Explore the most popular trails in Abram S. Hewitt State Forest with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

A section of Bearfort Ridge reaches into Hewitt State Forest, offering hikers a challenging climb with a rewarding view. The forest is isolated and untouched, accessible only on foot. Marshes and wetlands are scattered throughout the forest with several brooks and streams crisscrossing the lower areas. Hemlock and oak are the dominant species of this relatively undisturbed forest.

24 days ago

1.28.19. This hike has everything — good ascents, ridge walking, rock scrambling, stream crossings, rhododendron thickets, pitch pine woods, INCREDIBLE lake views. Park at the trailhead lot opposite the Marina. It's a lasso shaped trail, and the first part is well marked, with Abram Hewitt (State Line section) trail blazes (blue rectangular blazes bordered by white). Follow this for approx. 1.1 miles, climbing quite steeply. Going counter clockwise around the loop, you'll see the Appalachian Trail marker painted onto the rock. Follow this south for 0.4 of a mile until you start to see the yellow blazes of the Abram Hewitt (Ernest Walter section) trail. Follow this round, and you'll reach the Eastern side of Surprise Lake where you can get close for a spectacular view of the water. You'll be on this Yellow trail for a total of approx 2 miles, but towards the end of it, you'll see the most magnificent views of Greenwood Lake — almost the whole body of water is spread out far below you. Simply the best view I have experienced while hiking in NJ. Then it's a leisurely descent back until you rejoin the Blue trail, and back to the lot.

A note on rock scrambles: There are three or four challenging rock faces to be negotiated on this hike, some up, some down. Not impossible, but by way of explaining, I have two fit, experienced, and large dogs that could not handle two of them. We went off-piste a little way and skirted the problem, but if you have dogs, or small kids, be aware of this. (There are a fair amount of on-your-butt descents down rocks as well.)

All in all, a fabulous hike. Here are my stats as a rough guide if you're thinking of tackling this:

Distance: 4.3 miles
Elevation Gain: 948 feet
Moving Time: 2:15:17

Trail is not easy, the whole hike is an incline and pretty rocky (so more difficult in the snow). Blue trail veers left to yellow, we missed it at first. Decent viewpoints once you're on yellow.

3 months ago

No parking. We did’t find beginnings of the trail

Easy hike but verrrryyy muddy. Had to scoot across a fallen tree at one point to get across the water. Be prepared to have some wet feet if you don’t have waterproof boots. Enjoy lunch at the lake and be sure to look for the city skyline at various lookouts on the trail. We did see a small black snake right on the trail which was more scared us of but just something to be aware of.

We went clockwise on the loop and enjoyed the first half of the loop. The return part of the trail was really wet making it difficult and not as much fun.

Challenging but not too challenging. Great trail!

awesome trek. Buggy lower part. So worth it.

this hike was wonderful but the alltrail map was wrong and you will get lost if you try to follow it. furthermore it is listed as a 6 mile hike if you follow their loop it is 8 miles.

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.

Best hike ever. Exhausted!!!

Highly recommend. Did just a portion because if time constraints. However will return and complete.

7 months ago

Very nice hike with rocky parts. Amazing view on the Greenwood lake, also lakes on the way make the trail more interesting.
Can be challenging when it's 94F ;). The hike itself is beautiful.This trail was a
little bit too crowded for me.The parking is tiny, so it's better go there early in the morning.

Nicest hike in the area, HOWEVER the parking @ State Line Trail is problematic weekends and during the nice weather, as you are parking at a marina and subsequently have to compete with boaters who are also looking to park their cars. A better way up is to begin in Warwick NY at Cascade Lake Park. Follow the blue markers up to the AT, that gives you the additional advantage of another view at Prospect Rock- and plenty of parking available. The trail up is not as much of a grind either. The only disadvantage is this route isn't accessible via mass-transit, as the State Line Trail has NJ Transit buses 196/197 near the trail head.

8 months ago

A really nice hike. Rhododendron forest. Some rock scrambles. Some nice views. Took about 2 hours.

Great hike with such an amazing view of Greenwood Lake at the top. I wouldn't call it easy, I'd say intermediate just due to the incline, but the distance in and out is perfect. Surprise Lake at the end is a great place to have a small lunch or snack!

did it late Summer 2017. Rock scrambles. if you come early you can find parking on Warwick Turnpike in West Milford/Hewitt near White Road. Be equipped - hiking shoes, sticks, water, and be aware.

