Shepherd Lake/Mount Defiance/Skylands Manor Loop from...

Ringwood State Park

View of Skylands Manor from the Ringwood-Ramapo Trail - Shepherd Lake - Photo by Daniel Chazin View of Skylands Manor from the Ringwood-Ramapo Trail - Shepherd Lake - Photo by Daniel Chazin Ringwood State Park, Shepherd Lake. Photo by Daniel Chazin. Ringwood State Park, Shepherd Lake. Photo by Daniel Chazin.

This loop hike runs along Shepherd Lake, climbs to several viewpoints on Mount Defiance and traverses the historic Skylands Manor area.

41.137924, -74.253486

Proceed ahead, passing through an opening in a stone wall by a “Do Not Enter” sign. Immediately turn right, passing brown signs that mark the trailheads of the white-blazed Crossover Trail and the red-on-white-blazed Ringwood-Ramapo Trail. Continue across an old concrete bridge over the Ringwood River (this was the original entrance to the Ringwood Manor estate). At the end of the bridge, turn...

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Trip Reports

rate experience
January 03, 2019
Crossover Trail is being rerouted
<p>Thanks for your comments!&nbsp; I will revisit the area and look into changing the wording as you have suggested.&nbsp; With regard to the very wet section of the Crossover Trail south of Morris Road, that should change soon.&nbsp; The Jersey Off-Road Bicycle&nbsp;Association (JORBA) is in the process of building a new and improved route for the Crossover Trail north of Morris Road, and when the new trail is completed, the trail section south of Morris Road will be abandoned.</p>
Daniel Chazin
January 02, 2019
A nice hike for a winter day...
Notlepats on 9/12/16 commented on a bridge being out. No bridges out today and I found the description of the trailhead to be spot on. I've done variations on this hike twice in the past 4 months. The only description I found confusing was how to exit Skylands Manor. It says "double blaze seems to indicate a right turn into the parking area, but you should instead bear left and then immediately turn right...". Although this is correct, I think there are better landmarks. I'd eliminate the wording "bear left" but say something like "follow the road to the right (don't go into the parking lot)". The White Crossover trail was quite wet near Morris Road. I wonder if, instead of paralleling the Cupsaw Brook south of Morris Road, the trail could be rerouted to the north side of Morris Road and avoid some of the marsh.
September 12, 2016
Good Hike
<p>This was a pretty good hike, nice and long and passes through interesting areas. It took us a while to find the trail heads, which are literally those first two bridges visible from the parking area. The second bridge is still out (seriously? it's been 6 years!!) but can be easily gotten around by crossing a small creek, there are plenty of rocks to step on, or you can take your shoes off and cross, it is only 3 feet deep.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The trail seemed like it hadn't been hiked by anybody in along time, lots of spider webs across the pathways and in parts was almost overgrown. It was still well marked. The views were really nice. Like another commenter said, you can definitely hear the skeet shooting through most of it, at least on a satruday afternoon. I would recommend this hike, but bring lots of bug spray and watch out for the muddy swampy areas. I may have fallen on my butt once or twice :)</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Also wanted to add that the coordinates above took us to a random house 15 minutes away from Ringwood Manor. I would just use "Ringwood Manor" in your GPS and then follow signs to Parking Lot B where the trailheads are.</p>
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