Lake Lookout

Lake Lookout, Wawayanda State Park (7/21/2013)

Last month, when hiking the Red Dot trail in this gorgeous park, I noticed a few trails that weren't on the NYNJTC map. A web search yielded this JORBA map, which quickly alerted me to the fact that there are plenty of unofficial trails in this park, some which are indicated as "unmaintained trails" on the latest NYNJTC North Jersey Map 116, but not all. So today we returned to do a few of those trails, parking in the pull-off on Cherry Ridge Road, a road which begins (west of Clinton Road) as a paved residential road, but quickly turns into a gully-ridden sandy mess. So be forewarned. Amazingly there were about eight trucks already there when we arrived and four more showed up as we were putting our boots on! It's a very popular starting point for mountain bikers which doesn't require the $10 entrance fee for Wawayanda.

We started by heading south on Ferber (no sign or blazes) through the chain gate, a nice woods road. At the end is a makeshift campsite (you can see it in the photos) where we encountered a large black rat snake. Just before this site is where the Splitrock trail (no signs or blazes) begins and heads into the woods, at times through rhododendrons so thick you're not sure you're on the trail. Crossing the gas pipeline cut the Split Rock continues south of it, climbing steadily eventually reaching the end of Splitrock and continuing on what appeared to be (at least according to the map) the Buddha trail (no sign or blaze). This trail then continues further than is indicated on either the NYNJTC map (as an unmaintained trail) or the JOBRA map, so we missed the right turn on to continue on Buddha. Discovering our error, we backtracked and continued west on Buddha, past a tiny little pond eventually reaching the Turkey Ridge trail (blazed in green). Eventually we headed north on the Pickle (also blazed in green) along the western bank of Lake Lookout, one of the most beautiful stretches of the hike, eating lunch at the NW tip. After lunch we continued east on the white-blazed Lookout trail, then south (just for 0.1 mile) on the red-blazed Old Coal trail before heading north on the unsigned/unblazed Mojo Swamp trail. This is another gorgeous stretch along the western bank of Cherry Lake. Eventually we reached Cherry Ridge road, which we walked back to the car.

Total distance hiked today was nearly 7 miles in about 3.5 hours. We wanted to do even more of the unofficial trails (there are at least a half dozen more in this area) but ran out of time. We shall return.

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

Gate at Ferber

Heading south

Lots of ferns

View north on Ferber

Spider web

Two buddies working

Frog on Ferber

Dragonfly on Ferber


Heading to ...

... camp site

Black rat snake

Stone path on Splitrock

Rhododendrons are ...

... dense in places

Gas pipeline cut

Wildflowers ...

... in the cut

In the gasline cut

Thicket on Splitrock

Mushroom from overhead

Small whaleback

Granite wall



Whaleback on Splitrock

Cairns guide ...

... the way

Log bridge on Splitrock

[Photo by Laura]

End of Splitrock

Cliffs on ...

... Buddha trail

Trail mushroom

Cairn marking required right on Buddha

Tiny pond off Buddha

Beautiful rock formations

Gorgeous thicket

Now on Turkey Ridge (blazed)

Gorgeous wildflower

Big-eyed fly

Gasline cut further west

Now on Pickle

Old growth on Pickle

Peeling tree

View of Lake Lookout ...

... from Pickle trail

Northern end of Pickle

At northwestern tip ...

... of Lake Lookout

Our awesome lunch spot!

Frog at lunch

Lake Lookout ...

... from northern bank

On narrow Lookout trail

Raccoon prints

The frog whisperer

Some of her frogs

More of her frogs!

On Mojo Swamp trail

Blow-down on Mojo

Very old growth on Mojo

Ferns on Mojo

Views of ...

... Cherry Lake from Mojo

Various ...

... views of ...

... Cherry Lake

Bridge on Cherry Ridge Road

Brook off Cherry Ridge Road

Open gate on Cherry Ridge Road

Cherry Ridge rhododendrons

Peaceful road walk back

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