"The Ramapo Reservation," located in Mahwah, is a 3,313-acre Bergen County Park. Challenging hiking is possible, but areas closest to the parking lot are primarily used for strolling, especially with one or more dogs. Most visitors walk around Scarlet Oak Pond, a former gravel quarry, or climb on a wide, smooth-surface road to MacMillan Reservoir (which once supplied the Crocker Mansion on the far side of Ramapo Valley Road). If you come at off-peak times, occasionally you may see Giants football players jogging up to the Reservoir during training season. A short but strenuous hike to Hawk Rock via the Halifax Trail (green blaze) results in a picture-book panorama of suburban New Jersey, including Ramapo College. For the hiker, the Reservation's trails connect with those in Ringwood State Park to the west, Ramapo Mountain State Forest to the southwest, and Camp Glen Gray to the south, making possible a wide variety of rugged day-long hikes. Outside of the commonly used strolling areas, the Reservation has been left in its natural wild state, and is mostly hilly, forming part of the eastern tier of the Ramapos.
This is my opinion and each person that hikes is at their own level. For my hike I would see this as an intermediate hike rather than the hard classification it is given. There is some minor rock scrambling but by no means difficult. And the long walks between the more challenging rises and descents break up the hike which is why I rate it more of an intermediate than hard. At the tops of hikes the hikes the view is very nice and I hiked on a perfectly clear sunny day 1/1/2017) which enhances the view. Pay close attention to the trail blazes as there are many trails on this overall hike. I have started exploring this part of NY state for hiking and will continue.
There is so much variety in terms of difficulty and distance, single track and country road. It is true that the very beginning is touristy but once you get deep enough into the woods you don't see many people. Very good for trail running and training steep inclines.
This place has a trail for every level. We started at the orange/blue to the yellow and stopped at the reservoir, then we took the pink 3/4 way around the reservoir and made a left onto the yellow which we had a little trouble finding, eventually we got on track with help from other hikers having the same problem, we continued on yellow to Ridge overlook the onto blue and back to our starting point. 4.5 miles 2.5 hrs. Good challenge and good workout. Bring snacks and water and enjoy this great place.
Jennifer L. on Ramapo Reservation Trail
Dog friendly, beautiful trails and serene views. My happy place :)