Bearfort Ridge: Surprise Lake Loop Trail

MODERATE 111 reviews

Bearfort Ridge: Surprise Lake Loop Trail is a 6.6 mile moderately trafficked loop trail located near Hewitt, New Jersey that features a lake and is rated as moderate. The trail is primarily used for hiking, walking, nature trips, and birding and is accessible year-round. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

DISTANCE
6.6 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
1187 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Loop

dogs on leash

birding

hiking

nature trips

walking

forest

lake

views

wild flowers

wildlife

hiking
1 month ago

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.

1 month ago

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.

2 months ago

Top 5 views for an nyc area hike

hiking
2 months ago

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.

4 months ago

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

5 months ago

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.

hiking
6 months ago

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.

7 months ago

So pretty amd good views throughout.

7 months ago

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!

hiking
7 months ago

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.

hiking
7 months ago

half way through(yesterday).

i think we accidentally went right after the white blazes ended (we started on Warwick, took blue blaze to white, and stayed on white. instantly was a bit challenging. First year hikers). So we may have missed out.

i think i will do this trail again but start on Orange, get to yellow, and loop yellow. Just to enjoy more.

hiking
8 months ago

Excellent trail with beautiful views.

10 months ago

Quiet trail and good exercise for a half day hiking.
The view fir Greenwood lake is wonderful.
If you want to save time, start from Lakeside.

hiking
Saturday, April 29, 2017

Charming and a little bit challenging - be prepared and use NYNJ Trail Conference pdf map 116 for easiest navigation :)

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Nice trail you need to pay attention so you catch all the turns but had a great time launch by the lake

hiking
Sunday, April 09, 2017

The rock looks like marble. Not many views, just a small lake. I don't quite like the long downhill, which hurts my feet, especially my toe so much that the hurts last more than 1 week....

hiking
Tuesday, April 04, 2017

Great hike! Was quiet when I got there about 9 am on a Sunday morning. By about 12:30-1 pm as I was coming back down the trail started to get busy. Challenging but fun hike. Will be even more beautiful in the summer and fall when the leaves are on the trees. It's a bit soggy and slippery in place so wear good hiking shoes/boots.

hiking
Sunday, April 02, 2017

Great trails, with varied terrain. Rock scrambles, ridge lines, intersects the AT, great views of Greenwood lake, many streams to cross. About as good as it gets for a hike! Excited to do this again in the summer when everything is green. We parked at the coordinates provided by this All Trails map, and did Orange>Yellow Blue>White. Orange was pretty swamped in places after all the rain and melting snow, but still manageable. Boots recommended. Took about 4 hours, not rushing and stopping for lunch.

hiking
Saturday, April 01, 2017

Beautiful hike... there was flooding on the majority of the trails but were still passable. We started on the white trail, challenging but fun. Then the yellow to Surprise lake and the orang to the end . Most of the orange trail was flooded and there were areas where we have to take a detour but they were passable.

hiking
Monday, November 28, 2016

Could not find the parking area based on the AllTrails directions. Parked on Warwick Turnpike instead. Did hike counter clockwise. Trail was pretty rocky and challenging. Coming back on the Yellow Trail there was a rock ledge that I actually had to use hand holds to pull myself up.

hiking
Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Went counter-clockwise. Some great views on the northern edges of the trail -- and the lake's really nice. It's peak season right now for the trees too. Truly wonderful. Go ahead, get lost and have a day at it.

Sunday, September 11, 2016

We took the orange trail to the yellow trail to the white trail based on the map that was posted where we parked. The map was a bit deceiving. The orange trail was moderate and ended at surprise lake which was beautiful. We saw a few people on the orange trail and also at the lake where there was swimming. We did not see one person on the white trail on the way back. The white trail was more challenging than expected and also took at least an hour longer to complete than the orange trail. The yellow trail which lead from the lake to the white trail was a pretty trail. All trails were marked well.

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Beautiful hike, and it was incredibly quiet when I went.

hiking
Sunday, June 26, 2016

Wasn't very nice

hiking
Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Good rugged trail. Moderate.

hiking
Saturday, June 04, 2016

It was a great challenge but the trees on the Bearfort Ridge trail blocked all of views. The Quail trail was unmaintained and I ended up following a creak thinking that it was a trail. But there were still great view points at the junction of the white and yellow trails and Surprise Lake was cool. I really enjoyed the challenge of the first climb.

Friday, April 22, 2016

Beautiful hike but ran into a timber rattlesnake today just past the first big waterfall

Sunday, February 28, 2016

Great hike with a beautiful view

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Awesome

hiking
Monday, November 30, 2015

Favorite hike in NJ thus far. Breathtaking view of Greenwood Lake less than a mile in, which put us in the right mood for the rest of the adventure. Found it to be extremely well-marked, especially in comparison to Norvin Green State Forest, where we meandered for a half-hour, backtracking repeatedly (for god's sake, someone teach them how to mark trails). I will note that we did take a wrong turn at the yellow-orange junction (two somewhat similar colors), which added an extra mile to the adventure, so beware of that. However, between the vistas and the lakes and the rhododendron, this hike gave me a newfound appreciation for my home state!

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