ElevationAscent: 575' 175 m
Descent: -569' -173 m
High: 801' 244 m
Low: 246' 75 m
GradeAvg Grade: 7% (4°)
Max Grade: 22% (12°)
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“Waterfall, views of NYC, and wild cactus... what more could a trail offer?”— Joshua Howard
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.
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