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Rockleigh Woods Sanctuary and Lamont Reserve Loop
This hike loops around this sanctuary, on the western slope of the Palisades, climbing a scenic ravine along a cascading stream.
Easy to Moderate
Allowed off leash
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Trail Conference volunteers maintain trails in this park.
Take the Palisades Interstate Parkway to Exit 4. Turn left at the bottom of the ramp onto Route 9W (if coming from the north, turn right onto Route 9W) and proceed for 1.1 miles, entering New York. At the next traffic light, turn left onto Oak Tree Road and, in 0.2 mile, turn left onto Closter Road. In 0.5 mile, after crossing under the Parkway, you reenter New Jersey, and the road becomes Rockleigh Road. Continue for another 0.2 mile to the Rockleigh Municipal Building (26 Rockleigh Road) and turn left into the driveway. Park in the rear of the building.
This hike traverses two preserved tracts on the western slope of the Palisades - the 84-acre Rockleigh Woods Sanctuary, located in the Borough of Rockleigh, which purchased it in 1975, and the 134-acre Lamont Reserve, located in the Borough of Alpine, and purchased jointly by the County of Bergen, the Borough of Alpine and the Borough of Rockleigh in 1996. Both tracts were formerly part of Camp Alpine of the Greater New York Councils, Boy Scouts of America.
From the parking area, follow a handicapped-accessible path to a playground, where a triple blue blaze on a fence post marks the start of the Hutcheon Trail. Follow this blue-blazed trail past a “Green Acres” sign into the woods.
In a short distance, you’ll notice a triple yellow blaze on a tree to the right. Turn right and follow the yellow-blazed Sneden-Haring-Lamont Trail, which heads south, closely paralleling the sanctuary boundary. Continue to follow this trail as it turns right at a T-intersection and crosses a brook on a culvert. To the right is the Sneden Ice Pond (the level of the pond is currently low because the dam has been breached). Just beyond, follow the trail as it turns left.
As the yellow-blazed Sneden-Haring-Lamont Trail approaches a wider brook, the blue-blazed Hutcheon Trail joins from the left. Then, just before reaching the brook, a triple red blaze on the right marks the start of the Roaring Ravine Trail. Turn left and follow this red-blazed trail uphill. The scenic trail parallels the cascading Roaring Brook, first on the level of the brook, then high above it. As it approaches the top of the western slope of the Palisades, the trail moves away from the brook.
Near the top, the red-blazed trail ends at an intersection with a wide woods road – the route of the yellow-blazed Sneden-Haring-Lamont Trail. Turn right and follow this trail, which crosses Roaring Brook on rocks. Just beyond, follow the yellow-blazed trail as it bears right, leaving the road. The white-blazed Lamont Rock Trail joins briefly, but when the trails diverge just ahead, bear right to continue on the yellow-blazed trail. The trail begins to descend, first gradually and then more steeply.
As the yellow-blazed trail nears the base of the slope, it reaches an intersection with the blue-blazed Hutcheon Trail and the white-blazed Lamont Rock Trail. Turn sharply right here and follow the blue and white blazes. A short distance ahead, when the trails diverge, bear left and follow the blue blazes downhill.
After leveling off, the blue-blazed trail reaches Roaring Brook, where the orange-blazed Brook Connector Trail begins on the right. Follow the blue-blazed trail as It turns left, briefly parallels the brook, then turns right and crosses it on rocks. (If the water is high, you may wish to cross the brook on a large fallen tree just upstream.)
On the other side, follow the blue-blazed trail as it bears right, makes a short climb, then descends slightly to cross a stone bridge over a brook. Continue to follow the blue-blazed trail all the way back to the parking area where the hike began.