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Waterfall, views of NYC, and wild cactus... what more could a trail offer?

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801' 244 m


246' 75 m


575' 175 m


569' 173 m



Avg Grade (4°)


Max Grade (12°)

Dogs Leashed

Features Birding · Fall Colors · River/Creek · Views · Waterfall · Wildflowers · Wildlife


This trail follows the yellow blazes, potions of existing trails, as well as several newly built sections, created for the New Vista Loop Trail. ln 2016, volunteers of the New York-New Jersey Trail Conference designed the trail to visit three panoramic viewpoints, as well as other scenic features of the Ramapo Reservation. You’ll be following the yellow blazes for the entire loop.


The route begins at a kiosk in the southwest corner of the parking area. Just ahead, you'll see a triple yellow blaze on a tree, which marks the start of the Vista Loop Trail. Follow the yellow blazes as they descend wooden steps, join a wide dirt road, and continue ahead to cross the Ramapo River.

Follow the road, keeping the Scarlet Oak Pond on your right side. At the end of the pond, you’ll notice two sets of double yellow blazes on a tree, which mark the start of the loop. Turn right just past the pond and, on your left, the trail begins a steep climb to Hawk Rock.

The trail now bends to the left and continues to ascend, bearing left at a fork just ahead. After a steep, rocky climb, the trail levels off and soon emerges on an open rock ledge, with a panoramic view. On a clear day, the view from Cactus Ledge affords you the New York City skyline.

Beware of the many social trails in this section, as you continue to climb.

Near the crest of the rise, the trail briefly joins an old woods road. It turns right and climbs a little more, then levels off, with some minor ups and downs.

The trail is co-aligned with the the blue-blazed Ridge Loop trail for a short period and then departs off to the right. You'll descend the trail and quickly have another steep climb, which you'll be rewarded with views of the MacMillan Reservoir. The trail soon joins the pink Reservoir Trail, to the corner of the reservoir.

You'll briefly follow the old road, until the trail veers off into the woods and runs parallel the stream. This section of trail leads you to the waterfall. This beautiful stone step trail section was built in 2017-18 by an AmeriCorps trail crew of the New York-New Jersey Trail Conference. At the base of the descent, the Vista Loop Trail turns left and crosses the stream on a wooden bridge.

Follow the wide trail back to the intersection with Scarlet Pond.

The headquarters for the New York-New Jersey Trail Conference is next door to the Ramapo Reservation. The New York-New Jersey Trail Conference is a volunteer-powered organization that builds, maintains, and protects public trails. Together with their partners, they strive to ensure that the trails and natural areas we share are sustainable and accessible for all to enjoy for generations to come.

Flora & Fauna

Prickly pear cactus – the only native American cactus that grows east of the Rocky Mountains.


Shared By:

Joshua Howard

Trail Ratings

  4.0 from 5 votes


  4.0 from 5 votes
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in New Jersey


17 Views Last Month
2,015 Since Feb 1, 2019
Intermediate/Difficult Intermediate/Difficult



NYC skyline
Feb 1, 2019 near Mahwah, NJ
MacMillan Brook Waterfall
Oct 25, 2019 near Mahwah, NJ
*frozen* MacMillan Brook Waterfall
Oct 25, 2019 near Mahwah, NJ
MacMillan Reservoir, Ramapo Reservation
Oct 25, 2019 near Mahwah, NJ
Pond Loop, Ramapo Reservation
Oct 25, 2019 near Mahwah, NJ
Cactus on "Cactus Ledge"
Feb 1, 2019 near Mahwah, NJ



Current Trail Conditions

All Clear 28 days ago
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