Wonderful hike just an hour drive from NYC. Proper hiking shoes definitely help with especially climbing or walking down the rocks. The yellow trail has the best views. The trail has minimal traffic and is very quiet and peaceful.

9 months ago

There is a steep walk up to the ridge, other than that it qualifies as easy. Nice views and an enjoyable day hike. Not too long, so good for when time is short. Parking is opposite the marina. Easy to miss.

Top 5 views for an nyc area hike

Challenging, but not too taxing. A steady pace uphill. Good for a nice day trip. You can hang up around the lake with a hammock.

11 months ago

Just did this hike yesterday and there was a lot of snow on the trail. It was a fun hike with several rock scrambles and stream crossings. I can't wait to come back again when the flowers are blooming.

Saturday, February 17, 2018

Gorgeous trail. Walking through the rhododendrons was surreal and the lake views were beautiful. Definitely a hard trail in some places with quite a few rock scrambles, so be prepared to do some light climbing

Beautiful area, easier travel. Some spots are steeper, but nothing of much difficulty. Can't wait to see it in early spring/ summer.

Took the white trail up to lookout then yellow trail to surprise lake. It was one of the best hikes I have taken this year and sure to go again. Was unable to pick up the orange trail to get back so ended up on blue trail to Greenwood Lake which was worth the extra hike yesterday.

Saturday, November 25, 2017

One of my favorite hikes! Great workout (initial hour or so is all uphill and pretty rocky. Doable, but we take breaks), gorgeous views including NYC skyline and an expanse of GWL, and not many people on the trail. There are two spots that I've found more difficult with my large dogs (one involves lifting/ lowering dogs and requires two adults) but there may be walk arounds - that I haven't found. Love reaching the highest point and having lunch while feeling accomplished.

So pretty amd good views throughout.

Monday, October 30, 2017

Great hike - did the 4.1 loop. Not nearly as hard as breakneck but still has it's tough spots. Views are incredible and love the lake as well. Definitely dog friendly.

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

NOT for beginners. It took about 5 hrs, and using a hiker's GPS, the actual distance is 5.1 miles. It is quite hilly, rocky, and there are 3 walls to traverse. You will be on all 4's, your butt, and possibly on your belly at times. Bring hiking poles, although many people do not. It is a really nice, but challenging hike, and the view of Greenwood Lake is quite beautiful. Worth it. Some people don't do the whole loop, and just go left from the blue to the yellow trail, see the Greenwood Lake view, and maybe progress to Surprise Lake which is just a bit farther. That is a much easier hike than the entire loop. Should you decide to do the whole thing, don't make the left onto the yellow trail, bear right to continue on the blue trail instead. This way you end with the spectacular views as a reward. Also, we took our dog, who does a lot of hiking, and he was exhausted. He even needed to be lifted up and down on 2 of the walls. Do it, and enjoy.

Man I love this hike.

This hike is located right by the more popular Terrace Pond hike, and offers all the positives of that hike, but generally with way less people.

The beginning of this hike is the hardest part, and is no joke. The first hour is steady steady elevation gain. Once you get to the first viewpoint you level off a bit however. While the ridge along the bear fort trail is less inclined, it is very interesting with light scrambling throughout.

I highly recommend turning left once the bearfort trail ends and taking the yellow, Earnest Walter trail. A stop at West Pond is a must. I like this spot more than the popular Lake Surprise which will come later.

Continue the loop connecting with the AT and Stateline (blue) trail before some more scrambling on the Earnest Walter. The amazing views as you climb the mountain on the EW looking to Greenwood lake are unbelievable.

Surprise lake is a nice spot to take in some more awesome scenery. Then head to the Orange Qual Trail and head back. Keep a heads up on the Orange trail here. It can be very tough to follow if you aren't paying serious attention. The quai trail, while much easier than the other trails, can be very rocky and at this point you are most likely a little fatigued. Be careful on the rocks, as they can be some serious ankle turners.

Eventually meet back to the bearfort trail and head back to your car. What a hike!

Beautiful trail! The trailhead is right on the road, but the sign is slightly set back so you might not see it at first. The beginning has a few tough climbs and rock scrambles, but totally manageable. Highly recommend taking a quick look along the yellow trail after Surprise Lake, there are two beautiful vistas there. A few nice views, lots of cool changes in terrain, glacial erratics and hemlock groves. Beautiful foliage in mid-October.

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