Ringwood Skylands Manor Trail System: A Rock-Infused Cycling Adventure in New Jersey
An Insight into the Trail System
Situated in the vibrant vicinity of Ringwood, New Jersey, the Skylands Manor Trail System stands as a testament to the tenacity of the mountain biking community. Having witnessed riders from diverse backgrounds, from seasoned professionals to ambitious novices, the Ringwood trails have consistently pushed the limits, offering a unique blend of natural challenges and breathtaking vistas.
- Distance: 10 miles (though the area spans a much larger terrain)
- Level: Difficult
- Route Type: Network
- City: Ringwood
- State: New Jersey
Navigating to Skylands Manor
A seamless journey awaits those heading towards the Ringwood trails. Following Route 287 north and disembarking at exit 55 paves the way. From there, a serene drive through Wanaque for about 8-10 miles, circling the reservoir until the road bifurcates. Keeping right and advancing for another 1-2 miles will lead cyclists to the Skylands Manor and Botanical Gardens. Fellow riders, parking spaces, and the trail entrance can be spotted effortlessly, ensuring a smooth commencement of the thrilling adventure ahead.
Trail Highlights & Experiences
Several mountain biking aficionados have graced these trails, each sharing their unique experiences:
- Rock-Rich Landscape: A predominant feature is the abundance of rocks. Technical ascents, challenging descents, and rock gardens are common.
- Diverse Pathways: Ranging from open double tracks to intricate, rocky single tracks, the trail caters to those craving an authentic off-road experience. However, many riders have noted that navigation can be tricky, advising newcomers to be accompanied by regulars.
- Technical Demands: The trail demands superior skills. Challenges like crossing fallen trees elevated five feet from the ground and spanning 25 feet in length, showcase the trail's ability to test even the most experienced.
- Scenic Beauty: Amidst the technical challenges, moments of tranquility can be found, especially on the white section heading towards the botanical garden.
- Community Connection: Riders have found camaraderie here, with local groups often riding on weekends, ready to guide newcomers through the trail's intricacies.
Words of Caution
While the appeal of Ringwood is undeniable, caution is advised:
- Not Beginner-Friendly: The technical demands, including rocky terrains and steep drops, make this trail better suited for seasoned riders.
- Navigation: The vastness of the trail system can be overwhelming, with some riders finding themselves frequently checking maps or phones. Therefore, a guide or local expertise is invaluable.
- Safety First: Riding in groups has been a common recommendation, ensuring both fun and security.
The Ringwood Skylands Manor Trail System is a diamond in the rough, awaiting discovery by those willing to accept its challenges. Offering a mix of technical tests, communal bonds, and scenic serenity, it stands as a must-visit destination for every mountain biking enthusiast in and around New Jersey. Ready for the ride?