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. A map is available at www.nynjtc.org/map/rockleigh-woods-lamont-reserve-trail-map.
From the parking area, follow a handicapped-accessible path past a playground to a kiosk, which marks the start of the blue-blazed Hutcheon Trail. Follow this trail into the woods. In a short distance, you'll notice two sets of triple yellow blazes. These mark the start of the yellow-blazed Sneden-Haring-Lamont Trail. Continue ahead, now following both yellow and blue blazes.
When the two trails diverge, turn left to continue on the yellow trail, which immediately crosses a wet area on rocks and begins to climb along an old woods road. After crossing a brook on rocks, the road becomes deeply eroded, and the trail has been relocated to a parallel route.
After rejoining the old road, the yellow trail passes the upper end of the red-on-white-blazed Roaring Ravine Trail and crosses Roaring Brook on rocks. Just beyond, at a junction with the white-blazed Lamont Rock Trail, follow the yellow trail as it turns right, leaving the road. The white and yellow trails are coaligned for about 50 feet. When the trails diverge, bear left to continue along the white trail, which follows a footpath through the woods, climbing gradually. Near the crest of the rise, the white trail turns sharply right at a T-intersection 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 rather steeply on a footpath to the highest point in the preserve (440 feet), from where there is a northeast-facing view through the trees. Here, the trails turn left and begin to descend. Just before passing Lamont Rock (a huge boulder) on the right, the Red Circle Trail leaves to the left, but you should bear right and continue to follow the white trail, which descends steadily.
Further down the hill, the white trail passes between two old stone cisterns. Just beyond the second cistern, the trail turns sharply right and descends to a T-intersection. Here, the white trail turns right, but you should turn left onto the yellow-blazed Sneden-Haring-Lamont Trail, which soon approaches the southern boundary of the sanctuary. The yellow trail now curves to the right and descends gradually, crossing a brook along the way. In a short distance, it bears right again and begins to head north.
The yellow trail parallels the sanctuary's boundary, crossing several small brooks on rocks. When it reaches the wider Roaring Brook, it turns right, parallels the brook for a short distance, then turns left and crosses the brook on rocks. The blue trail briefly joins here, but you should continue ahead on the yellow trail, which makes several turns. When the yellow trail ends at a triple blaze, turn left and follow the blue trail back to the parking area where the hike began.
To view a photo collection for this hike, click here.Publication: Submitted by Daniel Chazin on 12/09/2010 updated/verified on 05/25/2021
This loop hike climbs to the highest point in the sanctuary, passing the interesting Lamont Rock and two old stone cisterns on the way down.
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.