From the northern end of the parking area, cross to the east side of Skyline Drive and find a triple purple-on-white blaze, which marks the start of the Tamarack Loop, on a telephone pole. Turn right and follow the Tamarack Loop south for 200 feet along Skyline Drive, then turn left and enter the woods. Continue along the trail as it winds downhill on a rocky footpath and then ascends from a...
From the northern end of the parking area, cross to the east side of Skyline Drive and find a triple purple-on-white blaze, which marks the start of the Tamarack Loop, on a telephone pole. Turn right and follow the Tamarack Loop south for 200 feet along Skyline Drive, then turn left and enter the woods. Continue along the trail as it winds downhill on a rocky footpath and then ascends from a shallow ravine. In half a mile, the trail turns right onto a woods road, which almost immediately curves to the left. A short distance beyond, the trail turns left, leaving the woods road, and heads north on a footpath.
Soon, the Tamarack Loop reaches Todd Lake. The trail follows along the west shore of the lake, passing a rock ledge at lake level with a view over the lake (covered in the summer with water lilies). It then climbs away from the lake, descends a little, and bears left, passing cliffs on the right. Just ahead, the Tamarack Loop turns left, but you should continue straight ahead, now following the Yellow Trail (blazed with yellow diamonds), which begins here.
After climbing steeply to a rock outcrop near the north end of the lake (from which a municipal water tower is visible to the right), the Yellow Trail begins a steady, rather steep descent to a valley, where it crosses two streams (with attractive cascades when the water is high). Just beyond, the trail joins an old woods road and begins to ascend.
In another 500 feet, follow the Yellow Trail as it turns left, leaving the woods road, and ascends the hillside to the west, with a stone wall to the right. It soon bears right and heads north, continuing to climb steadily. The trail eventually levels off on a shoulder of the ridge, with views through the trees of Campgaw Mountain to the east.
About two miles from the start of the hike, continue on the Yellow Trail as it joins the white-blazed Millstone Trail. Just beyond the junction, several abandoned millstones in various stages of completion may be seen to the left of the trail. This area was once the site of a millstone quarry, and the stones that you see were either damaged during quarrying or abandoned when the quarry operation shut down. After crossing an old woods road (marked by a sign "HT12"), the two trails pass a millstone in nearly perfect condition 25 feet to the right.
Continuing to descend, the trails cross another woods road, pass an old stone wall (which marked the boundary of Camp Glen Gray), and cross paved Midvale Mountain Road. They bear left into the woods and head west, parallel to Fox Brook, then turn right to cross two branches of the brook on footbridges. The trails now begin to climb, reaching a junction in a level area. Here, the Millstone Trail leaves to the left, but you should turn right, staying on the Yellow Trail. The trail briefly follows an old woods road, then turns left at a huge, flat-sided boulder and heads north, climbing steadily through a wooded valley.
After reaching the crest of the rise, the trail descends briefly and continues along a level woods road. It crosses a stream on a wooden footbridge and, just beyond, passes the ruins of some old Scout buildings. Just ahead, it turns right onto a wide woods road (briefly joining the route of the Yellow-Silver Trail). In 100 feet, it turns left and begins to ascend, soon passing a stone foundation on a rock ledge.
At the high point of the ridge (996 feet), reached a little over three miles from the start, you'll come to an expansive viewpoint over northern Bergen County from a rock outcrop a short distance to the right of the trail. On a clear day, you can see the Manhattan skyline on the horizon to the right. You've now gone a little more than halfway, and this is a good place to stop and take a break.
After enjoying the panoramic view, return to the trail and find a wooden post with a sign "HT2." Continue straight ahead (heading west), now following the orange blazes of the Schuber Trail. (Do not turn right onto the joint Schuber/Yellow Trail, which descends to the north.) Soon, the trail joins a grassy woods road. About half a mile from the viewpoint, the Yellow-Silver Trail begins on the left, but you should continue along the Schuber Trail as it turns right onto another woods road and crosses a wooden bridge over the outlet of Sanders Pond, to the right of the trail. After climbing over a knoll, the Schuber Trail descends to cross the historic Cannonball Road. It continues straight ahead on a footpath, descending to North Brook, where it turns left and joins the Old Guard Trail, blazed with a green tulip leaf on a white background.
After climbing to a rock outcrop overlooking the brook, the trails skirt a wet area and reach the Tindall Cabin. The trails skirt the cabin and reach a footbridge over North Brook. Here, the Old Guard Trail proceeds ahead, but you should turn right to follow the Schuber Trail, which crosses the footbridge and bears left, passing stone foundations of the former Sanders Farm.
After skirting a campsite (the former camp archery range) to the left, the Schuber Trail joins Mary Post Road. It passes McMullen Field (formerly the camp's rifle range) on the right and gradually curves to the left, going past more cabins and campsites at Camp Glen Gray (for more information about the camp, consult www.glengray.org).
Soon, the trail reaches the shore of Lake Vreeland. After crossing a culvert over South Brook, with the lake on the left and a wet area on the right, the Schuber Trail turns right, leaving the lake shore. Here, the white-blazed Millstone Trail joins. Just ahead, at a fork by the Explorer Cabin, the two trails diverge. The Millstone Trail takes the right fork, but you should continue to follow the orange blazes of Schuber Trail, which bears left and climbs on a rocky trailway.
In another quarter of a mile, you'll cross the white-blazed Millstone Trail. Soon, the Schuber Trail crosses a stream on rocks and continues over rolling terrain. After crossing Tamarack Brook on a wooden footbridge, the Schuber Trail ends at a junction with the purple-on-white-blazed Tamarack Loop. Continue ahead (uphill), now following purple-on-white blazes. After passing the ruins of the former rifle range of Camp Tamarack, the trail climbs to the southwest on a winding footpath and ends at Skyline Drive, opposite the large upper parking area where the hike began.Publication: Submitted by Daniel Chazin on 10/16/2003 updated/verified on 12/30/2014
This loop hike passes interesting and historic millstones and climbs to a panoramic viewpoint over Bergen County and the New York City skyline.
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.