Monksville Reservoir is adjacent to the Long Pond Iron Works, a colonial iron furnace, and is near Ringwood State Park. The Monksville Reservoir was built and flooded in the late 1980s, and its dam forms the head of the older and larger Wanaque Reservoir, which is off-limits to paddlers. The Monksville is open to paddle, sail, and power boats under 10 hp. The reservoir is horseshoe-shaped and is about 2-3 miles long. The shores, by New Jersey standards, are undeveloped, with only one residence, a boat house, a county road bridge, and the dam visible along its shores. Power lines also cross the lake. The water is clean; the shores are forested and often rocky.
My wife and I explored most of the lake in our 21' triple person kayak. Two hours in the boat got us down 3/4 of the length of the lake and back. Allow 3-4 hours if planning a leisurely circumnavigation of this lake. Most memorable was a portion in the northwest corner, north of the bridge, where a standing forest was flooded. Paddling between the now-weathered trunks was a memorable experience.
Mostly, this lake is enjoyable due to the relatively quite setting; we noticed only the occasional small outboard shuttling sportfisherman. For a place less than an hour from Manhattan, that is remarkable. This a great day trip for folks in the NY/NJ metro area. Mostly sheltered water for those with kids or seeking a calm setting. For fisherman, the fishing is reputed to be good, check with a local tackle shop for specifics (Monksville Bait Sport & Tackle Shop, 1141 Greenwood Lake Turnpike, Ringwood, NJ 07456 (973) 728-5154)
The Monksville Reservoir is State-Owned. The office at the nearby Ringwood State Park ((973) 962-7031) should be able to answer questions.
The launching ramp and parking lot are paved and there is a single dock adjacent. Two very short stretches of shoreline adjacent either side of the ramp are suitable for launching paddle craft. A portable restroom was nearby on our visit. A boat rental w/ both fishing boats and kayaks is located on Beech Road near the northern terminus of the lake. A bagel store, gas station, tackle shop, and German food Store/restaurant are located at Margaret King Ave and Route 511 less than one mile from the Reservoir.
From the north: New York Route 17 to Sloatsburg Road, Sloatsburg Road south across the NJ State Line to Margaret King Avenue (at the baseball fields), right on Margaret King Avenue to end at Greenwood Lake Turnpike (County Route 511), launch ramp entrance is across from Beech Road.
From the South: Interstate 287 to Skyline Drive in Oakland, NJ; Skyline Drive north into Ringwood to end; right onto Greenwood Lake Turnpike (county Route 511).