Hike Reviews

September 04, 2019
Great hike!
Went with my 10 year old and it was a perfect morning. Easy to follow and well maintained trail I was very impressed. We stayed on the blue and white trail when we got to the intersection rather than the yellow was mentioned above. We didn't even need a map which was great so we could better enjoy the scenery rather than worry we had wandered off trail. I would say this hike is easily closer to 5+ miles, not 4.1. We hike a lot and could just tell but totally worth it. I do not recommend dogs because there are parts where you would have to lift them up a rock face 6+ feet high. Will def do this again with friends and family.
May 17, 2019
Great hike - recommended!
For an update, I just did this trail on May 14, 2019. I highly recommend it in nice weather. It is well marked and well maintained. Unfortunately, it was very cloudy and misty so I was not able to see all of the views, but I enjoyed it very much and look forward to going back in clear weather. It was great exercise, very quiet, surrounded by nature. It took 3 hours as there was no point in stopping to take in the views. However, I expect they would be great as I was still able to see a couple of beautiful, secluded lakes. As it is not a far drive and parking is limited, get there early or go during the week. I had to lift my 45 pound dog a couple of times, but not a big problem.
December 02, 2016
Great bang for buck
Has a little bit of everything - Water, several GREAT views, some scrambling. First bit is a bit steep, then it levels off an is pretty great.
August 11, 2016
What a hike
The descriptions were great, except that there are several places on the hike that required us lifting our dogs up and over or down some tough trail sections.  Two sixty pounds dogs made this a challenge.  We made the hike in four hours with two dogs and had a great time.  Good hike to bring a sandwich and stop midway for a nice long break.
October 26, 2015
Great hike my knees still hate me. :)
I just completed this loop on Sunday.  I did it counter clockwise with a hike out the Appalachian trail to the Prospect Rock view point in NY.  On the way back I noticed yellow blazes and took that trail for some distance before it dawned on me that I hadn't returned to the State Line intersection and continued North on the Appalachian Trail to the start of the Ernest Walker Trail, I was still in NY.  The lack of trail markers is what got me thinking since all of the trails I encountered in the Abram S. Hewitt State Forest were very excellently marked and easy to follow.  Back on track I found my legs getting a bit tired of the ups and downs from before West Pond until Suprise Lake where I finally stopped and drank my water and had a snack.  The trek back down the State Line Trail to my car was on rubber legs to say the least.  The description above is very accurate and the views made all the effort well worth it.  I was goiing to carry a 45 pound pack for training purposes, very glad I chose not to.  A walking stick was OK in parts, but cumbersome on the scramble sections around West Pond.  If you haven't tried this area its a must do!  A big thanks to the volunteers for the great work on the trails and the markings.  Does anyone have a good estimate on the total elevation gained on this loop?
October 15, 2015
Curious:  any cause for concern about unusual levels of bear encounters in this area this Fall?  Given the recent temporary closing of trails in the Ramapo Valley area due to bear activity, and fact that the Highlands has some of the highest concentrations of bears in the region,  I was wondering if this is something one should particularly bear in mind (no pun intended) re this hike this Fall?  I'm considering this for a family outing.
October 04, 2015
Great hike! Well marked
Did the hike today solo.  Streams over the trail had a decent amount of water.  Wet feet and a few near miss slips (would not have been an issue if I'd picked up a walking stick). I agree with a previous post that next time I may do the hike in reverse and have my snack overlooking greenwood lake.  What a view!  Thanks to all who help mark and maintain these trails.  Loved the hike. The only time I had trouble keeping track of markers was on the way down the state line "blue over white" trail just after turning off the AT.  But that trouble was minimal.
May 25, 2015
Great hike! Thanks for the trail marking.
