From NY State Thruway I-87 exit 15A . After exit make left at light and go about a half-mile until you see signs for Ringwood/West Milford. Make a right onto Sloatsburg Rd. and follow for about 4-5 miles until you see entrance on left for Ringwood, Skylands. Park in lot A, B or C. Ride your bike to Shepherd Lake (back to tollgate and turn right) if you want to start your ride there.In New Jersey take Route 287 to exit 57, follow signs to Ringwood State Park.
The extensive network of trails at Ringwood State Park are well known to area mountain bikers. The park is also home to the State Botanical Garden, historical Ringwood and Skylands Manor and the Shepherd Lake recreation area. This region of northern New Jersey and southern New York contains rugged hills that are the eroded remnants of an ancient mountain range. A glacial retreat after the last ice age, around 10,000 years ago, helped to shape the landscape and left veins of hardrock iron ore. Iron ore, timber for charcoal and fuel and water for powering machinery are the natural resources that were vital to the early iron industry.
The park provides a multitude of recreational activities. The Botanical Garden contains an extensive variety of plants, evergreens and deciduous trees and shrubs. Extensive vistas of the gardens and views of the Ramapo Mountains frame this 96-acre botanical showcase.
The spring-fed waters of 74-acre Shepherd Lake are available for swimming, fising, boating and canoeing. There is a bathhouse, concession with refreshments and beach supplies and boat rentals. There are also picnic tables along the lake shore providing great views and easy access to the beach and boat rentals. Trails and old carriage roads surround the lake and lead to rocky vistas.
Multi-use trails are available in the Skylands section of the park. These are unimproved (rocky and eroded) carriage roads used for hiking, horseback riding and mountain biking. Park management and policies here are bike-friendly allowing singletrack trails to be identified and designated. There are
Most of the trail system is intermediate to advanced. Some of the multi-use trails are easier. Please obey all designated uses posted for the trails.
Mountain Bike Race Loop: A 7.5 mile mountain bike loop trail begins in the Shepherd Lake section at the remote Northern end of the park. It is marked by RVCC (Ramapo Valley Cycling Club) blazes, is rated difficult and is used for NORBA sanctioned races. The well-designed XC race course travels over some of the best of Ringwood's rugged, rocky singletrack requiring a series of challenging, switchback hill climbs and tricky descents.
Suggested: For an easier bike ride and tour of the botanical gardens start in parking lot C. Follow Swan Pond Road from the upper right-hand corner of the lot. Bear left on the white-blazed trail. This will take you past Crab Apple Vista, Swan Pond, the Wildflower and Bog Gardens, past the inner park and back to East Cottage Rd. and the Carriage House (around 2 miles).
It is easy to get lost in this park so carry a map. Detailed topographical trail maps are available at the Park office. There are enough trail users out there, especially on weekends, to help (if they are not lost themselves!).
Ringwood Manor house
Iron production in the area began in the 1740s by the Ringwood Company. The company placed a dam on the Ringwood River, harnessing water power for the blast furnace and forges. In the mid 19th century the Ringwood Manor estate passed to Abram S. Hewitt, America’s foremost ironmaster. It is now part of a National Historic Landmark District.
Skylands manor House & Botanical Gardens
Skylands Manor is an historically accurate reproduction of an English mansion common 400 years ago. It is set among formal gardens and specimen plantings. The estate was built in the 1920s for Clarence McKenzie Lewis, a stockbroker and civil engineer. The estate is the focal point of the State Botanical Garden, overlooking the countryside. Tours of both Ringwood and Skylands Manor are available.
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Ringwood State Park: