Ramapo Valley County Reservation




View Ramapo Valley County Reservation in a larger map

Park Overview:

Newly completed (2016) is a network of five loop trails, all beginning within a 2-mile radius of the Reservation’s parking lot.  One of them, the Vista Loop Trail, includes three panoramic views from Hawk Rock, Cactus Ledge, and Ridge Overlook.   

Trail Uses:Hiking, X-C skiing, Handicapped
Dogs:Dogs on leash
Trail Miles:21 miles
Park Acreage:4290 acres
Buy Trail Map:North Jersey Trails Map
Web Map:Trail map (prepared by the Trail Conference)
Trail Conference volunteers maintain trails in this park.
Park Description:

Trail Alert:  During the summer of 2016, volunteers of the NY-NJ Trail Conference, in cooperation with the Bergen County Department of Parks, designed and completed a project to create a new network of loop trails in the core area of the Reservation, making trails easier to follow and the hiking experience more rewarding.  The project involved re-blazing 6 miles of existing trails and constructing 1.2 miles of new trails. 

  • Click to see a trail map showing the most recent changes specifically identifying the new loop trails.
  • Use the Web Map link above to view a map of the extended trail system (not yet updated to include the loop trails).

 “The Reservation,” located in Mahwah, is a popular Bergen County Park.  Many visitors walk around Scarlet Oak Pond, a former gravel quarry, or climb on a wide, smooth-surface road to MacMillan Reservoir (which once supplied the Crocker Mansion on the far side of Ramapo Valley Road).  It is a favorite of dog owners who exercise their pets.

The Reservation also offers challenging hiking.  Outside the commonly used core area, the parkland has been left in its natural -- mostly hilly -- wild state, forming part of the eastern tier of the Ramapo Mountains.  Several of its trails connect with those in Ringwood State Park to the west, Ramapo Mountain State Forest to the southwest, and Camp Glen Gray to the south, making possible a wide variety of rugged day-long hikes. One example, the Schuber Trail (orange; 4.7 miles + 1.8 miles from parking lot) passes through Camp Glen Gray and continues to its southern terminus at Skyline Drive.  

Ramapo Reservation’s newest feature, the revamped trail system, is detailed below. 

Fishing is permitted with a valid NJ fishing license.  Tent camping is allowed by permit only (201-327-3500).

Trails Overview:

The newly configured loop trails are:

  • Vista Loop (yellow; loop 3.75 miles; trailhead at parking lot; rated “moderate to strenuous”) – Destined to become the Reservation’s signature trail.  Hikers can follow a single set of yellow blazes from the parking lot in a counterclockwise direction (recommended) to view three panoramas: Hawk Rock, Cactus Ledge – a spectacular new addition to the trail system -- and Ridge Overlook.  Additional park features include Scarlet Oak Pond, MacMillan Reservoir, and MacMillan Brook. Rating due to steep ascent up to Hawk Rock and Cactus Ledge plus the descent segment alongside MacMillan Brook
  • Ridge Loop (blue; loop 3.0 miles, total to/from parking lot, 4.25 miles; rated “moderate plus”) – The existing trail to Ridge Overlook and along Monroe Ridge is extended back down to the south end of MacMillan Reservoir to meet Vista Loop Trail. Recommended hiking direction: counterclockwise
  • Marsh Loop (red; loop 1.1 miles, total to/from parking lot, 3.5 miles; rated “moderate”) – Begins opposite MacMillan Reservoir dam and loops to rejoin MacMillan Reservoir at its northern end, at an intersection with the Reservoir Loop Trail near Scout bridge.  Recommended hiking direction: clockwise
  • Reservoir Loop (pink; loop 0.65 mile, total to/from parking lot, 3.0 miles; rated “moderate”) – Existing scenic trail circles most of MacMillan Reservoir.  Hike rated moderate due to rocky patches.  Recommended hiking direction: clockwise
  • Pond Loop (silver; loop 0.9 mile, total to/from parking lot 1.1 miles; rated “easy”) –  Combine with segment of Vista Loop Trail (yellow) to circle Scarlet Oak Pond. Wide, hard-packed sand roadway that can be navigated with strollers.