My wife and I took a Memorial Day hike today on this trail. It was a fantastic hike with beautiful vistas, pretty woods and ridges to traverse. We also found the trails to be marked very well. Thank you for the 28 hours of volunteer work repainting the yellow blazes last fall. Moderate to strenuous is definitely the correct rating. This being our first "big" hike of the season, we were quite tired when we returned to the parking lot but completely satisfied by the experience. Our only regret is that we hadn't taken the hike earlier this weekend when the views would have been crystal clear. Today was a bit hazy but still a beautiful warm day. One thing that is a bit confusing is that this hike is also listed on the site as the Surprise Lake Loop Trail. We used those instructions to find the trailhead, which turned out to be inaccurate, as they note that the parking lot is 3.6 miles from the right turn off of Rt. 511. It's actually 2.6 miles from the turn. Based on this, we had a short excursion into Warwick, NY, as we passed the turn off once, but not really a big deal. Perhaps the Surprise Lake Loop description should be removed as it duplicates this one. All in all, a perfect day and great hike. Thanks NYNJTC for maintaining these trails.
April 28, 2015
Surprise Lake Loop
Daniel,  Thanks for the comment. As a white collar worker, with "tenderfeet" hands, I was glad to have gloves for the scrambles, and happy to have a decent pair of hiking boots, too. The folks I met in their way up also seemed to be less than seasoned hikers and I thought it was worth the warning to everyone else to "Be Prepared". Relied on your description so much, that I handed my printed copy off to some youngsters on their way up. I also used your map to help some through-hikers from the Warwick Tpk find their way around West Pond to the AT. Again, kudos to the Volunteer(s) who marked the "Yellow" trail.
April 28, 2015
State Line Trail
As the trail supervisor for the area, I am very happy to hear that you enjoyed your hike. I missed you by one day out on the trail. Had your hike been on Sunday, you would have encountered us on the trail.  We were out planning improvements to trail conditions in the area. Blazing is on this agenda.  Thank you for all of your comments about the blazing. I really do like the look of those bright yellow blazes. Working with the maintainer, we did those last fall. It was two trips and 28 volunteer hours. When scraping off some of the yellow blazes, I found old AT, and Firehouse Trail blazes. It was like being a hiking archeologist! As you also noticed, we take the negative comments seriously as well, and I truly hope it is improved upon by your next hike. Hiking the loop counter-clockwise will give you a uniquely different experience. I also take a side trip to the AT register to sign in on my hike, and look to see if I can see the high point monument. Just a bit further will bring you to Grand View on the AT, making a really spectacular loop.     
April 28, 2015
Surprise Lake Loop Hike
Daniel Chazin
First, I'm glad to hear that you enjoyed this hike and want to do it again.  I can certainly understand why you say this, as it is one of my favorite hikes, too.  And, yes, it is the same hike as the "Surprise Lake Loop" hike that also appears on this website.  We usually post only a single description for each hike, but in this case, there are two descriptions -- this one, which I wrote, and a second one, written by George Petty, the author of Hiking the Jersey Highlands. As to the comment regarding the "hand-scrambling," my description states that there are "many short, steep ups and downs, some of which require you to use your hands as well as your feet."  I think that this is pretty clear.  I have done this hike many times without using gloves, so I do not think that you need to use gloves (except, of course, in the winter).  Yes, there are probably about four separate vertical ridges that need to be traversed toward the end of the hike. As for the marking of the junction of the State Line Trail with the Ernest Walter Trail, the comment to which you refer was posted over two years ago, and the blazing of this junction has been improved since then.  I am glad to hear that this junction was clearly marked, I'm a little surprised to hear that you seem to have missed the junction of the A.T. with the State Line Trail.  I thought that this junction was pretty clearly marked with paint on an open rock.  But I will bring the comment to the attention of the trail supervisor of the area so that corrective action can be taken, if necessary.   Thanks for bringing these matters to our attention!
April 28, 2015
Is the same hike as Surprise Lake Loop ??
