Ramapo Mountain State Forest



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Park Overview:

With elevations ranging from about 200 to 1,100 feet Ramapo Mountain State Forest is a sanctuary for wildlife. Some of the trails offer a view of the New York City skyline.

Trail Uses:Hiking, Mountain biking, X-C skiing
Dogs:Dogs on leash
Trail Miles:30 miles
Park Acreage:4268 acres
Oakland, Pompton Lakes,
Buy Trail Map:North Jersey Trails Map
Trail Conference volunteers maintain trails in this park.
Park Description:

A rugged 4,268-acre area, Ramapo Mountain State Forest, with elevations ranging from about 200 to 1,100 feet, is a sanctuary for wildlife. Many trails offer a view of the New York City skyline. Birders are attracted to the forest for its ponds, streams, marshes and one fairly large lake that provide the perfect habitat for bird and other wildlife species. The forest, which includes wild lands in the municipalities of Oakland [Bergen County], Pompton Lakes, Ringwood and Wanaque, borders Ringwood State Park and the Ramapo Valley County Reservation, a part of the Bergen County Park System

Trails Overview:

Although not a formal blazed trail, the Lakeshore Path that encircles Ramapo Lake is a popular walk.  Ramapo Lake is the hub of the trail system in the area, and the loop hike around the lake is accessible from several other trails.  Two thru-trails traverse the forest:  the Hoeferlin Memorial Trail [9.6 miles], honoring the noted trailblazer and map-maker, and the Cannonball Trail [7.7 miles].  Part legendary and part historic, the Cannonball Trail is believed to have been a hidden route laid out during the American Revolution to transport cannonballs from the Pompton Furnace towards Stony Point in New York.  The Skyline Connector provides a shortcut from the Hoeferlin Trail to the Cannonball Trail.  When driving on I-287 at Mile 57 near Oakland you will see the "Cannonball Trail" pedestrian bridge high over the roadway.

The multi-use trails are suitable for hiking, equestrians, mountain biking, and cross-country skiing. Designated uses of the trails are posted at the trailheads and trail crossings.  Fishing is allowed with an appropriate NJ license, but not swimming.

The forest has nine trails, ranging from 1.0 to 9.6 miles, all but one rated as "difficult" by the NJ Parks and Forest Service.  The easiest trail is around Ramapo Lake.

The Indian Rock and Wanaque Ridge Trails are accessible from Back Beach Park in Wanaque.


I-287 to Exit 57, Skyline Drive  to Lower and Upper parking lots; two others south of I-287 in Oakland [Pool Hollow Road] and Pompton Lakes. Also Wolfe Drive in Wanaque for direct access to MacEvoy Trail.

Easy access is from Back Beach Park [100+ parking spaces] and within a mile of a bus stop in Wanaque via the Indian Rock and Cannonball Trails. To reach the Back Beach Park trailhead, take I-287 to Exit 55. Turn right at the bottom of the ramp onto Union Avenue, then turn left at light onto Ringwood Avenue [County 511], following the signs for "Wanaque." Continue for 0.7 mile to the next light, and turn right onto Second Avenue. At a "stop" sign in 0.3 mile, turn left onto the Boulevard. At the next intersection, bear right to continue on Fourth Avenue. Continue straight ahead on Back Beach Road and follow it to its end at a large parking area.  Trailhead on right near entrance.

  • Public Transportation: From Port Authority Bus Terminal, NJ Transit buses #194 and #197 to Wanaque Ave & Cannonball Road - walk to Barbara Drive.  Fourth Avenue on #197 -- walk to Back Beach Park.
Contact Information:NJ DEP, Ramapo Mountain State Forest
Region:Ramapo Mountains

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Virtual Tour of Ramapo Mountain State Forest!

Check out a virtual tour of Ramapo Mountain State Forest on NJUrbanForest.com!


Plenty of Pictures!!