Thursday, May 13, 2021

Hawk Rock and Cactus Ledge

Ramapo County Reservation
Bergen Co.,
New Jersey

Hiking Trails:
Vista Loop Trail: Yellow blaze
Pond Loop Trail: Silver blaze
River Trail: Orange/Green blaze

Total Time: 1:15
Estimated Distance: 2.5 miles

Pros: Good climb and nice view
Cons: Busy area at reservoir area
Hike Type: Loop with back and forth
Level of Difficulty: Moderate

Map of Route:

Hiking Partner:
Jeff Neeman

Ramapo County Reservation is a scenic area in the Ramapo Mountains in New Jersey, though the area near the parking is often very busy. This was a beautiful afternoon with bright skies and great weather, and I took the opportunity to do a business hike with Jeff Neeman right near my office.

We parked at the Ramapo Reservation parking area off Route 202, and took the Vista Loop Trail from the trailhead, crossing the Ramapo River on the bridge, and then going around Scarlet Oak Reservoir on the Pond Loop Trail, and then taking the Vista Loop Trail steeply up to Hawk Rock. Hawk Rock has a great view along a rocky ledge, but we then continued a bit higher on the trail to the Cactus Ledge, where there is a great view of the lakes below and the Manhattan skyline. 

We then turned around and went back down on the Vista Loop Trail, going back down on the other side of the lake on the southern side. We then took a short detour along the River Trail for a short distance to the unmarked trail along the side of the trail, and then back to the Vista Loop Trail and back across the bridge and back to our car.

Map of the Route

Ramapo River Facing North at the Bridge

Ramapo River Facing South at the Bridge

Me and Jeff at the Bridge over the Ramapo River

Scarlet Oak Pond and Hawk Rock in the Distance

Another View at Scarlet Oak Pond

Jeff and I at Scarlet Oak Pond

Me at Hawk Rock

Ramapo College from Hawk Rock

View from Hawk Rock facing South

Jeff at Hawk Rock

Me at Hawk Rock

Ascending Towards Cactus Ledge

Scarlet Oak Pond from Cactus Ledge

View from Cactus Ledge

Ramapo College from Cactus Ledge

Local Beavertail  Cactus at Cactus Ledge

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