Mount Defiance/Skylands Manor Loop from Shepherd Lake

Ringwood State Park

This loop hike climbs to panoramic viewpoints on Mount Defiance and traverses the historic Skylands Manor area.

41.136617, -74.232903

From the parking area, follow the paved path down to the beach on Shepherd Lake. Continue through the boat launch parking area and past the boat house, with the lake on your left. You will notice the red-on-white blazes of the Ringwood-Ramapo Trail, which you will follow for the first part of the hike. As you continue along the trail, you may hear gunshot sounds in the distance. These come...

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Trip Reports

rate experience
September 21, 2020
Moderate Loop with Easy Parking (Off-Season)
My wife and I enjoyed this loop hike, which we agree is properly rated as moderate. Comparing the previous comments from 2011, I think the hike description has significantly changed since that review. The hike is well described and well blazed throughout. Not too many blowdowns blocking the trail after the August 2020 tropical storm, but some areas where tree tops were torn from their trunks. Since we were hiking on a cool day after the summer season, the passage through Skylands Manor was pleasant and not at all busy. We enjoyed walking the switchbacks of the combination mountain bike trail, which is very well constructed. Mountain bikers were courteous to yield to us, too. Finishing up back at Shepherd Lake with a snack at a picnic table was a nice treat. I also followed an All Trails loop that seemed to match this hike, but it diverged around the 3/4 mark. Distance was accurate.
September 24, 2011
Nice hike with 1 confusing direction & trail in need of TLC
I did this hike today.  The first half of the hike was excellent. The direction that says "Just beyond a greenhouse, you'll reach a road junction at the entrance to Parking Area A. The double blaze seems to indicate a right turn into the parking area, but you should instead bear left and then immediately turn right and follow the park access road downhill," is a bit confusing.  There is no left to bear.  Simply turn right on the road following the parking area.  The white-blazed crossover trail, described as "wet," is now muddy and nearly impassable in places, where large trees have blown onto the trail.  Make sure you've got long pants and possibly a machete to follow cross-over trail as it "follows the route of a buried gas pipeline to paved Morris Road."  High grass and brambles make this a difficult throughway.  Despite the difficulties, I really enjoyed this hike and offer thanks to Daniel for sharing. -- C Lynn
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