Schuber/Yellow-Silver Trails Loop

Overview

This loop hike traverses lesser-used areas of the reservation, passing MacMillan Reservoir and attractive cascades, and climbs to a panoramic viewpoint over the Manhattan skyline.

Details
Time:
4.5 hours
Difficulty:
Moderate to Strenuous
Length:
7.5 miles
Route Type:
Circuit
Dogs:
Allowed on leash
Features:
Views, Waterfall, Historic feature
Location
Park:
Region:
County:
Bergen
State:
NJ
Publication
First Published:
12/15/2003

Updated/Verified:
08/28/2016
Submitter:
Daniel Chazin

Photo

Parking


View Ramapo Valley County Reservation in a larger map

See also
Trail Conference volunteers maintain trails in this park.
Trailhead GPS Coordinates
41.077928,-74.186575
Driving Directions

Take N.J. Route 17 to U.S. Route 202 in Mahwah. Proceed south on Route 202 for two miles, then turn right into the Ramapo Valley County Reservation parking area.

Bus
Short Line offers bus service from Port Authority Bus Terminal in New York City to Ramapo College, which is located about a mile to the north of the park entrance on Route 202. For schedule information, go to www.shortlinebus.com. Only limited service is available on weekends.
Description

The hike begins at a kiosk in the southwest corner of the parking area. Just ahead, you'll notice a triple-yellow blaze on a tree, which marks the start of the Vista Loop Trail. Follow the yellow blazes as they descend wooden steps, join a wide dirt road, and continue ahead to cross the Ramapo River on a steel truss bridge. In another 250 feet, the green-dot-on-orange-blazed River Trail begins on the left, but you should continue ahead on the wide dirt road, following the southern shore of Scarlet Oak Pond (formerly the site of a gravel quarry).

At the end of the pond, you’ll notice two sets of double yellow blazes on a tree. Turn left here and continue to follow the yellow blazes for a quarter mile along another dirt road. After passing the start of the green-dot–on-orange-blazed River Trail on the right, you’ll cross a wooden bridge over a stream and reach the ruins of a stone cabin, built by a camp that once operated on this property. Follow the yellow-blazed Vista Loop Trail as it turns right and begins a rocky climb along the stream. The trail soon levels off, passing attractive cascades and pools in the stream to the right. 

After curving to the right, the Vista Loop Trail reaches a junction with the wide park road leading to the MacMillan Reservoir. Follow the Vista Loop Trail as it turns left, joining the blue-blazed Ridge Loop Trail, and continues along a paved section of the park road. After crossing a bridge, the trails diverge. Bear left and continue to follow the blue-blazed Ridge Loop Trail.

Soon, the trail passes to the left of the stone dam of the MacMillan Reservoir (rebuilt in 2009). You’ve gone a little over a mile from the start, and this is a good place to take a break.

When you’re ready to continue, proceed ahead on the wide road, still marked with blue blazes. You’ll pass the start of the pink-blazed Reservoir Loop Trail on the right and the red-blazed Marsh Loop Trail on the left, but continue ahead on the blue-blazed Ridge Loop Trail. The paving ends at the dam, and the route becomes rather rocky. For the next third of mile, the trail continues to climb.

Just beyond the crest of the rise, the red-blazed Marsh Loop Trail crosses. You should proceed ahead on the blue-blazed Ridge Loop Trail, which crosses a stream, descends a little, and levels off. In 750 feet, you’ll reach a fork in the road, where the blue-blazed Ridge Loop Trail leaves to the right. You should take the left fork, now following the Red-Silver Trail along a narrower path.

In another 0.2 mile, just before reaching an intermittent stream, you’ll come to another junction. Here, you should turn sharply left onto the orange-blazed Schuber Trail, which begins here. The Schuber Trail now ascends a rocky hillside and levels off along the southeastern shoulder of Rocky Mountain. After proceeding through a rocky area, it crosses a stream on rocks. It parallels a prominent rocky ridge to the right for some distance, then climbs through a cleft in the ridge and descends through woods to reach paved Bear Swamp Road, about three miles from the start. 

The Schuber Trail crosses the road and continues across a wooden bridge over Bear Swamp Brook. About 150 feet beyond the bridge, the trail turns left again, leaving the paved road, and re-enters the woods. It soon approaches a particularly wild and beautiful section of the brook, featuring cascades, pools and a deep rock cut. 

A short distance beyond, the brook curves to the left as the Schuber Trail continues ahead, climbing through a rocky area. After crossing a stream on rocks, the trail passes to the right of the ruins of a cabin (once part of the adjacent Camp Yaw Paw). The trail now crosses a second stream and reaches an old woods road, where it turns left onto the Yellow Trail (blazed with yellow diamonds). Follow the joint Schuber and Yellow Trails, which soon bear right and begin a steep and rocky ascent. Reaching the crest of the ridge, the trails bear right and continue along the grassy ridge, entering Camp Glen Gray (owned by Bergen County).

Soon, the Old Guard Trail, blazed with a green tulip leaf on white, leaves to the right. A short distance beyond – at the high point of the ridge (996 feet) – you’ll come to an expansive viewpoint over northern Bergen County from a rock outcrop a short distance to the left of the trail. The Manhattan skyline is visible on the horizon to the right, and on a clear day, you can even see the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge in the distance. You’ve now gone about four miles – a little more than halfway – and this is another good place to stop and take a break.

