Monday, August 12, 2019

Hawk Rock and Cactus Ledge

Ramapo Valley County Reservation,
Bergen Co.
New Jersey

Hiking Trails:
Vista Loop: Yellow blaze

Total Time: 1:00 hour
Estimated Distance: 2.1 Miles

Pros: Good climb with nice view and scenic lake
Cons: Very busy area

This is a great short hike that has lots of benefits. It's got a scenic lake, a nice climb, a really nice view, and it all can be done in about an hour. I did this hike after work prior to sunset. I parked in the main parking area of Ramapo Valley Reservation, and took the trail alongside Scarlet Oak Reservoir, which was very busy with lots of people. I then to took the Vista Loop Trail to the right side of the like and then proceeded to climb the mountain steeply to Hawk Rock.

I then continued up Hawk Rock and was surprised to see a shortcut around the switchback that now became part of the official trail. I took the short route on the trail from Hawk Rock to Cactus Ledge. Cactus Ledge is another view similar to Hawk Rock, a bit higher up, and has a wild cactus grove. I then turned around and proceeded down to the mountain, and took the trail around Scarlet Oak Reservoir, looping around the reservoir, and then crossing over the Mahwah River on the bridge and then back to my car.

Map of the Route

Sign Indicating the Bridge Out on the Vista Loop Trail

Scarlet Oak Pond

Cloud Reflections on Scarlet Oak Pond

Me on Hawk Rock

View from Hawk Rock

View of Scarlet Oak Reservoir in the Distance and Ramapo College

Another View from Scarlet Oak Reservoir Facing South

View from Cactus Ledge

View from Cactus Ledge, Zoomed into the NYC Skyline

Ramapo College from Hawk Rock

Cactus Grove at Cactus Ledge

Scarlet Oak Pond Approaching Sunset

Sun Dipping Below the Horizon at Scarlet Oak Pond

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