From the southern end of the parking area, follow the blue blazes of the MacEvoy Trail. The trail passes stone ruins, turns right onto a rocky woods road, and heads uphill to Ramapo Lake. For much of the way, it parallels a brook with several cascades (particularly attractive after heavy rains). About half a mile from the start, the white-blazed...
From the southern end of the parking area, follow the blue blazes of the MacEvoy Trail. The trail passes stone ruins, turns right onto a rocky woods road, and heads uphill to Ramapo Lake. For much of the way, it parallels a brook with several cascades (particularly attractive after heavy rains). About half a mile from the start, the white-blazed Todd Trail begins to the right, and the MacEvoy Trail crosses a tributary stream. Continue along the blue-blazed trail, which climbs more gradually.
Soon, the yellow-blazed Hoeferlin Trail joins from the right. A short distance beyond, the lake comes into view, and the trail turns left and descends to reach a paved estate road. Turn left and follow the road downhill to the dam. Here, the blue blazes turn right, but you should proceed ahead across the dam, continuing to follow the yellow-blazed Hoeferlin Trail.
About 100 feet beyond the southern end of the dam, a sign and three red blazes mark the start of the red-blazed Lookout Trail. Turn left onto the Lookout Trail, which climbs briefly, then dips down to parallel a stream (the other side of the stream that you followed on the way up to the lake). Soon, it turns away from the stream and begins a steady climb for about a quarter of a mile. At the crest of the rise, the trail passes a large rock ledge to the left, which affords a limited east-facing view. It then descends slightly, and soon turns sharply right.
The red trail continues at about the same elevation, with several short but steep ups and downs, for two-thirds of a mile. Then, after passing cliffs on the right and climbing a little, you’ll reach a junction with the yellow-blazed Hoeferlin Trail. Turn left at this junction and follow the yellow trail. Just ahead is a large rock expanse, with views to the west through the pines. The Wyanokies are on the horizon.
The Hoeferlin Trail now begins a steady descent, steep in places. On the way down, it passes a south-facing viewpoint over Pompton Lake. After a short climb, the trail reaches a panoramic viewpoint from a large open rock, with High Mountain visible to the south beyond I-287.
The trail now descends to cross a stream, then climbs to a junction with an old paved estate road. It turns right and follows the road, which soon becomes surfaced with gravel. In about 500 feet, the yellow blazes turn left, leaving the road, and reenter the woods on a footpath. Soon after passing a huge glacial erratic, the trail begins a steady descent, first steeply, then more gradually.
At the base of the descent, the Hoeferlin Trail reaches a T-intersection with a woods road. Here, the yellow blazes turn left, but you should turn right, now following the Cannonball Trail, marked with white-"C"-on-red blazes. After crossing a stream, the trail ascends a rocky, eroded stretch of the road. At the next T-intersection, the inverted-red-triangle-on-white-blazed Indian Rock Trail begins on the left, but you should turn right to continue on the Cannonball Trail.
After climbing a little more, follow the white-"C"-on-red blazes as they turn right onto a level road that was once paved, then turn left onto a gravel road that circles Ramapo Lake. This nearly level gravel road is a welcome contrast to the rocky paths that you have followed for much of the way.
The trail heads north, paralleling the western shore of Ramapo Lake, but remaining some distance from the water. In another half a mile, you’ll pass a building on the hillside to the left that was formerly used as a ranger station. A short distance beyond, a rock ledge to the right offers a pleasant view of the lake.
Soon, another gravel road joins from the left. Follow the road ahead, crossing a stone causeway that isolates a quiet pond on the left from the main body of the lake. Next, you’ll reach another Y-intersection. Here, the Cannonball Trail turns left onto an intersecting gravel road, but you should bear right and continue along the lakeshore road, now unmarked. Bear left at the next fork and follow a winding section of the lakeshore road. After passing a small, abandoned stone building along the lake shore on the right, you’ll reach another intersection. Here, you should bear right, joining the blue-blazed MacEvoy Trail.
Follow the blue-blazed gravel road that runs close to the shore along the northern end of the lake, passing a private residence on a ledge to the left. When you return to the northern end of the dam, bear left, uphill, on the road, then follow the blue blazes as they turn right, reentering the woods. Continue along the blue-blazed trail back to the parking area where you started the hike.Publication: Submitted by Daniel Chazin on 01/14/2005 updated/verified on 09/23/2018
This hike climbs to several panoramic viewpoints in the Ramapo Mountains and loops around scenic Ramapo Lake.
Whether you are going for a day hike or backpacking overnight, it is good practice to carry what we call The Hiking Essentials. These essentials will help you enjoy your outing more and will provide basic safety gear if needed. There may also be more essentials, depending on the season and your needs.
Hiking Shoes or Boots
Water - Two quarts per person is recommended in every season. Keep in mind that fluid loss is heightened in winter as well as summer. Don't put yourself in the position of having to end your hike early because you have run out of water.
