Engaging Getaways and Venues for:
USA/Mid-Atlantic: Ringwood, NJ
Time: 1 to 3 hours
Distance: Up to 4 miles
Viewpoint: There are incredible views of the Manhattan skyline and the Wanaque Reservoir atop High Point in Waypoint 3. For a 1-hour walk, retrace your steps back to your car after reaching High Point.
From the parking lot next to the Weis Ecology Center, which closed in 2012, walk to the paved Snake Den Road and turn right. Ignore a road on your right going into the ecology center. Follow the paved road uphill as it winds to the left and then to the right. Ignore several roads to the left and continue uphill, following an arrow sign to “High Point and Mine Trails.” When you reach the end of the pavement, ignore a paved private road to the left and continue straight along a rocky dirt road.
In about 50 yards, you reach a large information sign next to a tree with three rectangular blue blazes and three circular yellow-within-white blazes (hereafter called yellow blazes). Turn left and proceed between the tree and the sign, following the blazed trail uphill into the woods. (The first part of this trail can be steep and rocky. Take your time and be aware of your footing.)
At the next junction, ignore the yellow-blazed trail as it turns to the left. Continue straight, following the blue-blazed trail. The blue-blazed trail gets progressively steeper. After 15 or 20 minutes on this trail, there’s an excellent view on flat rocks. Continue several yards past some huge rocks, and there’s a great vantage point. This is a good picnic spot. Continue on the blue-blazed trail downhill. Ignore a narrow white-blazed trail to the right and head uphill on the blue-blazed trail. You reach a blue-blazed boulder atop the hill. Proceed on the blue-blazed trail.
After several minutes, you meet a trail marked with circular red-within-white blazes (hereafter called red blazes) and diamond-shaped turquoise blazes of the Highlands Trail. Bear left, following the red and turquoise trail uphill, ignoring the blue-blazed trail as it turns to the right. After a few minutes of steep walking, you reach the top of the hill, High Point. Relax and enjoy the unbelievable scenery. This is an ideal picnic spot with views in all directions. Notice Wanaque Reservoir and, to the southeast, Manhattan’s skyline. Continue on the red-blazed trail as it turns to the left and descends the other side of the ridge, over a rocky trail and eventually back into the woods. Follow the red blazes for 20 or 25 minutes as the trail winds downward through the woods. You eventually cross a tiny spring, which may be dry in summer. Continue following the red blazes and stay on the trail as it turns sharply to the right downhill. Ignore a white-blazed trail to your right and continue on to a brook. Use stepping stones to cross the brook and head uphill on the other side. Descend the hill. You approach a junction where the yellow trail rejoins the red trail.
At the junction, you have a choice. (If you want to shorten the walk by 30 to 40 minutes, turn left and follow the yellow-blazed trail. In about five minutes, you reach a junction with an orange-blazed trail, Waypoint 9. Continue straight, following the directions in Waypoint 9.) If you do not want to shorten the walk, ignore the yellow-blazed trail at the junction for Waypoint 4 and turn right, following the red and yellow trail. In a minute, you reach another intersection. Follow the blazed trail to the left, ignoring an unmarked trail straight ahead that leads back to the brook. Continue on through the woods, past a stone ruin to your left, and through a clearing. Head downhill to the bank of Blue Mine Brook. Cross a wooden bridge.
After stepping off the bridge, turn right. Blue Mine is several steps ahead. After visiting the mine, retrace several steps to the bridge (don’t cross it) and continue on the red- and yellow-blazed trail uphill. Ignore the Highlands Trail as it turns sharply to the right. Walk up the rocky trail with the brook to your left. Ignore an unblazed trail to the right. Cross a small spring. In a few minutes, you approach a junction of yellow and red trails.
At the junction, continue straight through the woods on the red trail, ignoring the yellow trail that turns to the right. (If you instead want to follow Optional Extension 1 below for some more great views, take the yellow trail.)
After three or four minutes on the red trail, you reach a junction with on orange-blazed trail. Continue straight, now following orange blazes (unless you wish to visit the Roomy Mine in Optional Extension 2 below).
At the next intersection, by a huge boulder to your left, turn left in front of the boulder, following the orange blazes and signs for Weis and The Falls. Follow the orange trail through the woods until you reach Wyanokie Falls (which may be dry in late summer or fall). When you are done exploring the falls, cross the brook, using stepping stones just above the falls. Continue along the orange trail as it briefly follows the edge of the brook, then turns sharply to the left. Follow the orange blazes for five or 10 minutes until you reach a junction with a yellow-blazed trail.
Turn right, following the yellow blazes uphill through the forest. Be careful of your footing. There are a few very rocky, steep sections along this trail. After 15 or 20 minutes, you reach an intersection with a blue-blazed trail. This is the intersection marked at Waypoint 2. Turn right, following the the yellow and blue blazes downhill. Again, be aware of your footing. You soon reach the dirt road at Waypoint 1. Turn right, and retrace your steps back to the parking lot.
If you wish to ascend a ridge for great views of the Wanaque Reservoir and High Point, follow this optional extension at Waypoint 6. At the intersection, turn right. Follow the yellow trail as it winds through the woods and ascends the ridge. (The ascent up the ridge is fairly steep.) From the top of the ridge, look back and to the left for the great views. Continue following the yellow trail across the ridge line. You pass the remains of two open pit mines, one to the right and one to the left. Enjoy the views back over your left shoulder. Continue with the yellow trail as it turns to the left and descends through the woods. You reach an intersection with an orange trail by a huge boulder to your right (Waypoint 8). Follow the directions from Waypoint 8.
If you wish to visit the Roomy Mine (a 10-minute round trip), turn right at Waypoint 7 and follow the orange trail. (The mine is closed September-April for the protection of the bats that hibernate in the winter.) Retrace your steps to Waypoint 7. Turn right onto the orange trail and rejoin the main walk.