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Pequannock Knob Loop via Blue and Yellow Trails
This loop hike climbs to a panoramic viewpoint over northern New Jersey and the New York City skyline.
Allowed on leash
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Trail Conference volunteers maintain trails in this park.
Driving DirectionsTake I-287 South to Exit 52 (Riverdale/Wayne/Butler) and bear left at the fork to continue on NJ 23 South. In 0.6 mile, turn right onto County Alt. 511, then immediately turn right again onto West Parkway. In 0.7 mile, turn right onto Mountain Avenue, and continue for 0.9 mile (passing under I-287) to a dead-end at the parking area for Mountainside Park.
From the kiosk at the northern end of the parking area, climb wooden steps, following the joint route of the Blue and Yellow Trails. Almost immediately, the Yellow Trail goes off to the left. This will be your return route, but continue ahead on the Blue Trail, which first parallels the noisy I-287, but soon bears left, away from the highway, and climbs the hillside. After passing a rock outcrop on the right, you’ll reach a T-intersection with the Red Trail.
Turn right, now following both blue and red blazes, and descend, soon reaching another T-intersection. Here, the Red Trail turns right, but you should turn left to continue on the Blue Trail, which climbs a little to reach a limited east-facing viewpoint (when there are no leaves on the trees) from a rock outcrop on the right. The trail dips down, climbs to another seasonal viewpoint, then descends steadily.
After crossing a stream on rocks, you’ll come to a junction where the Orange Trail begins on the left. Continue ahead on the Blue Trail, which follows a contour around a hill, once again approaching I-287, but soon swings away from it. Soon, you’ll reach another junction, where the Orange Trail joins from the left. Turn right, following both blue and orange blazes, and cross a wooden footbridge over a stream, then immediately turn left, continuing to follow the Blue Trail, as the Orange Trail proceeds straight ahead.
The Blue Trail climbs steeply, paralleling the edge of a ravine, with cascades in the stream below. It then turns right, passing a shelter on the left, and crosses a gravel road (the route of the Orange Trail) diagonally to the left. A short distance beyond, the Blue Trail bears left and begins a steady, steep climb. A short level section provides a brief respite, but the trail soon resumes its steep climb.
As the trail approaches the top of Pequannock Knob, it turns sharply left. Here, a rock outcrop just off the trail to the right offers an unobstructed panoramic view over northern New Jersey, with the New York City skyline visible on the horizon. After climbing some more, you’ll reach the summit of the knob, where the Blue Trail ends. Benches placed on either side of the summit invite you to rest and enjoy the spectacular views. To the east, you can see the New York City skyline, and Cedar Crest Village (a retirement community) is visible below to the west.
When you’re ready to continue, descend from the summit on the Yellow Trail, which begins by going down rather steeply, then turns left at the point of a switchback and continues to descend more moderately. At the base of the descent, you’ll cross a dirt road (the route of the Orange Trail), but continue ahead on the Yellow Trail. Soon the Orange Trail joins from the right, and you should continue ahead, now following both yellow and orange blazes.
The trail now descends along the edge of a ravine, with a stream below to the right. This tranquil, peaceful setting is far removed from the traffic on I-287! The trail turns right to cross the stream on a wooden footbridge and climbs steadily to the crest of a rise. Here, the Orange Trail leaves to the right, but you should bear left to continue on the Yellow Trail.
The Yellow Trail descends gradually, passing between a rock outcrop on the left and a vernal pond on the right, then crosses the outlet of the pond. Just beyond, the Red Trail joins from the right, and you should continue ahead, following both yellow and red blazes.
After descending some more, the Red Trail turns off to the left. You should bear right to continue along the Yellow Trail, which climbs to skirt a huge rock outcrop and then descends through a valley. After passing a dramatic cliff on the right, the Yellow Trail ends at the trailhead parking area where the hike began.
To view a photo collection for this hike, click here.