Jeff Hemhauser

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Hiking Ramapo Mountain State Forest, Oakland NJ

New Jersey Vulture Bird
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Ramapo Mountain State Forest

Van Slyke Castle

Van Slyke Castle Ruins

This past weekend we hiked in Ramapo Mountain State Forest. The landscape was  beautiful, the trail difficultly was moderate. This trail has some difficult areas where  you have to hike up a few steep inclines, but for the most part it is a level trail. We hiked the blue and white trails. These trails took us roughly 2.5 hours. We did stop several times to take advantage of some photo opportunities. This state forest was only 50 minutes from my house. This was nice because we usually drive 2-3 hours to hike in Up-state New York. 
The white trail lead to a lake. What stood out to me was that the lake and the surrounding area was very clean. There was no garbage and everything was well maintained. The lake itself was crystal clear. The water was clear and very clean. It was a beautiful sunny day outside. It was nice to see the sun reflecting off of the water. It was a gorgeous sight. The trail circled around most of the lake. There were people fishing and just enjoying the nice sunny day.

Hiking Ramapo Mountain State Forest, Oakland NJ

New York City Skyline

After we hiked around the lake we took the trail up to the Van Slyke Castle Ruins. This part of the trail was one of the more difficult areas to hike. Much of the hike to the castle was uphill. From the lake the castle is no more than a 20 minute hike up. Once you get to the castle ruins you can see the New York City skyline. As long as you have a clear day you will be able to see the city. The castle was pretty cool. I would say about half of the castle was still intact. An industrial mogul  from NYC lived in the castle from roughly 1890 to 1925 before it became vacant. The castle isn’t very old, but it was still pretty cool to see it. You do have to be careful climbing around the castle because much of it is rumble and you don’t want to fall on an old metal pipe or some rocks. We also saw a massive Black Vulture hanging around. It was a pretty cool to actually see one for the first time. The bird was massive!


Overall, this hike was excellent. This trail is very animal and family friendly. It is very much worth the time. This trail is a great way to get some fresh air and some exorcise! Highly recommend.


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Name: JeffHemhauser

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