Sterling Forest

A go-to trail system for NYC, loaded with plenty of fun features.

Mountain Biking Difficult

Distance
13 km
Ascent
298 m
Descent
298 m
Duration
1-2 hrs
Low Point
207 m
High Point
334 m
Gradient
Sterling Forest Map

Located just 15 minutes off of the interstate, and within an hour of most suburbs, Sterling Forest is one of the best year-round trails in southern NJ. With plenty of technical lines, beautiful forests, tree gates, and dramatic rock formations, this is one ride that will never get old.

Description

Officially completed in 2018, this 7-mile loop has been in the works for a long time. From their press release, the NY/NJ Trail Conference states that over 13,000 hours have been logged between volunteers and Conservation Corps members.

"'I hope the trail feels native underfoot as it unfolds before you and your mind soars away from troubles to focus on the moment and the language of the trail, however it speaks to you,' says Trail Conference Field Manager Erik Mickelson, who designed and built the trail," according to the press release.

There are two common ways to access this loop: the South Gate Lot and Caretaker Lot off Long Meadow Road. Beginning at the Caretaker lot, take the trail around the lake to the first intersection.

The loop can be ridden in either direction. Clockwise, you'll enjoy the Munsee-Eagle Trail first—the last section to be completed, and arguably the most fun. This trail is renowned for its rock work and will have you grinning the entire way. Look for optional lines across rock spines and down slabs, as well several rock bridges as the trail traverses through the valley. A section named "Floworks 17" rounds out this portion with a screaming fun descent.

The return trip is a mixture of singletrack and doubletrack, mostly uphill, connecting Red Back to Hutchinson. If you are riding the loop clockwise, you will quickly understand how this loop could be fun in either direction. Reversed, Red Back is a screaming fast downhill—one of the best around.

Head north on Hutchinson to finish up your ride from the Caretaker Lot. Before heading home, stop through Sloatsburg for some grub. Both the local tavern and brewpub are popular hubs after a day on the trail.

Sources: https://www.nynjtc.org/news/new-7mile-multiuse-trail-loop-opens-sterling-forest

Difficulty

Difficult

Mostly stable trail tread with some variability featuring larger and more unavoidable obstacles that may include, but not be limited to: bigger stones, roots, steps, and narrow curves. Compared to lower intermediate, technical difficulty is more advanced and grades of slopes are steeper. Ideal for upper intermediate riders.

High Exposure

3 out of 4

Some trail sections have exposed ledges or steep ascents/descents where falling could cause serious injury.

Remoteness

2 out of 4

Away from help but easily accessed.

Best time to visit

January, February, March, April, May, June, July, August, September, October, November, December

Features

  • Flow
  • Technical
  • Picturesque
  • Singletrack
  • In the forest
  • Wet-weather friendly
  • Drops
  • Roots
  • Rock Rolls
  • Rock Slabs
  • Rock Gardens

Similar routes nearby

Guidebooks in this area