Bearfort Ridge and Surprise Lake Loop

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Abram S. Hewitt State Forest

Bearfort Ridge and Surprise Lake Loop is a 8 mile heavily trafficked loop trail located near Hewitt, New Jersey that features a lake and is rated as moderate. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from April until November. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

Length8.0 miElevation gain1,400 ftRoute typeLoop
Dogs on leashHikingNature tripsWalkingBird watchingRunningForestLakeViewsWildflowersWildlifeBugs
Description
Waypoints (0)

From parking at Warwick Turnpike follow the green-blazed Bearfort Ridge Loop trail. Meet the yellow-blazed Ernest Walter trail and follow this to the blue-blazed State Line Trail. From there, continue on to the white-blazed Appalachian Trail, and then turn back onto the yellow-blazed Ernest Walter trail. You'll meet back up with the green-blazed Bearfort Ridge loop, and will follow this back to parking at Warwick Turnpike.

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Reviews (511)
Photos (1,344)
Activities (469)
Completed (913)
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Telly Massaras
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarApril 11, 2021
Hiking

Great trails, animals, and weather

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Sudhir D
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarApril 10, 2021
HikingGreat!

Great spring hike. Took the newly blazed pink trail with dry pine needle trail-bed which makes it a much better experience vs walking on wet rocks. Forest trail map photo uploaded for reference. 3.5hrs including breaks.

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Gary Feit
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarApril 4, 2021
Hiking

Challenging but very rewarding hike. Lots of up and down on ridge lines, scrambles, and length make this a fun hike and a real workout. But beautiful panoramic views of Greenwood Lake and surrounding mountains (plus even a peak at the NYC skyline in the far distance), as well as the scenery along the trails make it completely worthwhile. Note that if you follow the AllTrails directions, you'll end up at the parking lot for Highland Preserve. This is NOT where the hike begins, do not take the trail behind the gate here (learned this the hard way). You'll need to walk a few hundred yards on the shoulder of the road to the start of the trail before the small bridge. Or, keep driving past the Highlands lot and there is a small parking area for about 4 cars, just past the trail entrance. The hike is easy to follow in either direction, mostly green and yellow with shorter stretches on the blue square and white (AT). I did the hike counter-clockwise, which was fine, but would probably go clockwise the next time since the descent from the west ridge at the end was pretty steep and tough on the knees after 7 miles. The east side of the loop isn't as steep so I'd prefer to go down that way. Recommend this hike in spring or fall when weather is cooler. If you do this in the heat, bring a lot of water, you'll need it!

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David Shotwell
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Hiking

Words just won’t suffice. Go hike

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Reshmi Ramankutty
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Hiking
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Hannah Tsao
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Hiking
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Elliot Rothchild
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Hiking

Tough

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Doug Zayat
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Hiking
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Elsa Bueno
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HikingGreat!

Beautiful views

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DDenisse Grraff
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Hiking
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Merry Y
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarMarch 6, 2021
Hiking

Trail blazes for white and orange routes (in older njnytc maps) were all made into a Green blazed loop. Take a picture of the new map at the start of the hike to help avoid confusion. Still some snow and icy patches when cold. Green loop mostly okay. Yellow loop to Surprise Lake I navigated on my butt... Bring Crampons if you have them.... Lovely hike with a nice ridge walk on the left loop!

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Will T
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarFebruary 19, 2021
HikingSnow

Still super snowy. But great workout. Snow at times were a good 2.5 feet deep. Snow was deepest at the top of the ridge. Lake was frozen solid which was fun. The green loop ended up being around 7 miles.

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nick k
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarFebruary 13, 2021
Hiking

a lot of snow out right now remember to bring a change of socks and snow shoes ofnyou have them

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Sean Kirby
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HikingIcySnow

Trail was clearly marked and not crowded. The views from the top of the mountain are excellent. Snow and ice make the hike much harder, I would love to check out the trail again in the spring.

