From the southern entrance to the parking area, proceed west, crossing the park entrance road. You’ll notice three blue blazes, which mark the start of the blue-blazed Rocky Ridge Trail, on a utility pole to the right of a chained-off gravel road. Continue ahead, but in 30 feet (where the trail splits into two branches) turn left, leaving the gravel road, and follow a blue-blazed footpath...
From the southern entrance to the parking area, proceed west, crossing the park entrance road. You’ll notice three blue blazes, which mark the start of the blue-blazed Rocky Ridge Trail, on a utility pole to the right of a chained-off gravel road. Continue ahead, but in 30 feet (where the trail splits into two branches) turn left, leaving the gravel road, and follow a blue-blazed footpath through a wooded area. The trail goes to the right of a park building and crosses a grassy area, passing under high-voltage power lines. At a yellow gate, follow the blue blazes as the Rocky Ridge Trail descends to reach a junction with the red-on-white-blazed Old Cedar Trail. Turn left onto the Old Cedar Trail, which soon recrosses under the power lines.
After crossing the park entrance road diagonally to the right, the Old Cedar Trail proceeds between the park entrance road on the right and I-287 on the left. It crosses several wet areas on wooden bridges and goes over an old stone wall, then loops back to the park entrance road. Here, on the left, you’ll notice three silver-on-white blazes on a utility pole, marking the start of the Silver Trail.
Turn left and follow the Silver Trail past the fenced-in MEVO Farm, then continue ahead along a woods road. Soon, the trail narrows to a footpath and begins to climb. In a quarter mile, a connecting trail with black-on-silver blazes goes off to the right, but you should continue ahead on the Silver Trail. As the trail approaches the park boundary, it loops around to the right, climbing steadily.
Just before reaching a power line clearing, you’ll come to a T-intersection. Here, the other end of the black-on-silver connecting trail is on the right, but you should turn left to continue on the Silver Trail. The trail immediately crosses under the power lines, reenters the woods, and turns right onto a dirt road. Soon, the road – which is shared with equestrian users – begins a gradual descent.
After passing a small wetland on the right, the Silver Trail turns right, leaving the road. A short distance ahead, the Silver Trail ends at a junction with the red-on-white-blazed Old Cedar Trail. Bear left and continue ahead on the Old Cedar Trail, which climbs gradually.
In 500 feet, the blue-blazed Rocky Ridge Trail briefly joins from the right. When the two trails diverge, proceed straight ahead on the blue-blazed Rocky Ridge Trail, which follows a rocky footpath along the ridgeline, soon beginning a steady, gentle descent. The trail passes several tees and yellow-rimmed metal baskets for disc golf, one of the activities offered in the park.
After passing through an area with many cedar trees, you’ll come to a T-intersection where the Rocky Ridge Trail turns right and descends. This will be your return route, but for now, turn left onto a blue/red-on-white-blazed connector trail. In 250 feet, the blue/red trail turns sharply left. Turn right here, leaving the blue/red trail, and cross the open area to reach an expansive east-facing viewpoint at the top of the ski slope. To the left are the hills of Harriman State Park, and in the center is northern Bergen County, with Mahwah in the foreground. The Palisades can be seen on the horizon, and a portion of the Manhattan skyline may be visible to the right on a clear day. This is a good place to take a break.
When you’re ready to continue, return to the trail on the southwest side of the clearing. Turn left and continue along the red/blue trail, retracing your steps for 250 feet, then proceed straight ahead on the blue-blazed Rocky Ridge Trail, which descends gradually – first on a woods road, then on a footpath. After moving away from the ski skopes, the trail goes by a disc golf tee and joins a wide woods road. It passes the northern terminus of the green-blazed Beeches Trail, then descends through the woods on a footpath.
At the base of the descent, the blue-blazed Rocky Ridge Trail turns right onto a gravel road, joining the orange-blazed Hemlock Trail. The red-on-white-blazed Old Cedar Trail soon crosses, and the Hemlock Trail leaves to the left, but you should continue ahead on the Rocky Ridge Trail to its terminus at the park entrance road. The parking area where the hike began is just ahead.Publication: Submitted by Daniel Chazin on 08/04/2016 updated/verified on 02/08/2017
This loop hike climbs to the summit of Campgaw Mountain, with a panoramic view of northern Bergen County.
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.