Sunday, December 30, 2018

Vista Loop at Ramapo Reservation Winter Hike

Ramapo Valley County Reservation
Bergen Co.,
New Jersey

Hiking Trails:
Vista Loop Trail: Yellow blaze

Total Time: 2:00 Hours
Estimated Distance: 3.6 Miles
Level of Difficulty: Moderate
Level of Recommendation: Highly Recommended

Points of Interest: Scenic areas, views and lakes
Cons: Area can be very busy

Hiking Partner:
Shimmy Rosenberg

I had hiked the new Vista Loop Trail about two years ago, and wanted to make another trip to do the loop in the opposite direction. We parked at the main parking area, and crossed the Ramapo River, which was flowing very strongly due to all the recent rain.

We took the southern part of the Vista Loop first, and went past the waterfall on the new trail made closer to the waterfall view. The waterfall was impressive as well due to the rainfall, and it looks like the rangers removed the large fallen tree in the middle of the falls.

we continued to the MacMillan Reservoir, then climbed up to the Rocky View through a short spur. We continued towards Cactus Ledge, and then looped back down towards Hawk Rock, getting some nice views along the way, and then headed down to the end of the trail at Scarlet Oak Pond, and taking the path back over the bridge over the Ramapo River and back to our car.

Map of the Route

An Overflowing Mahwah River

Scarlet Oak Reservoir at the Beginning of the Hike

Me at the Beginning of the Vista Loop Hike 
New Signage at the Vista Loop Trail

Me at the Waterfall

Waterfall at Ramapo Reservation

Another View of the Waterfall

Me in Front of the Waterfall

Spillway over the Dam at the MacMillan Reservoir

MacMillan Reservoir from the Dam

Another View of MacMillan Reservoir

Climbing up the Rockface Away from MacMillan Reservoir

Moss Growth over a Rock Outcrop

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At the First View

Light Snow Dusting at the Upper Area of the Hike

New Trail Signage

View from Cactus Ledge

Ramapo College from Cactus Ledge

Scarlet Oak Pond from Cactus Ledge

Hawk Rock and Scarlet Oak Pond

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Tuesday, December 25, 2018

Refurbished Jackie Jones Fire Tower

Harriman State Park,
Rockland Co.,
New York

Hiking Trails:
Suffern-Bear Mountain Trail: Yellow blaze

Total Time: 1:10 hour
Estimated Distance: 2.3 Miles

Pros: Scenic, quiet area
Cons: None

I had heard that the Jackie Jones Fire Tower had been reopened, with access even to the top enclosed part. The last time I was here, the tower was closed with the bottom stairs removed so it could not be climbed. This hike was my inspection of the tower and seeing it reopened, including the top part. This great news for all hikers and makes this area once again a great hike.

I was off from work, and had a bit of time for a quick hike. I parked at the trailhead parking at the Suffern -Bear Mountain Trail on County Road 106 at the entrance to Harriman State Park. I took the trail past the ORAK Ruin, continuing up past the Jackie Jones Communications Tower, and then to the Fire Tower. I climbed up the steps to the top of the tower, and entered the enclosed area which is now open. It offers panoramic views from all four sides. I took pictures from the top, but the glass was a bit dirty and reflective for my pictures on the top. (Pictures were also from my cell phone). I then climbed down and took the Jackie Jones Communication Tower Road back down to the parking.

Map of the Route

Beginning of the Hike with the Trail Marker and Light Snow Cover

Gatehouse of the ORAK Ruin

Orak Ruin

Suffern-Bear Mountain Trail at the ORAK Ruin with the Snow

Another Building of the ORAK Ruin

At the ORAK Ruin with an Interesting Tree

Greenery on the Suffern-Bear Mountain Trail in the Mountain Laurels

Jackie Jones Fire Tower

New Steps on the Fire Tower

View from Fire Tower, Facing North to Jackie Jones Communication Tower

View Facing West to Lake Welch

View Facing Southeast with the NYC Skyline in the Distance

View Facing North

Tribute to the Volunteers who Rebuilt the Fire Tower Inside the Fire Tower

Sunday, December 23, 2018

South Hill and Torne View Loop

Harriman State Park,
Rockland Co.,
New York

Hiking Trails:
7 Hills Trail: Blue blaze
Hillburn Torne Sebago (HTS) Trail: Orange blaze
Reeves Brook Trail: white blaze

Total Time: 3:10 hour
Estimated Distance: 5 Miles

Pros: Great climb with sweeping views
Cons: None

Hiking Partner:
Shimmy Rosenberg

On my last two hikes to Ramapo Torne, I had noticed South Hill to the northwest with large rocky exposures. I had determined to check out the area for hike, and this was our opportunity. The weather was seasonally cold, but it there was a bright sun and blue sky. We parked at Reeves Meadow at Harriman on Seven Lakes Drive, and took the 7 Hills Trail from its beginning. I then bushwacked up the ascent to the first part of South Hill, and then climbed down through a notch and back up to the main part of South Hill, where we had some great views of the surrounding area.

We then climbed down the hill on the southern edge of South Hill, to an unmarked trail that connects to the HTS Trail. We took the HTS Trail north for a short distance to the 7 Hills Trail, which we then took up and climbed the mountain to the Torne View. At the top, we continued along the 7 Hills Trail northbound looking at the views to the right and the left. We continued along the trail, went down and up to the Torne View, which offers sweeping views of the entire area. We then took the 7 Hills Trail to the Reeves Brook Trail, going back down towards the parking area and back to our car.

Map of the Route

First View from South Hill

View from South Hill Facing North

View of Torne View from South Hill

Me at South Hill

Another View of Me on South Hill

Me on South Hill, Facing North

South Hill, Facing North

View of Ramapo Torne from South Hill

Dwarf Pine on the Southern South Hill View

View Descending South Hill, Facing South

Another View Descending South Hill

Trailhead of the HTS Trail at the 7 Hills Trail

On the View Between Ramapo Torne and Torne View

On the Upper Ridge on the 7 Hills Trails
Me on the 7 Hills Trail

Continuing Along the 7 Hills Trail

Me on the 7 Hills Trail Before Descending into the Notch

7 Hills Trail Before the Descent

Shimmy Descending the Notch on the 7 Hills Trail

Facing Ramapo Torne

View from Torne View, Facing South Hill

Zoomed in to South Hill

Another View at South Hill