Explore Lesser-Traveled Trails in Norvin Green and Long Pond Ironworks
Trail Conference volunteers have reblazed trails in Norvin Green State Forest and Long Pond Ironworks State Park to create a more user-friendly "loop trail" system.
For many hikers in our region, Norvin Green State Forest likely brings to mind the spectacular views of Wyanokie High Point, shouting for echoes at Yoo-Hoo Point, and the familiar teal blaze of the Highlands Trail. On a less uplifting note, it might also draw recollections of dangerous parking situations along curving Otter Hole Road, crowded trails, and the New Weis Center lot straining under the burden of weekend hikers.
Far fewer people have experienced the joys that the northern section of Norvin Green has to offer. For those willing to travel a few minutes north, the park features dramatic Manaticut Point, serene Lake Sonoma, and—one of my favorite views in New Jersey—the Highlands Trail overlooking the full horseshoe of Monksville Reservoir. Perhaps most importantly, the northern part of the State Forest offers a welcome respite from the often-hectic trails farther south. If you’re looking for a hike away from crowds, this is the place for you.
In order to welcome more people to this underutilized trail network, the Trail Conference has been working to reblaze trails in Norvin Green State Forest and Long Pond Ironworks State Park to create a more user-friendly “loop trail” system. Following the successful reduction in lost hikers since reblazing portions of Ramapo Valley County Reservation last year, the Trail Conference worked with New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) staff to implement similar loop trail changes in these parks. Only blaze colors were changed—no new trails were constructed—and long-distance trails such as the Highlands Trail have remained untouched. The hope is that these changes will enable casual hikers to comfortably enjoy this beautiful area with less confusion.
Why Try a New Trail
As hikers, many of us seek solitude in nature and feel an obligation to tread lightly on the land. We encourage you to take advantage of these trail improvements to both escape the packed lots of other, better-known spots and ensure that you’re not contributing to the overuse issue. By hiking less popular trails, you won’t just enjoy a “private” hike; you’ll also help to spread wear and tear in a way that doesn’t contribute to erosion and trail damage.
Though this initial reblazing project is complete, we still have a need for maintainers to help keep these and other trails in the area in top condition. If you’re looking for a trail to adopt as your own, email [email protected].
The completely revised, 12th edition of the North Jersey Trails map set includes the blazing changes that have taken place in Norvin Green and Long Pond Ironworks.