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great local hike especially if you live in NYC (and have a car). great workout, lovely views and lots of seating areas on flats boulders. I initially missed the stairs on right that take you into the Giant Stairs area (through a fence) so keep an eye out as there are trails that lead elsewhere. very well blazed. not scary or too technical at all and good sneakers were sufficient on a sunny day. took 3.5 hours with a half hour lunch break.

It wasn’t to hard but it let me know that Mother Nature can do wonders. Loved it.

trail running
6 days ago

had a lot of fun running this trail after a significant downpour. trails were largely loose rock and because of the rain more streams then paths. saw a guy halfway with video of a black bear that he had seen a bit earlier along the trail, so be aware of your surroundings and consider hiking with a bell to avoid surprises.

Great hike but very strenuous. Make sure you’re in shape for this one!

Long hike- prepare for about 45 minutes with a real rough terrain. Well worth it once you get to the top!

Nice hike. Not very steep but surely gets your heartrate up at times. Both Red dot and Blue dot are very well marked. The blue dot trail is gradual and longer but worth the effort while coming down with the jumpin pool and waterfall. Red dot trail means business right at the outset till the top. The views from the top are lovely with the Water gap below and Mount Minsy on the opposite side in PA. If lucky can spot some Bald eagles soaring above.

Amazing and exhausting trail. Completely the whole loop and sweated a good 5lbs. Next time I'll be better prepared with more water and hiking gloves

Similar to the other posts, this trail has everything. It gets crowded on the red dot trail and at Sunfish Pond, but other than that the trail is serene. I hiked the trail with both my dogs and took a long break at Sunfish Pond to recover. Camping is not allowed on Sunfish Pond, but there are two designated camping spots near it. If it's full, you can camp near the Appalachian Trail. I saw a few people camping there in the morning. Also keep your eyes out for rattlesnakes. I saw a very large one on the way back to the trailhead curled up in the middle of the trail!

road biking
9 days ago

Great for biking!!

Great trail for a short but satisfying hike - fully alone with nature

Both scenic and challenging. Greenery and trees along the NJ/NY border. Challenging rock climb & descents at “The Giant Stairs.” Bring a backpack: pack water & snacks. Don’t be a litter bug :)

One of my favorite hikes within 2 hrs of NYC. Beautiful, peaceful, varied terrain, at times challenging (although never daunting), good views of Greenwood Lake, and a nice visit to Surprise Lake. You will see other hikers but the trail is just difficult enough that there are unlikely to be major crowds, and most of your time on the path will be in isolation unless walking directly in front of or behind another group. The majority of people are up in the north end of the park closer to the lake, since there is another entrance up there for the shorter Surprise Lake Loop.

If doing the whole route starting from the south end, side of the road parking available near intersection of Warwick Turnpike and White Rd. Path can be done clockwise or counter-clockwise. Clockwise (walking west and then north on the white trail to start) puts the steepest part of the hike first, and you go uphill for it. Counterclockwise (keep right and go north on orange trail) leaves steepest part for the end and is downhill. I'd recommend Clockwise.

The path of the loop as currently marked on the alltrails website is a little confusing, because it appears to run north/south in between Surprise Lake and West Pond. However if you look at the maps available at the trailheads (as well the map available on alltrails for the Surprise Lake Loop) you will see that the yellow trail actually runs around outside of and around West Pond. So either the map listed here is representing some shortcut trail that I couldn't find and is not listed on the official park map, or the actual route is a much wider loop at the top and I would guess the whole trail is closer to 7.25 miles instead of the 6.6 listed. Maybe someone who is very familiar with this park can comment and clarify.

Trail is for the most part well marked and maintained. Only tricky part is if going counter clockwise and turning onto yellow path up north near the NJ/NY state line, the turn on to the yellow was only marked on the ground instead of at eye-level and can be missed if not on the lookout.

The path was fine in the summer a couple days after a storm, but I could imagine the trail being very difficult in the snow or soon after heavy rains.

Great great hike. We took the red dot trail there and back because I had my one year old on my back. The incline was really steep at some points but a really beautiful trail, very well marked. The views at the top make it so worth it. Absolutely breath taking.

Great hike. Red trail climb is a slog and challenging, especially on a hot 80 degree day. 2 gorgeous views of the surrounding Move Taina and rivers. Blue trail back down was gentle and easy. Near the exit is a small creek and swimming hole where we dove in along side 4 other families. Cool water was perfect after a long, sweaty climb.

really challenging hike but felt so good to finish!! definitely need to be in good shape to navigate all of the rocky terrain. great views of the hudson river!!

