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Schuber/Hoeferlin Memorial Trail Loop to 996' Viewpoint, Erskine Lookout and Matapan Rock
This loop hike traverses a portion of the Schuber Trail through the Ramapo Mountains and ascends to several viewpoints, with broad vistas both east and west.
Allowed on leash
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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 for a little over a mile to the upper parking area for Ramapo Mountain State Forest on the left side of the road at milepost 1.4, opposite the entrance to Camp Tamarack.
From the parking area, cross Skyline Drive. You will see a triple orange blaze on a utility pole (along with yellow and white blazes for two other trails). The triple orange blaze marks the start of the Schuber Trail. Turn right onto the gravel road that leads into Camp Tamarack, then immediately turn left and follow the orange blazes downhill on a winding footpath. At the base of the descent, turn right at a T-intersection, then bear left, skirting the ruins of the former rifle range of the camp. The Schuber Trail now crosses a stream on cinder blocks, climbs over a knoll and descends to cross a second stream. Just beyond, follow the orange blazes as the trail bears away from a woods road.
About half an hour into the hike, the white-blazed Millstone Trail crosses, but you should continue straight ahead, following the orange blazes. A short distance beyond, you’ll notice a cabin to the right. Here, the trail briefly turns right onto a woods road, then turns left onto another road along the shore of Lake Vreeland. Follow the orange blazes as the road begins to climb and curves to the north, passing several campsites and cabins. Camp Glen Gray, owned by Bergen County, is managed by the Friends of Glen Gray. The public is welcome to hike on the trails, and camp facilities may be rented by contacting the camp, (201)337-7234; www.glengray.org.
The Schuber Trail passes the camp rifle range, then descends to cross North Brook on a footbridge near the Tindall Cabin. Here, the Old Guard Trail (green tulip tree leaf on white) joins briefly.
At the top of the hill, the Schuber Trail bears right, leaving the Old Guard Trail, and heads east along another woods road. After passing a swamp (Sanders Pond) to the left and old gateposts, the trail turns left and begins to climb. Soon, you’ll arrive at the top of the ridge, where you will see the markers for the Yellow Trail. Cross the Yellow Trail and continue ahead to a rock outcrop which offers an outstanding view over northern Bergen County, with the Manhattan skyline visible on the horizon to the right on a clear day. This is a good place to take a break.
After you’ve rested and enjoyed the view, return to the Yellow/Schuber Trail and turn right (north), following the yellow and orange blazes as they descend from the ridge. Along the way, the Old Guard Trail (green-tulip-tree-leaf-on-white blazes) leaves to the left. At the base of the descent, follow the yellow blazes as the Yellow Trail turns left on a woods road, leaving the Schuber Trail. It soon crosses a pipeline, then traverses a stream and a wet area on wooden bridges. The Yellow Trail ends at a junction with the Cannonball Trail (blazed with a white "C" on red) just beyond the Dogwood Cabin of Camp Yaw Paw.
Turn right on the Cannonball Trail, which follows the route of the historic Cannonball Road, used during the Revolutionary War to transport munitions without being intercepted by the British. You’ll pass a small lean-to to the right and then an A-frame building (used by the camp as a nature center) to the left. Just beyond the A-frame, with more lean-tos visible on the hill to the left, you will notice a triple green-on-white blaze which marks the start of the Green Trail. Turn left and follow this trail as it curves through a camp lean-to site (which may be occupied on weekends by Scout groups) and climbs to the western ridge of the Ramapo Mountains.
After about half a mile, the Green Trail ends at the yellow-blazed Hoeferlin Memorial Trail. Just beyond is the Erskine Lookout, which offers a broad westward view over the Wanaque Reservoir. Here is another good spot to take a break while enjoying the view. When you’re rested, turn right and head south on the yellow-blazed trail, which you will follow all the way back to the parking area on Skyline Drive.
The southern end of the red-on-white-blazed Ringwood-Ramapo Trail may be seen to the right in about a mile, and half a mile later, the Cannonball Trail (white "C" on red) joins from the left. The two trails now follow an old woods road along the ridgeline. Soon, the joint Hoeferlin/Cannonball Trail turns left and descends from the ridge, passing a large glacial erratic to the left on the way down.
At the base of the descent, the trails cross a wide gravel road which, to the right, leads to a radio tower. About 60 feet beyond this road, the red-blazed Matapan Rock Trail crosses. Turn right and follow this trail to its end at Matapan Rock. This rock ledge, which directly overlooks Skyline Drive below, affords an expansive view to the west. After enjoying the view, retrace your steps to the Hoeferlin/Cannonball Trail and turn right, following the yellow and red-on-white blazes heading south.
In another half a mile, the trails briefly emerge onto Skyline Drive, where they cross a gas pipeline. Just beyond the pipeline, they bear left and re-enter the woods, passing around a gate and soon crossing a stream in a wet area. About 0.3 mile beyond, bear left onto the yellow-blazed Hoeferlin Memorial Trail, as the Cannonball Trail proceeds ahead on the woods road. Be alert, as this turn is easy to miss.
The yellow trail now ascends steadily through mountain laurel to reach a rock outcrop, then descends very steeply. At the base of the descent, a sign points to the way to an Indian shelter, believed to have been used by Native Americans during their hunting season. A short distance ahead, the trail reaches Skyline Drive, just opposite the parking area where the hike began.