I hiked the reverse of the Wanaque Ridge hike NJ Hiking did in March
and added on a loop for Van Slyke castle and a Ramapo Lake loop to make a 12 mile hike. I started a separate blog for some out of state hikes I am doing and am putting directions for all of my hikes there. Refer to that link
if you want specifics. I'll just give a general overview here.
I wanted to do this hike a few years back but ended up leaving and going elsewhere because it was so crowded and unpleasant. Since NJ Hiking gave it good reviews (and they have never steered me wrong) I thought I'd give it another shot. Even at 7 am there were already 10 cars in the parking lot and the blue trail to Ramapo Lake was very busy. However, once you get past the lake and on the hiking trails, you do leave all of that behind and it becomes peaceful and pleasant. There is some highway noise for a while but that goes away eventually. I only ran into a few mountain bikers and one jogger the entire time on the trails. The loop around the lake is heavily used but it wasn't that bad - a lot of walkers and families but spaced out. The trails are well marked but the intersections are not so you have to pay very close attention for turns.
View of Ramapo Lake from the yellow Hoeferlin trail:
Wanaque Reservoir from the orange Wanaque Ridge trail:
New York City skyline from the white Castle Point trail:
View of Ramapo Lake from the white Castle Point trail:
View of Wanaque Reservoir from the white Castle Point trail:
Van Slyke castle: