon, you’ll soon reach a rock ledge with a broader view over the Wyanokies in the distance. Then, after crossing a seasonal stream, the trail climbs to a rock outcrop with an expansive view over the Wyanokies and Ramapo Lake below. This is the best viewpoint on the hike, and you’ll want to pause here to enjoy the view. From the viewpoint, the trail descends steadily and soon ends at the gravel road that runs along the shore of the lake.

Turn right onto the gravel road, continuing to follow the yellow blazes of the Hoeferlin Memorial Trail, and proceed ahead across the dam. Continue along the road for 100 feet beyond the end of the dam, then turn right onto a footpath, following the co-aligned blue and yellow blazes. The yellow-blazed trail soon leaves to the left, but you should continue ahead along the blue-blazed MacEvoy Trail and follow it back to the parking area where the hike began.

Comment: Please be relevant, civil, non-commercial.

Route 287 Noise

The sounds coming from Route 287 about midway through this hike definitely detract from the enjoyment of it.