Ilgenstein Rock

Ilgenstein Rock, Ramapo Mountain State Forest (10/24/2011)

Fall foliage is swiftly hitting peak in northern NJ (and has already hit peak in upstate NY), so to enjoy this short annual event once more, I took the day off to go hiking with my friend Andy. Today we hit three remote spots in Ringwood State Forest and Ramapo Mountain State Forest. Specifically, we visited three vistas that require long treks (at least 10 miles) from the nearest parking lots. But a few months ago, while eyeing NYNJTC Trail Map 115 (North Jersey Trails), I noticed a woods road beginning at the end of Spruce Lane, a dead end street south of Upper Erskine Lake. Perusing the map I saw that this access point would lead to many trails still untraveled because of their remoteness. So off we headed today for that woods road.

Using the aforementioned map, we took the woods road north, then the red-blazed Ringwood-Ramapo trail south to the first vista denoted on the map. It's a seasonal viewpoint with views over the Wanaque Reservoir, Lake Erskine, and the Wyanokies. The Monksville Reservoir dam is also visible from this spot. Next, from the vista, we headed east on the green tulip-leaf-blazed Old Guard trail to the yellow Hoeferlin Memorial trail which we took north to Erskine Lookout, the second remote vista. The views from here are also slightly obstructed by trees and afford basically the same view as the first vista. Right behind this vista is the Green trail which we took east to the Cannonball trail which we took north through Camp Yaw Paw. We then headed NW on White to the best vista of all, Ilgenstein Rock, with views over Bear Swamp Lake and even Manhattan when the sky is clear (it wasn't clear today). I visited this viewpoint back in December, 2006 as part of an 8.5-mile hike. This remote vista is the closest to any parking area. After lunching at this spot, we headed SW on Hoeferlin Memorial, then west on the Blue trail before heading south on Ringwood-Ramapo, back to the woods car and Spruce Lane.

Total distance hiked today was over 6 miles in 4 hours.

(Click on the thumbnail to bring up a bigger image in a pop-up window)

Climbing the woods road

Heading north through foliage

Foliage not quite peak

South on Ringwood-Ramapo

Crossing, on stones ...

... High Mountain Brook



Solid stone path on R-R

Zig-zagging up the ridge ...

... on many switchbacks


Awesome yellow color!

Andy at first vista

Wanaque Reservoir

Lake Erskine in foreground

Monksville dam in background

Wyanokies and reservoir

Checking the map

Old Guard tulip tree leaf blaze

Second vista: Erskine Lookout

Wanaque Reservoir

Monksville Reservoir behind dam

Planes to and from Newark

Turkey vulture

An inviting Green trail

Hurricane Irene blow-down?

Shelters at ...

... Camp Yaw Paw

Clark shelter

View from Clark shelter

Andy roasting very low-fat marshmallows

Leafy path to ...

... Nature House

One of several camp signs

Stream to Cannonball Lake

Camp reservoir

Lovely views of ...

... reservoir ...

... at Camp Yaw Paw

Keffer Dam plaque

John Coyle cabin

Ascending on Cannonball trail


Huge boundary wall

View north from White trail

Views opening ...

... to the east

Ilgenstein Rock

Rocky Mountain from Ilgenstein

Bear Swamp Lake and Drag Hill

View SE

Remote mountains SE

More very low-fat marshmallows!

Open cliff on Rocky Mountain

Interesting roots!

Bridge to Nowhere!

Bright yellows

Lots of leaf drop

Rickety bridge ...

... and sturdier bridge

High Mountain Brook

Bridge over brook

Large hawk feather

Heading south on woods road

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