VIDEO: Hiking Bearfort Ridge and Surprise Lake, NJ
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Length: 7-mile loop
Time to Hike: 3-4 hours, depending on stops
Difficulty: Moderately Strenuous (some steep climbs and scrambles)
Location: Abram S. Hewitt State Forest, West Milford, NJ
Directions to trailhead - (there are 2 parking areas along Warwick Turnpike)
Map: NYNJTC Map 116
Seasons: Spring, Summer, Fall
Highlights: Puddingstone, varied terrain, rock scrambles, expansive views - the works!
Come one come ALL to the wonders of Abram S. Hewitt State Forest in northern New Jersey! This has got to be one of my all-time favorite hikes within the Garden State. Chockablock with varied terrain, intriguing flora, and panoramically impressive views, this hike will knock your knee-high socks off :D
Before entering this land of wonder, please remember to carry out what you carry in and LEAVE NO TRACE! This area sees heavy traffic, especially at Surprise Lake, so make sure to respect the forest and leave it pristine for yourself AND future visitors ;)
There are many options for tackling this trek, but my preferred route is to begin off of Warwick Turnpike, head up the Blue or White trail, connect with the Orange, reach Surprise Lake, and then head off on the Yellow toward an expansive view of Greenwood Lake from the Bearfort ridgeline. Many, MANY people only hit up Surprise Lake, and I'm not sure why! Sure, it's a body of water (some people just can't get enough o' that H2O!), but really, the views along the ridge are WAY more what this hike is about, IMO.
Thanks to the areas varied topography, the forest changes from hardwoods to pitch pines to hemlocks to rhododendrons all within this one, 7-mile loop! PLUS you'll look out at 3 different water bodies, enjoy fun rock scrambles and attain great heights! ...y'know, for New Jersey (the highest being around 1300').
So, without further adieu, below you'll find a mini episode (mini in that it is a general overview versus a detailed account) of the hike along Bearfort Ridge and Surpise Lake. Enjoy!
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