Took this hike on 4/25/2015.  A truly beautiful hike even when there are no overlooks or lake views.  Rhododendron tunnel is awesome. I do agree with the commenter who suggests taking it in the reverse direction, saving the view from Outlook Rock for the end of the hike. The description I used said "may require some hand scrambling". It feel it should say "requires several up and down scrambles" and "gloves recommended".  North and South movement, paralleling Greenwood Lake, is Easy hiking and East and West movements, across the ends of West Pond and Surprise Lake are somewhat Strenuous, requiring a lot of vertical scrambling.  I seem to recall four separate ridges of 10-20 feet vertical that must be scrambled up or down in each direction. (Perhaps the moderator can correct me on this.) I disagree with the commenter who said the junction of the State Line "Blue" trail with the Ernest Walter "Yellow" trail was not adequately marked.  It was very clearly marked for me on this day. The Yellow-blazed trail is very well marked throughout its length - kudos to the Volunteer who did that.  The only difficulty was where the State Line "Blue" trail leaves the AT "White" Trail and descends back to the marina parking lot.  I missed the Blue blaze at that intersection and was forced to backtrack briefly. I hope to do this hike again, maybe when the rthododendron are in bloom !
August 04, 2013
First hike
Daniel, thank you very muh for the excellent detailed hike, this was my first hike ever and couldnt be better, i enjoy te outdoors and very active so the rocks were awesome! Felt great pacing up the rocks and the heart rate pumping, couldnt be better, thanks again.   what othe ride would you say i should do next? I mostly look into loops as i have no idea how to get back to the car if it isnt anloop lol, thanks again have a great summer all!
October 08, 2012
  At the intersection with
  At the intersection with the State-Line Trail, the Ernest Walter has two trailhead blazes. One is on a rock, the other is on a tree. That tree has both the begin and end blaze on it.  They can be easily missed as you are walking uphill. This i believe is due to one watching ones footing on the steep grade. I investigated this today and saw many hikers miss the trail markers because of this fact. I rebuilt the rock carin that marks the intersection. Hopefully this will lead to less confustion. 
October 07, 2012
Beautiful area... Needs some upkeep!
I decided to strap on the fishing gear, and head to surprise lake. I started out at the marina, and headed up the state line trail. Armed with a .PDF trail map, and GPS, I headed up the mountain. The area is beautiful, and I sure wish I got to see the views of greenwood lake, and surprise lake. Now I love a good hike, but my main goal was to fish surprise lake. The first leg of the trip was strenuous as expected, but I was hoping it was worth the reward. I finally met up with the "White" trail, which I believe was the AT, and began to head south. I happened to notice that to the south was suprise lake in the distance. I had passed it! No where along my route did I see any "yellow" trail heading southwest. I doubled back almost all the way back to the area where the homes are visable, and started the ascent again. I was cross referencing my GPS with the map the entire time, and that "yellow trail was just not there! I do not know if it was over grown, or is just that subtle and easy to miss with out a marker. My eyes were fixed on the southwest side of the state line trail the entire time, and nothing! Needless to say, after almost 2 hours of that state line trail, I was exhausted, and discouraged. Probably will never go back. Wawayanda needs to clearly mark this trail if it is going to be on the map. Unless the map is completely wrong, which I doubt since I saw surprise lake to my southwest. Too bad I really didn't get to enjoy this area. One of the more tranquil places in all the NJ highlands.
September 08, 2011
Bearfort Trail
This summer I took this trail from Warwick Trp - which also passed by Suprise Lake and overlooked Greenwood Lake. it was truly spectacular - but strenous with the many rock scrambles. A good work out! Here are images from my hike (the pictures of rock walls were part of the trail): http://www.flickr.com/photos/sph001/sets/72157627082919637/show/
July 14, 2009
State Line/Surprise Lake Circular
Aaron Schoenberg
My only comment is that I love to do the hike in reverse direction. It is always nice to dip your feet in the refreshing lake water towards the end of the hike. Also, you save the best view of Greenwood Lake for last. You might feel ho-hum by doing the hike in the suggested direction as the last couple of miles don't offer nothing nearly as exciting as the first two miles. So go counter-clockwise and save the best for last.