Ramapo State Park Ride

The Van Slyke Castle Water TowerRamapo State Park.

This weekend was my first attempt at trail riding since I broke my leg back in March. My intention was to ride the path around the lake from the top of Skyline down to, and around the lake and then back up to Skyline Drive. I went with a friend who was a bit of a newbie.  I figured he would keep me from trying anything too stupid. But while riding we decided to try some  singletrack. Our first foray off-road was a section of the cannonball near Skyline Drive.

It felt good to be riding single-track again, but my ankle gave me a reminder that I was not fully healed every time my back wheel hit a rock or root.

So we got back on a paved road and pedaled down to and around the lake. About half way around we spotted the trail head to the lower section of the Cannonball. This part of the Trail takes you to the 287 overpass.
About 1/2 way down, we decided to turn around and get back to the fire-road. This part of the trail was a bit much for my first trail ride after 6 months. And worse yet my friends first mountain bike ride ever.
After a loop around the lake, we were back at the cannonball trail head. Not wanting to do the same loop again, we turned around and started up the Green trail which led us out to the pipeline. The pipeline trail is a rolling section of single-track that goes on for miles. It has some steep rocky loose sections which can be difficult to climb. The pipeline intersects with the Green, Blue, Orange and White trails.
We rode the pipeline trail for about a mile, not really sure where we were going (or where we were for that matter). But with a sense of adventure we continued on. We rode the rolling trail (trudging up the climbs and smiling down the descents) Past the Blue trail finally turning back into the woods at the White Trail (Castle Point)
As soon as we got on the trail we had to dismount. The incline was steep and made up of slabs of rock and boulders. The Castle point Trail is not open to bikes and is only open to foot traffic. This was difficult hike-a-bike terrain and with every step my ankle was letting me know that this was not my finest idea, but we continued on.
About a 1/2 mile in, we came upon the Van Slyke Castle ruins. (Built in the early 1900’s it was abandoned in the 1950 and later burned by vandals in 1959) The ruins and the views of the area 350 feet below made the effort well worth it.
The hike from the ruins back to Ramapo Lake was difficult at times we had to hand our bikes down to one another. There were a few ride-able sections, which provided some relief for my ankle and soon we were back at the fire road that encircles the lake.
We rode the Cannonball back up to Skyline this is a challenging trail with plenty of obstacles and switchbacks definitely more fun to ride down.
(If you can ride up this trail clean without dabbing pat yourself on the back)
All in all I would say my 1st mountain bike ride was a success.

Map of the Ride

Pictures From the Ride

Castle Point Trail Ramapo State Park

View from Castle Point Trail Looking at the Wanaque Reservoir

Castle Point Ramapo Lake View

Castle Point Ramapo Lake View

Trail back to Ramapo Lake from the top of Castle Point Trail

Trail back to Ramapo Lake from the top of Castle Point Trail

The Van Slyke Castle Ruins

The Van Slyke Castle Ruins

The Van Slyke Castle Water Tower

The Van Slyke Castle Water Tower

The Pipeline trail

The Pipeline trail

 

Want to do this ride Start here:
Trailhead GPS Coordinates 41.047479, -74.251313

Driving Directions
Take Interstate Route 287 to Exit 57 (Skyline Drive) and proceed north on Skyline Drive for about one mile to the upper parking area for Ramapo Mountain State Forest on the left side of the road

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