Sunday, August 26, 2012

Castle Point and Ramapo Lake

Ramapo Mountain State Forest
Bergen and Passaic Counties,
New Jersey

Hiking Trails:

Hoeferlin Trail: Yellow blaze
Castle Point Trail: Red blaze
Cannonball Trail: Red blaze

Total Time: 1:10 hours
Estimated Distance: 3.0 miles
Level of Difficulty: Moderate
Level of Recommendation: Easy yet significant hike with good points of interest.
Points Of Interest: Mansion Ruins, View, and Pretty Lake

Google Maps of Parking:

View 2012 Hiking in a larger map

This is a popular area on weekends, though this area in the State Forest is quiet since most people hike to Ramapo Lake. I parked on the upper parking area on Skyline Drive, and crossed the street and took the Hoeferlin Trail parallel to the road. This small section has a surprising small climb. From there, took the Castle Point Trail, crossing the busy road, and continued along to the old abandoned estate with all its ruins. The first ruin is a stone tower which was once a Water cistern. As this was my first time here, I entered the structure and looked around inside. I then continued along to the ruined castle, which also has a great overlook of the Wanaque Reservoir and the Wyanokies. According to the New Jersey Walk Book (Daniel Chazin), the castle is the abandoned mansion known as Foxcroft, built around 1910 by William Porter, a stockbroker. It was occupied until 1940 and set on fire by vandals in the 1950's. The trail goes right through it, and then starts descending right after a nice view of Ramapo Lake.

From there I took a woods road down to a rocky point at the base of Ramapo Lake, and then retraced myself back to the Cannonball Trail, and took this trail north. This part of the Cannonball Trail is under erosion control and has been rerouted as annoying switchback loops which make it take much longer than it should. After hitting the road, I took a shortcut path to the Hoeferlin Trail which I took back to the parking area.

Map of the Route

Wanaque Reservoir and the Wyanokies, from the View. Facing Southwest.

Wyanokie High Point, from the View. Facing Southwest.

Water Tower Ruin

Inside the Water Tower Ruin

Old Swimming Pool from the Estate.

Trail as it enters the Estate Ruin

Inside the Abandoned Estate Ruin

Ramapo Lake Before Descending. Facing Southeast.

View from the Descent, facing South-Southwest.

Closer View Approaching Ramapo Lake

At the Shore of Ramapo Lake

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