This hike is truly a workout! The hike consisted primarily of rocky terrain. To an inexperienced hiker, I would categorize this as a hard trail due to the steep inclines and roughness of the path. Trekking poles or a wooden staff is highly recommended when completing this hike. Despite the difficult climb, the summit was absolutely breathtaking. Instant tranquility resided over me once I reached the summit. It was such a peaceful and calm place to be. However, my favorite part of the hike was the waterfalls on the blue trail. It was a refreshing delight! Tip: Start with the red trail and end with the blue trail.

Went up the blue dot trail and came down the red dot trail. It was a very pleasant trail with many great scenic overlooks on the red dot trail and beautiful views on the blue dot trail by the creek. This was not a sunny day in July (7/25/2018). We had scattered showers now and then on the way up, but it was not a problem at all. We did stop under trees a few times when it rained hard, but with the yellow plastic bags covering heads and thick foliage above, we were pretty much dry, body and shoes. Rain also brought the benefits of the low traffic on this popular and usually crowded trail according to All Trails. The rocky path was well maintained and marked. Especially for the red dot path, it was precisely marked maybe due to the difficulties. We had a wonderful hike.

If there was a higher classification than hard I would give it. We were not prepared for the difficulty of the scrambles. It had rained on and off recently and they were very slick. We encountered a rock avalanche, which we were told later is a common occurrence after and during rain. Scariest thing in my life! Luckily we did not get hurt/Hit as we were about 20 feet ahead of it. We had kids ranging from 8-13 with us. They all did well, but looking back really not for kids under 12. And they need to be athletically inclined.

3 parking spots, but come early as this hike tends to get very busy. Crowded, especially at the summit, a lot of dogs. Views are amazing, well worth the trip. Not a long hike, start with the red dot part to get the ascend over with. Coming down might be challenging as well in a different way, I had to get a wooden stick to take some pressure of my knees. Nice river and a little bridge at the bottom of the mountain on the crossing with the green trail. There is a porta potty and a ranger with maps in one of the parking spots

Best hike ever. Exhausted!!!

Rock scrambling and steep climbing. I had an amazing time. Don’t forget to visit the women’s federation monument. It’s a beautiful structure. I loved this hike. This will be my second time. It took me 3 hours and 4.5 miles because I stopped to enjoy the scenic views and walked on unmarked trails. The waterfall was sad this time. It needs to rain more. Enjoy!

Quite a steep climb. If you have knee issues at all, definitely climb up the red dot and down the blue. Red dot is much steeper.

Its one of the hardest trails I have done in Northern Jersey, all because of the grand stair case.

Correction- I followed the map exactly as per All trails and my Apple watch says it was 4.7 miles instead of 3.7 miles. Took me exactly 3 hours at a leisurely pace.

Caution - I started this loop at 6.15pm in mid July and it got dark by the time I was half way through giant stair case (1 mile shifting boulder climb) and really dark on my way back up. Kinda scary because of terrain. Try and start early in the day.

This is moderate to hard level to my opinion. Rocky steep uphill ascend with views that are awesome and definitely worth the effort. We went week day, not a holiday and there were lots of people on the trail and at the peak. Red Dot Trail is marked very well and goes up to the top. On the way down we took blue trail, also well marked, it's longer but less strenuous. Blue trail leads you to the small but very attractive waterfalls (one spot has a water hole, people were jumping in - fun and refreshing after a hike, next time I'm wearing my swim suit). In the description on All Trails it says that Red Dot Trail fitures a lake, well, not accurate info. Red Dot Trail can take you to the Sunfish Lake, but that wouldn't be 3.5 miles round trip. We didn't go to the Sunfish Lake as we had no time to do 7.5 miles, I also think it's best to do it separate.

I love this hike. It’s on the easier side, mostly on wide clear paths through the woods, with one stretch where you’re hiking up to the top of the hill. Minimal if any scrambling. We’ve done this in all seasons and it’s always fun. You can see pretty far from the top, including NYC. Our dog loves it. Have seen others mountain biking, cross country skiing, etc.

Hiking through the boulders was super fun and the stairs at the end were crucial.

Hiking up the red dot was tough but the views at the top were amazing. Also when you're about to hit the green from blue there is a spot where me and other people were jumping into a pool of water from the rocks. Its not allowed but it was very fun. Will go again.

The giant steps were described to me as a “unique and challenging experience”...that’s about right.

Awesome climb. The view is worth every second of this hike. Walk back using blue trail to cool off at the bottom of the mountain. Will be going back without a doubt.

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