|View from Ramapo Reservation (photo: Melissa Edrelyi)|
By Melissa Erdelyi
The Ramapo Reservation in Mahwah, New Jersey is a Bergen County park of over 4,000 acres of forest on the edge of the New Jersey Highlands Region. The park features hiking trails for all levels of experience, tent campsites from April to November, cross-country skiing during the winter, canoe and kayak access to the Ramapo River, and fishing with a NJ state fishing license.
The reservation offers several marked trails, ranging in distances from 0.3 to 3.5 miles. Hikers can choose to take a short, but steep, hike up to picturesque Hawk Rock. Once completing the hike, hikers will be open to a panoramic view of such sites as Ramapo College and Lake Henry.
Another longer, yet less strenuous trail brings hikers up to MacMillan Reservoir. The hike to MacMillan Reservoir is popular among visitors who bring adventurous dogs on leashes.
For those who do not wish to take such a strenuous trek, the park also offers leisurely strolls. Upon entering the park, strollers can take a walk around Scarlet Oak Pond. Around the pond, there are also several open areas and tables where visitors are welcome to enjoy a meal with the pond in view, so long as they clean up after themselves using one of the many trash receptacles offered.
If you’re interested in taking a hike at the Ramapo Reservation, visit www.co.bergen.nj.us/DocumentCenter/View/1135 for a map of the trails. Maps are also available for pick up in the parking lot of the reservation.
A short walk from the entrance to the park is the Darlington Schoolhouse, now the headquarters for the New York New Jersey Trail Conference (NYNJTC).
The NYNJTC has been working since 1920 in partnership with parks in order to create, protect, and promote a network of over 2,100 miles of public trails in the New York-New Jersey metropolitan region. It is because of the NYNJTC that the Ramapo Reservation has so many safe and open trails for the public to enjoy.
The NYNJTC is a nonprofit organization that has 10,000 individual active members and 100 clubs that have a combined total of 100,000 members.
Becoming a member of the NYNJTC not only gives one the opportunity to volunteer and enjoy the outdoors, it also offers benefits such as a free subscription to the Trail Walker and access to the Hoeferlin Library. To become a member of the NYNJTC or get more information on the trail conference, visit www.nynjtc.org/panel/aboutnynjtc .