When you’re ready to continue, return to the trail and turn left. You’ll now be following the Yellow Trail (the Schuber Trail leaves to the right here). The Yellow Trail descends along the ridge and soon reaches a woods road. Turn left onto this road, marked with the silver-on-yellow blazes of the Yellow-Silver Trail, which descends on switchbacks. At the base of the descent, it turns left and joins a woods road that comes in from the right.

After a level stretch, the Yellow-Silver Trail begins a steady descent. Towards the base of the descent, it bears left at a fork, crosses two streams on rocks, and reaches paved Bear Swamp Road. The Yellow-Silver Trail turns left onto the road and crosses Bear Swamp Brook on a wooden bridge. It then turns right, leaving the road, proceeds through the ruins of a goat farm, and climbs gradually on a woods road.

In 0.8 mile from the goat farm ruins, the Yellow-Silver Trail descends a little and ends at an intersection with the red-blazed Marsh Loop Trail. Turn right onto the Marsh Loop Trail, which levels off. After passing through an area with thick understory, the Marsh Loop Trail descends to end at an intersection with the blue-blazed Ridge Loop Trail, opposite the dam at the eastern end of MacMillan Reservoir.

Turn right and head downhill on the Ridge Loop Trail. Soon, the yellow-blazed Vista Loop Trail joins from the left, but when the two trails diverge, bear left to stay on the blue-blazed Ridge Loop Trail.

The Ridge Loop Trail continues to descend, following the wide park road. On the way, you’ll reach a junction where the blue blazes head both left and right. Here, you should bear right and follow the descending route of the blue-blazed Ridge Loop Trail. Near the base of the descent, the Ridge Loop Trail curves to the right, and it soon ends at a junction with the yellow-blazed Vista Loop Trail. Proceed straight ahead on the Vista Loop Trail, which passes to the right of Scarlet Oak Pond, continues across the bridge over the Ramapo River, and ends at the parking area where the hike began.

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

Great Hike!

Did this hike this AM! Totally an awsome hike! Weather wasn't to hot in the AM. started at 7:45 and returned to the car at 12 noon. Only one thing to point out for the people that read this, see below. On the way down towards the end after this part,   After passing through an area with thick understory, After this point there is a hugh tree that has fallen down and is blocking the Yellow-Silver trail! You need to work through the tree to get to the path that turns to the right. If you try and go around it to the left you will get taken way off the trail. the Yellow-Silver Trail descends to end at an intersection with the Schuber Trail,opposite the dam at the eastern end of MacMillan Reservoir. On another note the directions for this hike are spot on! PS: Get an early start, the parking lot fills up with tons of people that come to walk their dogs to the dam area.

I did this hike on 8/12/2010

The park itself is very beautiful, the hike has a nice mix of mountain trails, river aligned trails, and woods trails, the directions given for the most part were acurate, but since the writer posted this hike back in 2003 some of the trails have changed, been added and removed. So I have a few helpful comments: ***When you near the end of the green/white trail the trail forks, you would THINK that going straight would be correct beacause you can see that it does change to orange from where you are standing at the fork, but you actually need to BEAR RIGHT, and you will instantly see the bridge and building ruins. This is where the green/white trail officially ends (has 3 blazes) and the orange trail begins again. ***When you go passed the dam and climb the hill you reach an intersection where a red trail comes from the left side before you reach the intersection he mentions where a blue trail emerges. ignore it, and continue on the orange trail as instructed. [NOTE:  Both of the above comments are correct, and the hike description has now been edited to take them into account. Daniel Chazin] ***When you are coming down the mountain on the yellow/silver trail there are multiple intersections of woods roads that you might think are the road you are looking for, but they arent (the trickiest one actually follows the yellow/silver trail-the trail APPEARS to bend right and turns into a woods road with bricks in parts of the road, but you will soon notice that it is unmarked, this is not correct, the trail bends left, and gets narrow, if i didnt climb back up and double check the blaze i wouldnt have believed it) there are at least 4 times where the yellow/silver trail intersects with another trail or appears to fork, for each intersection BEAR LEFT...you stay on the yellow/silver trail untill you hit a road (a REAL park, car acessable road-not a woods road) [NOTE:  There are a number of such side trails as you descend on switchbacks along the Yellow-Silver Trail, but, at present, the trail is very clearly blazed, so that if you carefully follow the blazes, you should not get lost here.  Daniel Chazin]***after you make your 3rd left to stay on the yellow/silver the blazes change from yellow with a silver stripe down the middle to a diagonally cut half yellow half silver blaze. [NOTE:  This was true when you did the hike, but since then, all of the blazes have been changed to silver-on-yellow.  Daniel Chazin].  *it rained the entire time i hiked here, but it was beautiful non the less and once i left the lake road i didnt see a soul til i got back on the lake road near the parking lot where i began...the woods here are thick but the trails for the most part are clearly marked...the water is clean, there are some neat boulders scattered around the woods, and amazingly this park doesnt close til a half hour AFTER sundown...this trail took me 3.25 hours to complete including the two times i went the wrong way...parts of it are a little challanging but even a novice hiker should be able to do this without much trouble...HAVE FUN!