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Ramapo Mountain State Forest protects 4,269 acres in the mountainous region of Northern New Jersey. It is in both Passaic and Bergen Counties and is a separate park from the adjacent Ramapo County Reservation.
There is a well-marked network of trails here. I met up with a local hiking group in the upper lot on Skyline Drive. In my previous visit to this park, I’d begun at the lower lot.
We followed the yellow Hoeferlin Trail which was a rocky descent from Skyline Drive to Ramapo Lake. Ramapo Lake is a man-made lake. It is 120 acres now and began as a 25-acre pond.
In the late 1800s, it was known as Rotten Poel. Jacob Rogers, a locomotive engineer, bought this land in the late 1800s. He dammed the pond’s tributary, creating the larger lake.
We continued around the lake on the blue MacEvoy Trail. We passed a house with a garden meant to restore native vegetation. Lily pads were blooming on the lake.
Continuing around the lake we continued onto the white trail and our ascent to the Van Slyke Castle.
Ramapo State Forest Posts:
- Ramapo Mountain State Forest
- Ramapo Lake
- Van Slyke Castle
Location: Skyline Drive, Wanaque, NJ 07465
Designation: NJ State Forest
Date designated or established: 1976
Date of my visit: 9/1/2019