Related changes:

  • River Trail (orange/green dot, designed “OG” on revised trail map, 0.4 mile) – New trail name, incorporates 0.4 mile segment of former Schuber Trail running southwest along the Ramapo River.
  • Schuber Trail (orange) – now begins 1.8 miles from parking lot.  To reach the trailhead: Vista Loop Trail (yellow) to Ridge Loop Trail (blue) clockwise to the west of MacMillan Reservoir to Red-Silver Trail, proceed just over 0.1 mile further, make sharp left to head south on Schuber Trail.
  • Havemeyer Trail – blazing changed from blue/white to purple to eliminate confusion with blue Ridge Loop Trail.
  • Silver Trail – no longer blazed from parking lot; see Pond Loop Trail
  • Halifax Trail (green) now begins north of Cactus Ledge (along Vista Loop Trail)
  • Yellow/Silver Trail now begins off Marsh Loop Trail, 0.5 mile from MacMillan Reservoir dam.

Beyond the Reservation’s “core” recreation area around Scarlet Oak Pond/ MacMillan Reservoir is an extended network of trails both within the park and connecting to other public lands.  Use Web Map link near top of page.  To view full descriptions of hikes in the Reservation, click here


The park entrance is on Ramapo Valley Road (US 202) in Mahwah, just south of its intersection with Darlington Avenue and about two miles south of NJ 17. Parking is rarely a problem during the week. By mid-day on weekends with good weather, you may have to wait for a parking spot to open.  Hikers are not permitted to park at a nearby church lot on Darlington Avenue or at the small lot at the Trail Conference Darlington Schoolhouse Headquarters.  

  • On weekends, parking is permissible at Ramapo College.  After parking, carefully walk along Ramapo Valley Road (Route 202) to the TC Headquarters; from there, a wide path leads to  the Reservation's main parking lot.

Short Line offers bus service from Port Authority Bus Terminal in New York City to Ramapo College, which is located about a half mile north of the park entrance on Route 202. For schedule information, go to www.shortlinebus.com (use "Mahwah" for destination, click, then select "Ramapo College" ). Only limited service is available on weekends.

Contact Information:Bergen County Department of Parks
Region:Ramapo Mountains

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

Oil Pipeline Planned Through Ramapo Reservation

Please be informed that Pilgrim Pipeline Holdings, LLC, is planning to build an oil pipeline through a portion of the Ramapo Valley County Reservation. In order to understand the impact that this will have on the county park and surrounding areas, I encourage readers to visit the top website produced by entering these search terms with Google:
  • stoppilgrimpipeline
  • pilgrim pipeline full steam ahead
  • pilgrim pipeline holdings llc project description
(Links posted directly within posts tend to be flagged as spam by this website’s content-quality monitor, Mollom.)                     Sincerely,   Paul Neralich   Bergen County Resident 

Pilgrim Pipeline

Councils for many towns affected by the pipeline have passed resolutions opposing it, including Mahwah Township.  Copy/paste:  http://www.northjersey.com/news/mahwah-adopts-pipeline-ban-as-interstate-pilgrim-pipeline-project-looms-1.1501401

Old Stone Cabin Reduced to Rubble

Those hiking to MacMillan Reservoir, using the Schuber Trail (orange) to hike up along MacMillan Brook, will have noticed that the old stone cabin just over the bridge has been reduced to rubble.  The reason, according to County officials: This structure was deemed unsafe. It was a haven for drinking and drug use. It was littered with broken glass, cigarette butts, drug paraphernalia, and had very obscene graffiti. People were also lighting fires which was very dangerous with the very high fire danger we were having.    Too bad about the about the landmark, but the decision seems warranted.

Park closed due to unusual bear activity -- Oct 15, 2015

See article in NorthJersey.com (Bergen Record).  

Park reopened -- Oct 20

Bridge completes Reservoir Loop Trail

Bridge over stream at MacMillan Res

A newly constructed bridge over MacMillan Brook now completes the recently blazed Reservoir Loop Trail (pink).  This was a project of Eagle Scout Peter Brain, with the help of Scouts and adult leaders of Troop 309 (Wyckoff, NJ).

Ramapo Valley County Park Virtual Tour on NJUrbanForest.com!

Check out a virtual hike of Ramapo Valley County Park on NJUrbanForest.com!http://njurbanforest.com/2014/07/01/hiking-ramapo-valley-county-reservat...Plenty of Pictures!

Yellow-Silver Trailhead Relo

The trailhead for the Yellow-Silver Trail in Ramapo County Valley Reservation has been relocated to the beginning of MacMillan Reservoir, and still can be found by following either the Silver or Schuber trail to the reservoir.