This hike traverses two preserved tracts on the western slope of the Palisades – the 84-acre Rockleigh Woods Sanctuary, located in the Borough of Rockleigh, which purchased it in 1975, and the 134-acre Lamont Reserve, located in the Borough of Alpine, and purchased jointly by the County of Bergen, the Borough of Alpine and the Borough of Rockleigh in 1996. Both tracts were formerly part of...
This hike traverses two preserved tracts on the western slope of the Palisades – the 84-acre Rockleigh Woods Sanctuary, located in the Borough of Rockleigh, which purchased it in 1975, and the 134-acre Lamont Reserve, located in the Borough of Alpine, and purchased jointly by the County of Bergen, the Borough of Alpine and the Borough of Rockleigh in 1996. Both tracts were formerly part of Camp Alpine of the Greater New York Councils, Boy Scouts of America.
From the parking area, follow a handicapped-accessible path to a playground, where a kiosk marks the start of the Hutcheon Trail. Follow this blue-blazed trail past a “Green Acres” sign into the woods.
In a short distance, you’ll notice a triple yellow blaze on a tree to the right. Turn right and follow the yellow-blazed Sneden-Haring Trail, which heads south, then turns right at a T-intersection and crosses a brook on a culvert. To the right is the site of the Sneden Ice Pond (now overgrown with vegetation). The trail now turns left and continues to head sout
As the trail approaches the wide Roaring Brook, the blue-blazed Hutcheon Trail joins from the left, and both trails cross the brook on rocks. On the other side, proceed ahead, following the blue blazes, which parallel the brook. Soon, you’ll notice a triple-orange blaze, which marks the start of the Brookside Trail, on a tree to the left. Turn left and follow this trail, which continues to parallel the scenic Roaring Brook, with views of the brook below (when the water is high, there are attractive cascades in the brook).
After climbing along the brook for a quarter mile, the Brook Connector Trail ends at a junction with the white-blazed Lamont Rock Trail. Turn right onto this trail, which descends briefly, then bears left, crosses an old, eroded woods road and continues to descend through an area with many trees toppled during Hurricane Sandy. After descending some more, the Lamont Rock Trail is joined by the blue-blazed Hutcheon Trail.
Just ahead, the Hutcheon Trail ends, and the yellow-blazed Sneden-Haring-Lamont Trail joins from the right. In 50 feet, where the two trails diverge, turn left and continue to follow the white blazes.
The Lamont Rock Trail now climbs steadily, soon passing two old stone cisterns. It continues to climb to Lamont Rock (a huge boulder), on the left. Just beyond, the white trail turns left and is joined by the Red Circle Trail of Camp Alpine, Greater New York Councils, Boy Scouts of America. Follow the joint white and red trails as they climb very gently to the highest point in the preserve (480 feet), from where the Hudson River can be seen through the trees, especially during leaf-off season.
The joint trails now begin to descend. Soon, the Red Circle Trail leaves to the right, but you should turn left and continue along the white-blazed Lamont Rock Trail. In 0.2 mile, the yellow-blazed Sneden-Haring-Lamont Trail joins from the left.
A short distance beyond, where the two trails diverge, bear right and follow the yellow-blazed trail along a wide woods road, crossing Roaring Brook on rocks. Just beyond, turn left onto the red-blazed Roaring Brook Trail and follow it as it descends along the north side of the brook. At the base of the descent, the Roaring Brook Trail ends at a junction with the blue-blazed Hutcheon Trail. Turn right onto the blue-blazed trail, which descends gradually, crossing a stone bridge over a brook, and follow it back to the parking area where the hike began.Publication: Submitted by Daniel Chazin on 12/13/2012 updated/verified on 12/04/2017
Looping around this preserve, on the western slope of the Palisades, this hike climbs a scenic ravine and passes two old stone cisterns and the historic Lamont Rock.
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.