Map - Know where you are and where you are going. Many of our hiking areas feature interconnecting network of trails. Use a waterproof/tear-resistant Tyvek Trail Conference map if available or enclose your map in a Ziplock plastic bag. If you have a mobile device, download Avenza’s free PDF Maps app and grab some GPS-enhanced Trail Conference maps (a backup Tyvek or paper version of the map is good to have just in case your batteries die or you don't have service). Check out some map-reading basics here.
Food - Snacks/lunch will keep you going as you burn energy walking or climbing. Nuts, seeds, and chocolate are favorites on the trail.
Sunscreen and insect repellent
Rain Gear and Extra Clothing - Rain happens. So does cold. Be prepared for changing weather. Avoid cotton--it traps water against your skin and is slow to dry. If you are wearing wet cotton and must return to your starting point, you risk getting chills that may lead to a dangerous hypothermia. Choose synthetic shirts, sweaters and/or vests and dress in layers for easy on and off.
Compass - A simple compass is all you need to orient you and your map to magnetic north.
Light - A flashlight or small, lightweight headlamp will be welcome gear if you find yourself still on the trail when darkness falls. Check the batteries before you start out and have extras in your pack.
First Aid Kit - Keep it simple, compact, and weatherproof. Know how to use the basic components.
Firestarter and Matches - In an emergency, you may need to keep yourself or someone else warm until help arrives. A firestarter (this could be as simple as leftover birthday candles that are kept inside a waterproof container) and matches (again, make sure to keep them in a waterproof container) could save a life.
Knife or Multi-tool - You may need to cut a piece of moleskin to put over a blister, repair a piece of broken equipment, or solve some other unexpected problem.
Emergency Numbers - Know the emergency numbers for the area you're going to and realize that in many locations--especially mountainous ones, your phone will not get reception.
Common Sense - Pay attention to your environment, your energy, and the condition of your companions. Has the weather turned rainy? Is daylight fading? Did you drink all your water? Did your companion fail to bring rain gear? Are you getting tired? Keep in mind that until you turn around you are (typically) only half-way to completing your hike--you must still get back to where you started from! (Exceptions are loop hikes.)
Check the weather forecast before you head out. Know the rules and regulations of the area.
The Leave No Trace Seven Principles
- Know the regulations and special concerns for the area you'll visit.
- Prepare for extreme weather, hazards, and emergencies.
- Schedule your trip to avoid times of high use.
- Visit in small groups when possible. Consider splitting larger groups into smaller groups.
- Repackage food to minimize waste.
- Use a map and compass to eliminate the use of marking paint, rock cairns or flagging.
- Durable surfaces include established trails and campsites, rock, gravel, dry grasses or snow.
- Protect riparian areas by camping at least 200 feet from lakes and streams.
- Good campsites are found, not made. Altering a site is not necessary.
- In popular areas:
- Concentrate use on existing trails and campsites.
- Walk single file in the middle of the trail, even when wet or muddy.
- Keep campsites small. Focus activity in areas where vegetation is absent.
- In pristine areas:
- Disperse use to prevent the creation of campsites and trails.
- Avoid places where impacts are just beginning.
- Pack it in, pack it out. Inspect your campsite and rest areas for trash or spilled foods. Pack out all trash, leftover food and litter.
- Deposit solid human waste in catholes dug 6 to 8 inches deep, at least 200 feet from water, camp and trails. Cover and disguise the cathole when finished.
- Pack out toilet paper and hygiene products.
- To wash yourself or your dishes, carry water 200 feet away from streams or lakes and use small amounts of biodegradable soap. Scatter strained dishwater.
- Preserve the past: examine, but do not touch cultural or historic structures and artifacts.
- Leave rocks, plants and other natural objects as you find them.
- Avoid introducing or transporting non-native species.
- Do not build structures, furniture, or dig trenches.
- Campfires can cause lasting impacts to the backcountry. Use a lightweight stove for cooking and enjoy a candle lantern for light.
- Where fires are permitted, use established fire rings, fire pans, or mound fires.
- Keep fires small. Only use sticks from the ground that can be broken by hand.
- Burn all wood and coals to ash, put out campfires completely, then scatter cool ashes.
- Observe wildlife from a distance. Do not follow or approach them.
- Never feed animals. Feeding wildlife damages their health, alters natural behaviors, and exposes them to predators and other dangers.
- Protect wildlife and your food by storing rations and trash securely.
- Control pets at all times, or leave them at home.
- Avoid wildlife during sensitive times: mating, nesting, raising young, or winter.
- Respect other visitors and protect the quality of their experience.
- Be courteous. Yield to other users on the trail.
- Step to the downhill side of the trail when encountering pack stock.
- Take breaks and camp away from trails and other visitors.
- Let nature's sounds prevail. Avoid loud voices and noises.
The Trail Conference is a 2015 Leave No Trace partner.
(c) Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics: www.LNT.org.