Bearfort Ridge Surprise Lake Loop Trail

Moe, New Jersey 07480

Bearfort Ridge Surprise Lake Loop Trail

Bearfort Ridge: Surprise Lake Loop Trail Professional Guide

Detailed Trail Description from our Guidebook

"This fresh, verdant trail in fall and winter brings you and your canine pal the gift of woodland detail and sights to see without the distraction of leaves. Bold rocks, streams, and shallow soil become the substrate for lush growth of bright green moss, lichen, fern, rhododendron, mountain laurel, hemlock, and pine.

It’s a green hike with great views, adventure in unusual habitats, waterfalls, lunch on a sunny ridge top, speckled rock, and trees growing out of boulders. The Bearfort Ridge Natural Area is home to the endangered red-shouldered hawk and the timid Eastern timber rattler. Your experienced dog will love the streams, varied habitats with distinctive aromas, and path like an agility course. This hike is among the cream!"

Bearfort Ridge: Surprise Lake Loop Trail Reviews

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This is a brutal yet beautiful trail - I lost count on the number of rock scrambles. When you view my photos ( ) you will see some of the scrambles. BUT don't let this stop you from trying this trail... I recommend taking the yellow trail past Surprise Lake to the blue State Line Trail - magnificent views of Greenwood Lake. I was going to complete the yellow circle from there (touching the Appalachian) - but it was too warm and I was bested by all the scrambles... I doubled back and then walked the Orange trail to the car. That is an easy route back. My trip (see last photo) was 7 miles. Great hike! Also - there appears to be a parking area just before you reach the trail after leaving 511 and entering Warwick TP - and then another right over the bridge just past the trail.
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I tackled this trail with my 40lb mid sized active dog. I agree that this is moderate hike. Dog and I did the trail in about 2.5hrs but we were moving along quite well. The trail head was difficult to find from the road. At the end of the summer it is quite overgrown. I knew where to go as I could see a wooden bridge over the creek and just had to figure out how to get to the bridge. There are lots of fun rocks which we had no difficulty with. There was only one area as you move from the white trail to the yellow and go downhill that was about a 4ft drop for the dog, there was a small foothold for me but I carried the dog down that bit. I followed from the yellow to orange trail. It was quite muddy in places, I could see it being very wet in the spring. Easy wide path the last mile. I took the white trail and ended up at the road much further east than the car. I would do the hike again and would expect with my kids stopping for water breaks every 5s to take more like 4-4.5hrs.
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For much of the route, this is one of the finest, most scenic hikes in NJ . The climb from parking to Beafort Ridge is a stiff one, but once you are on the ridge you will find yourself finding it hard to believe you are New Jersey . Once you reach the lake, be sure to continue about a half mile further on the yellow trail to an outstanding overlook on a huge rock outcrop. One of the finest views in the region. The hike as described in the trail guide misses this must see viewpoint and it only adds under a mile to the hike. The return on the orange blazed Quail Trai (aks Jeremy Glick Trail) isn't quite as scenic as the hike out on the Bearfort Ridge Trail, because its mostly along an old woods road, but it's not bad at all.
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We didn't really like this trail. The scenery was not very good and the parking was terrible and extremely dangerous. The only parking is along a very busy mountain road right on a curve and most likely you will have to park down the busy road and walk to the trail head. There were a lot of steep rock climbs that we had to help our Great Dane up on to. There were also a lot of people on the trail that did not know how to pick up their trash. This was a very disappointing hike.

Bearfort Ridge: Surprise Lake Loop Trail Photos

Trail Information

Nearby City
480 feet
Elevation Gain
Trail Type
Moderate to Difficult
Skill Level
3.5 hours
850 feet
Trailhead Elevation
1,300 feet
Top Elevation
Wawayanda State Park
Local Contacts
USGS Greenwood Lake, NY
Local Maps

Activity Feed

Dec 2018