Ramapo Mountain State Forest, Bergen & Passaic Counties, New Jersey

We visited Ramapo Mountain State Forest, a 4200 acre forest primarily in Bergen County, New Jersey, with a small percentage of the land in Passaic County. While this was my first visit, the forest is quite close (in distance and in character) to Ringwood State Park, where I hiked previously.

We parked on Skyline Drive, which bisects the forest, and began hiking into the northern portion on the orange-blazed Schuber trail.

Ramapo Mountain State Forest, Bergen & Passaic Counties, New Jersey

Ramapo Mountain State Forest

There are fungus among us:

Fungus, Ramapo Mountain State Forest, Bergen & Passaic Counties, New Jersey

Fungus

The trails we hiked were not wholly contained within the forest, but also ran through a significant tract of Bergen County land, which included Camp Glen Gray, 750 acres developed as a Boy Scout camp in 1917 and sold to Bergen County in 2002. The camp includes a small lake, Lake Vreeland, and a number of fine cabins, such as this one:

Cabin at Camp Glen Gray, Bergen County, New Jersey

Cabin at Camp Glen Gray

While many of the trails were blazed by the New York-New Jersey Trail Conference, we saw other blazes, including one I had not seen before, representing Bergen County:

Bergen County blaze, New Jersey

Bergen County blaze

We turned onto the green leaf-blazed Old Guard trail, and continued hiking north. This young deer–barely visible through the trees–did not get the word that we are harmless to her kind, and she fled from us:

Deer fleeing through the trees, Bergen County, New Jersey

Deer fleeing through the trees

The blaze of the Old Guard trail:

Old Guard trail blaze, Bergen County, New Jersey

Old Guard trail blaze

Slender trees with texture:

Slender trees with texture, Bergen County, New Jersey

Slender trees with texture

Green moss:

Green moss, Bergen County, New Jersey

Green moss

We turned onto the red-blazed Cannonball trail:

Cannonball trail blaze, Bergen County, New Jersey

Cannonball blaze

We turned west on a green-blazed crossover trail, gaining a bit in elevation.

Perhaps this concrete structure was a water settling tank:

Water settling tank, Bergen County, New Jersey

Water settling tank

We soon reaching the yellow-blazed Hoeferlin Memorial trail, which afforded a view from the Erskine Lookout:

View from the Erskine Lookout, Ramapo Mountain State Forest, Bergen & Passaic Counties, New Jersey

View from the Erskine Lookout

We turned south on the yellow trail, then upon reaching an intersection with the green leaf-blazed Old Guard trail, turned west. This soon brought us back into the Ramapo Mountain State Forest, and to another lookout:

Scenic view, Ramapo Mountain State Forest, Bergen & Passaic Counties, New Jersey

Scenic view

Batya was breaking in a new pair of boots that day:

Batya, Ramapo Mountain State Forest, Bergen & Passaic Counties, New Jersey

Batya

I spotted two wrecked vehicles about 50 yards to the east of the trail, and we detoured to investigate. My map didn’t show any old woods roads in the immediate vicinity, so it’s somewhat of a mystery how the vehicles got there. Here’s a Willys Jeep Station Wagon that has seen much better days:

Willys Jeep Station Wagon, Ramapo Mountain State Forest, Bergen & Passaic Counties, New Jersey

Willys Jeep Station Wagon

A front view of the Willys. Perhaps someone will email me with the model year. There are no horizontal crossbars on the grill, but there seem to be brackets behind the grill, so perhaps there had once been such bars?

Willys Jeep Station Wagon, Ramapo Mountain State Forest, Bergen & Passaic Counties, New Jersey

Willys Jeep Station Wagon

Here’s the second vehicle. We have what appears to be an upside down frame and an upright body, which may or may not belong together. Was it also a Willys? The bumper looks the same:

Abandoned vehicle, Ramapo Mountain State Forest, Bergen & Passaic Counties, New Jersey

Abandoned vehicle

The map indicated a short detour of about 0.1 or 0.2 miles to the west to a scenic view from Matapan Rock, and I’m glad we took the few minutes to walk over there:

Scenic view from Matapan Rock, Ramapo Mountain State Forest, Bergen & Passaic Counties, New Jersey

Scenic view from Matapan Rock

We returned to the trail and continued to the end. The trail ended at Skyline Drive about 0.7 miles from where we had parked. According to the map, the trail was supposed to continue to the end, but we could not tell where it continued. Instead, there was a very large clearing filled with mounds of tree bark, manure, etc. Not having much choice, we exited the woods and carefully walked beside Skyline Drive to return to the car.

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