Beautiful hike with an absolutely breathtaking overlook. The terrain was pretty easy. Towards the end we made our own trail down the side of the mountain. Definitely something you can go down but I would not suggest trying to go up that way.
Here is the tricky thing about this trail. If you use the GPS from this app it will take you down Split Rock Road, which has no/prohibits parking. The trail from this road does enter you on the White Dot trail. This trail is long and scenic, great woodland views and a few running creeks at the right times. Ultimately this trail from this entrance will bring you to the Hawk Watch point. However, if you are trying to find the Bat Cave or the Cemetery, this is not where you want to be. The Bat Cave and the Cemetery are off of "Lower Hibernia Road" in Rockaway. Just enter "Lower Hibernia Road" in your GPS. You can't miss the Wildcat Ridge parking lot marked by a large brown sign. Enter the trail and follow the White Dot trail. Once on the trail, the bat cave will be off to the right up a small hill. Can't miss it. The Cemetary is up a little further while on the White Dot trail. Enjoy!
Started out at the south end of the Four Birds Trail (White Trail) and hiked all the way up to the Hawkwatch overlook, an approximate distance of 2.5 miles. Took a little over an hour or so. Lots of up hill climbing, big boulders to go around, and nice streams and ponds every now and then. Hawkwatch overlook was nice. Saw a few people there looking for hawks and hanging out. Continued north for about another mile on Four Birds Trail (White Trail) and turned west onto the Red Trail. Hiked it for about another mile or so and turned back down south once we got to the Orange Trail which took us back to the south end of the Four Birds Trail. Approximate total distance 6 miles total. Make sure to bring a map if you decide to follow this path as Orange Trail is not marked going south (it is, however, marked going towards the Hawkwatch.
There's an abandoned cemetery in the woods!!! Need I say more? This trails a 5 out of 5! Turn right at all the little dirt paths you see and look for the cemetery on the right. It's less then 3 miles in. Compass coordinates to entrance of cemetery (Lat, Long) 40.55'11"N, 74.33'44"W
May 10, 2013
Area is under construction...stay away from trail. A simple walk by the reservoir satisfied the need for beauty. Trail is poorly marked and terrain is rocky making the trail unappealing. Skip trail and just walk near reservoir. Maybe someone improve trail after construction is over. A local worker said the road would be "closed for a year" at some point soon.
The trail was clean for the most part, the terrain was enjoyable, and the view from the Hawk Watch is incredible. Great expanse of New Jersey and the NYC skyline. Whoever blazed the trail was definitely having an off day though. Turn markers where there is no need (even if the trail were covered in leaves) and a lack of turn markers where there should be (even if the trail is clean). All in all definitely a great hike, but I wouldn't trust the maps provided there and I would make sure to bring a gps / natgeo map / somebody who has done the hike. Several unmarked trails / roads don't help. I would go again though. Bring a lunch! You'll want to stay at the top a while.
Part of this is a loop, but part of it is an out and back. I know because I helped in its establishment, and led many interpretive hikes here. Using the trail guide map, this is a great place to learn about early iron mining, see some nice scenery, and even see an oddity or two - like the Pinto shaft, wherein trail developers found an old Ford Pinto, which has been removed. The loop is easy, the out and back is moderate. Dogs love walking here.
This is a nice, moderate trail that is conducive even to those who don't hike much or at all - as long as they take their time. The trailhead is in the midst of the industrial ruins left by the 18th-20th century Hibernia iron mines, crosses the mine cut, and ends and a very nice vista. If you pick the right time of year, you can view the raptor migrations, and you may even get the assistance of one of the people who count and identify the types of hawks. Even outside of migrations, raptors love to cruise the thermals here. If possible, find someone to explain/interpret the mining ruins/remnants. These were major and historical mines.