Sunday, March 25, 2018

Popolopen Late Winter Hike

Bear Mountain State Park,
Orange Co.,
New York

Hiking Trails:
Timp Torne Trail: Blue blaze

Total Time: 0:55 hour
Estimated Distance: 1.1 Miles

Pros: Great climb and excellent views
Cons: Hike is short

Hiking Partner:
Rayzi Friedman

Popolopen is one of my favorite hikes in Harriman/Bear Mountain. Its a great scramble over large rocks, with an excellent 360 degree view at the summit of a very scenic area. However, it is a very short hike, forming a quick loop. I would love to see the trail expanded north to the newly added park area north and northwest of the trail. Since we were short on time, this was a good choice for a short and quick yet intense hike.

This hike was in late March. March has been well-below average, with several snowstorms and lingering snow. Although much of the snow from the large storm had already melted, there was still plenty of snow in the areas on the north-facing slopes that had less exposure to the sun.

We parked at the trailhead for Popolopen Torne, and walked along the road a short distance to the western side of the loop, which features a better and more direct climb up to the summit. We took the Timp-Torne trail up to the relatively low but expansive summit, and then continued around the loop and back down the mountain to the trailhead by the road where our car was parked.

Map of the Route

Wood Face Carvings at the Trail Parking Lot

Another Face Carving with the Trail Markers

Rayzi Climbing the Rock Scramble

Navigating a Large Rock Face

The First View, Facing West

Pine Tree on a Large Rock Face

Snow-Covered Northern Flank of Bear Mountain

Trail Going on Some Interesting Rocks

Me at the First View

View Facing the Palisades Parkway

More Dwarf Pines

Facing Southeast Towards Haverstraw Bay

The Hudson River, Anthony's Nose, and Bear Mountain Bridge

Bear Mountain across the Valley

View Towards the Harriman Hills

Me at the Summit

Facing Northeast

Facing Southeast

Scene at the Summit

Zoomed in to the Summit Mound

From the Summit, Facing North

The Summit Facing South

Facing West

Starting to Descend from the Summit

Rayzi, Facing North

Me, Facing North

Snow on the Descent

Last View

Sunday, March 18, 2018

Ramapo Lake and Castle Point Winter Hike

Ramapo Mountain State Forest
Bergen and Passaic Counties,
New Jersey

Hiking Trail:
Skyline Connector Trail: White/Red blaze
Cannonball Trail: Red blaze
Macevoy Trail: Blue blaze
Castle Point Trail: Red blaze

Total Time: 1:30 hour
Estimated Distance: 2.6 Miles

Pros: Scenic area, nice views, and pretty lake
Cons: Homes take away from wilderness feel at first part of trail

There was still plenty of snow here from the big storm a week and a half prior. I had hike this area in 2012, and remembered it being very scenic. I was never along these trails in the winter, and I did a reverse hike than the one I did in 2012. I parked I parked on the upper parking area on Skyline Drive, and took the short Skyline Connector Trail to the Cannonball Trail. I took the Cannonball Trail down towards Ramapo Lake as it descended the ridge, and then too a short bushwack near Ramapo Lake to the Macevoy Trail.

I took some pictures at the lake, and then continued on the Macevoy Trail along the northern shore of Ramapo Lake for a very short distance to the Castle Point Trail. I took the Castle Point Trail up the steep hill to the castle ruins, a large home built by stockbroker William Porter in 1910, and abandoned in the 1940's, and then ruined in the 1950's. At this area there is also a nice view of the Wanaque Reservoir and Wyanokies. I continued along the Castle Point Trail to the Cannonball Trail, and then back to the Skyline Connector Trail, and then back to my car.

Map of the Route

Skyline Connector Trail, Full of Snow

Ramapo Lake, Northern Part

Another View at Ramapo Lake

Me at Ramapo Lake

Ramapo Lake Islands

Ramapo Lake Facing South

Another View of Ramapo Lake

Castle Point Trail Sign

View Southwest from Castle Point

View West from Castle Point Overlooking Wanaque Reservoir

View of Rockland Lake from Castle Point

Another View of Ramapo Lake

Overlooking Castle from Across the Mountain

View from Castle Point Facing East to High Point and NYC Skyline

Zoomed in to NYC Skyline

Wanaque Reservoir from Castle Point

Selfie at Castle Point

Another NYC Skyline View

The Abandoned Castle

Another View of the Abandoned Castle

Inside the Castle

The Trail in the Castle

The Next View at Castle Point, Further Up

Another View of the Wanauqe Reservoir

And Another

And One More

Another Structure North of the Castle

A Closer View

View Right Before Descending