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Bearfort Ridge: Surprise Lake Loop Trail

moderateYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray Star(340)
Abram S. Hewitt State Forest

Bearfort Ridge: Surprise Lake Loop Trail is a 9.4 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.

Length 9.4 mi Elevation gain 1,400 ft Route type Loop

Dogs on leash

Hiking

Nature trips

Walking

Bird watching

Running

Forest

Lake

Views

Wild flowers

Wildlife

Bugs

Waypoints (0)
Weather
UV Index
Daylight
Reviews (340)
Photos (812)
Recordings (290)
Completed (625)
Sally Ivette
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarAugust 1, 2020
HikingBugsGreat!RockyScramble

We started doing just the surprise lake loop, however the trail has been remarked and instead of white you must find the yellow with green markings. The yellow + green is hard to see so at the split we ended up doing the green, if you are looking to do the shorter route make sure to veer to the right before the yellow changes to green even if you don’t immediately see a yellow + green marking. In terms of the markings we went blue, yellow, green, returned on green + yellow, to yellow to blue. Given our plan was to do just the surprise lake loop we were ill prepared but still loved the hike. I would say it is moderate towards hard because there are a few spots of rock climbing and quite a bit of steepness (a lot of up and down). It is very well shaded, it rained for a minute and we heard it but did not feel it. It’s the perfect hike if you like to feel inside the forest & there is also a great view of the lake plus another lake you can sit by (no swimming). As long as you’re ready with lots of water, some snacks and don’t mind spider webs I highly recommend.

Jim Glick
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarAugust 1, 2020
Hiking

Great trail. Wear proper hiking shoes for sure. Parked down the road and walked the short distance to the trailhead. When you get to the fork, go right for a very difficult uphill. If you go left, you’ll have a miserable down hill! As others have said, not a safe hike if its rained.

View Jim's Recording
Hannah Tsao
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJuly 25, 2020
HikingRockyScramble

Great hike and a good workout. Theres great changes in scenery. however, its one of the more crowded hikes I've been on though. if you park in highland parking lot, you'll have to walk on the highway until you see the trailhead!

View Hannah's Recording
Doug Martinez
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarJuly 25, 2020
HikingRocky

Great workout with rewarding views.

Ron Ferriere
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJuly 24, 2020
HikingScramble

Excellent trail, in the process of being re blazed, Green Trail replaces the original Orange and White trails. Maps are posted in multiple locations. Definitely will get a good workout.

View Ron's Recording
mike moore
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarJuly 14, 2020
Hiking

the trails have been repainted to green. it's mostly shaded and the highpoint is seeing all of greenwood lake so overall a good loop. I messed up and forgot to re-record of you look at my map you will see where I caught the mistake so my distance will be off.

Ray Gallagher
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJuly 12, 2020
HikingRockyScramble

This is a true hidden gem trail of New Jersey. We parked at the Highlands Preserve parking lot and walked 1/4 mile up the road to the trailhead. All Trails has it set up to hike counter-clockwise, but we opted to hike clockwise so we hit the steep ascent at the beginning. Boy was this trail a fun workout. Plenty of scrambles, rocky sections and interesting terrain. We opted for the 7 mile version of this hike, where you cut across in front of Surprise Lake instead of going around it. This trail was very empty and we only ran into a few other groups, so plenty of opportunity to social distance.

jiam diaz
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJuly 8, 2020
HikingRockyScramble
View jiam's Recording
Rene Juarez
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJuly 8, 2020
HikingBugsGreat!Rocky
View Rene's Recording
Lev Starikov
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJuly 6, 2020
Hiking

10/10. Do you like actual challenges? Tired of easy peasy trails? This one will make you go “I didn’t pack enough water”. Bring a liter per every 3 miles and you should be ok. Lots of jumps and some climbs will keep you searching for your breath. This trail is a worthy opponent.

Simon Li
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarJuly 5, 2020
HikingRocky

looooong hike w my friends and my dog. bring lots of water! 4 out of 5 because not enough epic views. Hike was full of surprise up and downs. i recommend a comfortable pair of hiking shoes (extra pair of socks too) because there are tons of jagged rocks along the trail.

View Simon's Recording
Emily B
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJune 20, 2020
Hiking

Loved this trail; been hiking nearly every weekend in the area these past couple months and this might be my favorite so far. Initially we were quite confused about the trail's entrance, but you park in the visitor lot and have to walk up the road about 1/5th of a mile or so and the entrance is on the right side of the street. We took the orange trail first to Surprise Lake and lunched there, then came back following the yellow trail around the lake and up to a summit where it links up with the white trail, which we took back to the beginning. There is a ton of diversity in terrain from wider trails in the classic NE forest to rock scrambles to narrow winding paths through tree groves and more. There are moments of good incline (especially the beginning section) followed by a reprieve with flat/fairly flat trail, so the workout is great. Watch out for snakes - we saw a couple nonvenomous black rat snakes (just creepy because they're so long) and one baby rattler.

chad donnick
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJune 13, 2020
HikingOver grownRockyScramble

I love this trail. Went counter-clockwise, starting with the orange trail. Today it was slightly muddy on the ascent (rained yesterday), but surprisingly not very buggy. About 1 mile into orange, a black bear crossed our path, minding its own business. When we got to surprise lake and the orange-yellow junction, we decided to cut the hike short and cut across yellow back to the white trail. The orange trail had a lot of high grass growing through the rocks (so beware of ticks). The yellow cut-through was overgrown with summer vegetation, but easy to manage. Watch your footing for snakes. We encountered a couple sunning themselves on rocks. One looked like an eastern milk snake, I'm not sure about the other, but it was mostly all black. The shorter loop we did was 6 miles.

Matthew Capobianco
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJune 7, 2020
HikingRockyScramble

One of the nicest places, I've ever gone hiking. The views and the wildlife were incredible. However the rating of this trail should definitely be updated as per Steven Nolan's review. I recommend using his recording if you're looking for directions for this trail. The trail itself is actually 9 miles, and is rather challenging. There were a lot of scrambles and ever a few rock walls that had to be climbed.

pedro gallardo
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJune 6, 2020
HikingRocky
View pedro's Recording
Steve Nolan
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarJune 6, 2020
Hiking

Longer than 7 miles. I had it down for 9 miles per my phone. Great trail though! Beautiful views, difficult at times!

View Steve's Recording
John Allen
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJune 4, 2020
Hiking

This is one of my favorite hikes. I used to go here a lot in the 90s and for whatever reasons haven’t been back until now. I actually came across a porcupine this time. I’ve never seen one before. It was huge but I couldn’t get a good pic of it as it was trying to get away from me through the bushes. So cool! The views are phenomenal. I highly recommend this hike!

View John's Recording
Lina Trubilla
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarMay 31, 2020
HikingRockyScramble

Tougher trail than I thought. Lots of rocks and up and downs. Well marked and incredible views of Greenwood Lake. Looked for the bear “the size of an SUV” but no bears in sight today.

View Lina's Recording
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