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Winter hiking at Ramapo Valley County Reservation

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Saturday, temperatures in Bergen County hit 50 degrees. This was a big deal for the tri-state area, which has been experiencing temperatures in the teens almost all winter. People abandoned their couches, blankets and televisions and headed outside to celebrate the early teasing of spring.

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If you live in Bergen County one of the best places to enjoy the outdoors is the Ramapo Reservation in Mahwah, New Jersey. The reservation is a 3313 acre county park, open to the public, with about 19 walkable miles of trails. It has a great mix of easy walkable trails perfect for an afternoon stroll to more strenuous hikes for an all day excursion.

The snow on the ground in Northern New Jersey did not deter people from flocking to the park Saturday afternoon for a day of hiking. People and dogs of all sizes took to the trails to walk around Scarlet Oak Pond, a easy stroll that you can complete with kids of any ages.

After parking the car and heading over the first bridge in the park you go straight to stroll around the pond, but if you take a left you can follow the worn out snow path for a great hike along the creek. This hike stays mostly flat with few hilly inclines for the majority of the way. It will wind you into the woods and over a picturesque little wooden bridge bringing you to a little abandoned stone house. The path to the right will take you up for a more strenuous hike to the towards the top of the mountain. The path to the left will take you on a great little loop and back to the starting point. The loop trail will take you roughly an hour and a half to complete. A perfect afternoon outing.

The trails are still covered in snow and the pond still layered with a sheet of ice so an afternoon at the reservation will be beautiful. But be prepared to get your shoes a little dirty and dog's paws a little wet. Wear old sneakers or hiking shoes, warm socks and bundle up when you get out there to enjoy all the park has to offer this winter.


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