8.1 challenging miles and 70 degrees, sunny and perfect...
such a nice change after this crazy winter. We hiked in the northern section of Norvin Green State Forest, located to the southwest of Monksville Reservoir in West Milford. There are two newer (2008-ish I believe) trails there we wanted to check out, Lake Sonoma and Overlook.
This isn't a really long hike but with a decent amount of rugged up/down, several stream crossings, we'd rate it on the low end of "challenging". The new trails were very pleasant, with some really nice vistas. You may want to save this one until the trees are green, or even better, for fall foliage.from Overlook Rock
You'll want the NYNJTC map
, don't think there is a map online. If you have the map earlier than the 2009, Sonoma/Overlook and the parking are not on there.Getting there:
Rt 287 to exit 55, north on 511, after you pass the Reservoir and then Long Pond, turn left onto Burnt Meadow Rd which turns to dirt in a bit.Note:
There are two parking areas on Burnt Meadow but note on the map the road is marked as "impassable" if you approaching from the south... which is exactly how Google or your GPS is going to send you. We didn't check out that way, but when coming off the trail, we noticed a large deep puddle across the road down that direction that we wouldn't have gotten our car through.
So, driving south on Burnt Meadow, pass the 1st parking pullout (which I don't recall as being real obvious. It's on the left, and on the right is the yellow trail), then its another mile to the 2nd parking area.
The dirt road is doable in a car, but not fantastic, and we'd think twice before heading to that lot again with a car. We had to stop just before getting to the 2nd lot, and parked on a wide area before the bridge because after that was too eroded.
Therefore for this loop, we really recommend starting at the first parking pullout, unless you just want to only do Sonoma/Overlook and not the loop. (which would make for a nice hike - the new trails were quite scenic, and the best section of this loop)Lake Sonoma
The trails are very well marked, with frequent blazes - just pay attention as there are many unmarked paths to amble down if you get distracted.
Since we parked a bit down from the parking, we started with the RED Stonetown Circular trail near where we parked, up Harrison Mountain, took a left onto WHITE Horse Pond Mountain for some ridge views, then left and steeply down YELLOW Burnt Meadow. Hit Burnt Meadow Rd and turn right, walk down the road a bit, then turn left back into the woods for a level section that's a bit of a break.
When you get to BLUE Hewitt Butler, turn left and follow that south for awhile. Take a left onto WHITE Overlook, cross a power line cut, and follow until you get to a large rock that is Overlook Rock for a very nice view. Follow the ORANGE blazes for Lake Sonoma after this, it requires a bit of a backtrack. Take Sonoma all the way back, with views of the Lake, then skirting near it. When back onto Burnt Meadow Rd, turn left and walk back to your car.