Ringwood State Park


Ringwood State Park, located in the heart of the Ramapo Mountains, lies in Passaic and Bergen Counties near the town of Ringwood. Easily accessible from exit 57 off Route 287, the park provides visitors with a multitude of recreational activities.


The present day Ringwood State Park consists of some of the original land and buildings of the once flourishing iron industry developed in 1740 by the Ringwood Company. By placing a dam on the Ringwood River, the company harnessed water power to operate a blast furnace and forges. Home for a succession of well known ironmasters for nearly 200 years, the estate passed to Abram S. Hewitt in the mid 19th century, America's foremost iron master. In 1936, Erskine Hewitt deeded the Ringwood Manor House and grounds to the State of New Jersey in order to preserve this historic property for posterity.

The Skylands Manor House and Gardens were built in the 1920's by Clarence MacKenzie Lewis, a New York City stockbroker and civil engineer, who made Skylands his summer home. In 1966, the 1,119 acres of the Skylands estate were bought by the State of New Jersey under the Green Acres program. The 541 acre tract, including Shepherd Lake, was acquired by the state in 1964 for recreational purposes. An additional 1,190 acres were added to the Skylands section of the park in 1995.

Features and Activities


Influenced by the iron industry, as well as the settlements, shops and farms that followed, Ringwood Manor is a large country estate that was the home of the wealthy and influential Hewitt family. Its current appearance, Gothic Revival with Classical Embellishments, reflects the last major period of development of the Manor. The barns, stables, other outbuildings and gardens that surrounded the estate supported the operations of the Manor and lifestyle of the owners. The Manor is open to the public Wednesday through Sunday year round and contains a valuable collection of American 19th Century paintings and furniture. Ringwood Manor has been designated as a National Historical Landmark District.


Skylands Manor is a historically accurate reproduction of an English mansion common in the countryside 400 years ago. Set among formal gardens and specimen plantings, the estate was originally built in the 1920s during the Tudor Revival period by Clarence McKenzie Lewis and rivaled wealthy land­owners' properties in New York City in it's day. Situated on 1,100 acres, it features large groups of rectangular, bay and oriel windows, and is the focal point of the State Botanical Garden which overlooks the countryside. The formal gardens are open to the public year round. The state's collection includes a spectacular assemblage of specimens, some of which even bloom in January and February. Popular settings include the Lilac Garden, Magnolia Walk, the Wild Flower Garden, Crabapple Vista, and the Perennial Garden. To preserve the beauty of these gardens, please stay on the designated paths and do not pick, remove or disturb any natural material.

Self-guided and guided tours of the gardens are available. For more information on these tours and tours of the manor, contact the Skylands Association at (973) 962-7527. Special events are offered on a monthly basis. Visitors are reminded that pets and picnicking are not permitted in the gardens.


A swimming area is available at Shepherd Lake Recreation Area during the period from Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day. The spring fed waters of the 74 acre lake are cool and invigorating. The area is staffed by lifeguards who are trained in lifesaving and first-aid techniques. Nearby are parking areas, bathhouses and a concession offering refreshments, novelties and beach supplies.

For the safety of our visitors, inner tubes, rafts or other flotation devices are not permitted in the swimming area. Swimming is allowed only when lifeguards are on duty.


A variety of fishing opportunities are available to anglers who visit Ringwood State Park. The Ringwood Brook is annually stocked with rainbow and brown trout. Fishing for rainbow and brown trout, largemouth bass, sunfish, pickerel and catfish can be especially rewarding on Shepherd Lake. Fishing is subject to New Jersey's Fish and Wildlife laws. Please refer to the most recent issue of the Wildlife Digest published by the Division of Fish and Wildlife.
A concession for trap and skeet shooting is available at the Shepherd Lake Day Use Area. It is open throughout the year. Contact the concession at (973) 962-6377 for details.


Rowboats, canoes and small sail­boats may be launched or rented at the Shepherd Lake Recreation Area. Coast Guard approved personal flotation devices are required for each occupant on the watercraft. Electric motors may be operated on Shepherd Lake; however, boats must be properly registered. For the safety of our visitors, swimming is permitted in the designated swimming area only; diving and swimming from boats is not permitted. For rates and rental information call the boat house at (973) 962-6999.


An intricate system of marked hiking trails are available for the public to explore, some of which connect the Ringwood and Skylands sections of the park. These trails offer visitors opportunities to explore interior woodlands and rocky vistas.


Multi-Use trails are available in the Skylands section of the park. These are the unimproved roads of the park which are suitable for horse­back riding, mountain biking, cross-country skiing and snowmobiling. Unless otherwise posted, most single track trails are designated as hiking trails only. Walkways and pathways around buildings are restricted to pedestrian use. Rollerblading is permitted in the park. Snowmobiling is subject to New Jersey's motor vehicle laws.


Hunting is permitted in designated areas of Ringwood State Park. Deer and a variety of small game are regularly taken and are subject to New Jersey's Fish and Wildlife laws.

Please refer to the most recent issue of the Wildlife Digest published by the New Jersey Division of Fish and Wildlife for further information.


Visitors can enjoy picnicking along the Ringwood Brook and at Shepherd Lake. Tables, grills, playground equipment and suitable areas for ballplaying are available at each site. Please do not picnic or ply ball in the Botanical Gardens

Alcohol is not permitted at any State park, forest, or recreation area.


The historic features and recreational facilities of Ringwood State Park are partially accessible for persons with disabilities. Please contact the park office at (973) 962-7031 for further information regarding disability access needs. Text telephone (TTY/TDD) users, please call the New Jersey Relay Service at (800) 852-7899.

The CARRY-IN/CARRY-OUT Program helps to eliminate trash by encouraging visitors to be good park stewards by placing their trash in bags provided throughout the park and taking it home for proper disposal. Thank you for your cooperation and please remember to recycle.

Home | Welcome | Business | Recreation | Government | Getting Here