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Alex DeMasi
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJanuary 24, 2021
HikingGreat!RockyScramble

HIKING WITH A DOG: To start, I couldn’t have possibly enjoyed this hike more. Every moment was beautiful, the views were lovely, and even in the dead of winter, there were portions of evergreen forest and mountain laurel, with moss all around, that could have been spring. The trail is incredibly well marked. From the parking area that the alltrails coordinates provide, there is a bit of road walking to the trail, and again to return to the car. Not bad, but be aware on the shoulder. There are a few climbs/scrambles that are challenging for a dog and may not be feasible for some. The AT portion of the trail is short, but includes an 8-9’ drop down a rock face that is relatively easy to navigate for a human, but has such narrow footholds that my dog struggled and couldn’t safely descend. I had to carry him down, which was doable as he’s only 50lbs and I had a hiking partner to act as a spotter. A mile or two after that, there’s an ascent that he also couldn’t navigate himself. The footholds were big enough to stand on, but too far apart (and the rock face too sheer) to safely jump up. His very sturdy harness has a handle on the shoulders that I used to give him a boost ahead of me, and that did the trick just fine. Otherwise, some of the downhills on the last 1/3 of the trail were safer navigated with him off leash, but doable nonetheless. We were just able to move faster and more confidently ourselves by letting him figure it out in his own. We saw the new pink trail but didn’t take it this time! If we return (which we may, it was a great area to hike) we’ll try it next time. It meets back up with the green path near the end of the loop, and I imagine it would be very hard to lose yourself on it. The distant view of NYC was incredible on such a clear day. I’ve never seen the city look so good!

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Guillaume Schmittheisler
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJanuary 23, 2021
HikingGreat!RockyScramble
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Sebastien Thuault
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Hiking
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Jenn P
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HikingIcyMuddyRockyScramble

Arrived at the parking lot at 9am. Only 2 other cars in the lot. On the way out there was 5 cars total. I thought the trail in the parking lot may meet up with bearfort ridge but it did not. Had to head back and follow the map up the highway to the trailhead. I went counter-clockwise as shown on AT. Blazes are very well marked. No issues finding my way through. Due to recent rain and melting snow there was a TON of mud and wet areas in addition to the many streams that need to be stone hopped. Didn't run into anybody on the way to Surprise Lake, but started to see a few groups at the overlook and 2nd half of the loop. Most were wearing masks. Like another reviewer said there are some crazy scrambles, climbs, and descents here even though the elevation chart doesn't seem like it. Some were a bit tricky due to slushy ice patches that still remained. A few slate walls to go up and down which (as a short person) was difficult with the lack of footing/grip. Definitely need some good boots. Overall the large bedrocks and boulders were fun to climb along with seeing all the pitch pines on the way. The overlook was fantastic, very open with panoramic views. You can see a bit of the NYC skyline in the back and the view of the mountains/town was nice. Lots of good spots to sit and have a snack throughout the trail. Definitely was a harder workout than I anticipated.

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Jason Minch
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Hiking

lots of rock hopping, stream crossings, a little muddy. emded up coming out in the dark. Luckily brought headlamps

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Izabela Gaines
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJanuary 13, 2021
Hiking

Crazy rock scrambles past the ridge all the way back going counterclockwise. Basically up and down boulders, rocks, pulling up slate wall a few places. Need good boots and steady ankles, poles will come handy too. Beautiful trail, easy to follow with good blazing. Great workout!

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Dennis McGrath
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJanuary 12, 2021
Hiking

I took a wrong turn and just wandered on the green trail for a few miles. Very quiet and peaceful

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FullBlown Cranium
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJanuary 10, 2021
HikingGreat!RockyScramble

I did a variation today using the new pink trail and crossed into NY state to stop at Prospect Rock. A better course than the curated one, IMO. I parked at the upper lot on Warwick Turnpike (across from the blue trailhead to Terrace Pond) and took the blue/green trail up the mountain. I avoided the eastern spur of the green trail, which is mostly a woods road. Download my recording to skip the woods road section, add a second spectacular view to your loop, still visit Surprise Lake, enjoy a peaceful decent into a rhododendron grove, not miss any of the cool rock formations, and enjoy 8.9 miles of rugged mountain terrain that's never dull. :)

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