Pyramid Mountain and Kakeout Reservoir from Kakeout Road in Kinnelon


This loop hike follows a scenic path along the shore of the Kakeout Reservoir and climbs Pyramid Mountain, passing two unusual glacial erratics - Bear Rock and Tripod Rock - on the way.

5 hours
8.7 miles
Route Type:
Allowed on leash
Views, Public Transportation
First Published:

Daniel Chazin


Tripod Rock


View Pyramid Mountain Parklng in a larger map

Trail Conference volunteers maintain trails in this park.
Trailhead GPS Coordinates
Driving Directions

Take NJ 23 to Butler and get off at the exit for Boonton Avenue (County 511) south. (If you are proceeding west on NJ 23, you'll have to make a U-turn at a jughandle and take NJ 23 east to reach this turnoff.) Proceed south on Boonton Avenue for 0.2 mile and turn right onto Kakeout Road. In another 0.2 mile, Kakeout Road makes a sharp turn to the right. Continue on Kakeout Road for 0.8 mile beyond this turn and turn right onto Cascade Way. Street parking is available along Cascade Way.

Take NJ Transit bus #194 from the Port Authority Bus Terminal in New York City to the Meadtown Shopping Center, at the intersection of NJ 23 and Kinnelon Road in Kinnelon. To reach the trailhead from the northern end of the parking lot at the shopping center, proceed west for 0.1 mile on Kiel Road, then turn left onto Kakeout Road  and continue for 0.5 mile to Bubbling Brook Road.

Return to the intersection of Cascade Way and Kakeout Road, cross Kakeout Road, and continue ahead on paved Bubbling Brook Road. In about 800 feet, you’ll reach a gate across the road, which is usually locked. Here, the blue-blazed Butler-Montville Trail begins. Continue following the paved road along a stream, soon passing a large pile of wood chips on the left. Just beyond, it goes by a brick building, with a breached concrete spillway across the stream. The pavement ends at 0.4 mile, where the blue-on-white-blazed Butler Connecting Trail leaves to the left, crossing a dam/causeway (this will be your return route). Continue straight ahead on the blue-blazed trail, which now becomes a narrow footpath.

For the next mile, the Butler-Montville Trail follows close to the shore of the Kakeout Reservoir (also known as the Butler Reservoir), which is dotted with white pines. This portion of the hike is particular scenic. After following the western arm of the reservoir, the trail briefly runs along Stone House Brook, then crosses a wooden footbridge over the brook and crosses several wet areas on puncheons.

About two miles from the start, the trail crosses Fayson Lake Road. In another half mile, after passing through an area with many fallen trees, the trail descends to cross a small stream and proceeds through a meadow, where it bears left and continues along a woods road. (Look carefully for the blue blazes here.) The trail takes the left fork at two Y intersections and climbs through barberry thickets to reach Miller Road, opposite the Shepard School. It turns right and runs along the paved road for about 500 feet, then turns right at a gate and descends on a woods road. At the base of the descent, the trail bears left, leaving the woods road, and climbs to Miller Road.

Three miles from the start, the trail crosses Miller Road diagonally to the right, passes between two houses, and continues on a woods road. After descending to cross a wet area on a long wooden bridge, it meanders across the valley floor, then turns right and heads south on a woods road, paralleling Bear House Brook on the right. The trail now enters a more pristine area. Soon, the Red-on-White Trail begins on the left, and the blue-blazed Butler-Montville Trail bears right and crosses the brook on a wooden footbridge.

The Butler-Montville Trail continues along the side of the hill, with the brook below, then descends to the level of the brook, which widens to form Bear Swamp. Finally, the trail reaches Bear Rock, a huge glacial erratic. You’ll want to stop here and take a few minutes to explore this massive rock, which has been a local landmark for centuries.

When you’re ready to continue, turn left -- now following yellow, blue and white blazes -- and cross the brook on a wooden bridge. Soon, the Yellow Trail leaves to the right, but you should continue ahead on the blue/white trail, which heads north through a rocky area, parallel to Bear Swamp. Soon, the trail bears right and climbs steeply through a stand of mountain laurel.

After a brief descent, the trail reaches a T-intersection. Turn left here, now following the white blazes of the Kinnelon-Boonton Trail. In 400 feet, you’ll reach Tripod Rock -- a glacial erratic perched on three smaller boulders. This unusual feature helped galvanize public support to preserve the mountain when it was threatened with development. You’ve now gone about halfway, and this is a good place to take another break.

Continue heading north on the white trail. In about half a mile, you’ll pass the other end of the Red-on-White Trail on the left (the junction is marked with a cairn). The Kinnelon-Boonton Trail now descends to reach a junction with the Orange Trail. Turn right and follow the Orange Trail for 100 feet to an east-facing viewpoint, then return to the white-blazed trail and turn right. The trail now descends more steeply. At the base of the descent, the trail crosses a stream and reaches a junction with the Green Trail, which begins on the right.

The white-blazed trail now climbs steeply to the crest of the ridge, where it bears right and begins a gradual descent, passing close to the backyards of homes. At the base of the descent, It turns left and ascends along a stream. The trail emerges onto paved Reality Drive. It turns left onto the road, then immediately bears right at a fork and continues ahead onto Glen Rock Drive. After passing Lynnbrook Road on the left, the trail turns right onto Brentwood Drive, then again turns right onto Lakeview Drive. The trail follows Lakeview Drive for about 300 feet, then turns left and re-enters the woods.

After climbing a rise, the Kinnelon-Boonton Trail bears right onto a woods road that parallels the paved road. When it reaches Fayson Lake Road in 0.3 mile, the trail turns left and follows along the road for 250 feet, then turns right onto Toboggan Trail (a paved road, not a trail). As the road curves to the right just beyond its intersection with West Crest Trail, the Kinnelon-Boonton Trail turns left, leaving the paved road. It turns right onto a woods road and descends. After crossing another woods road, the trail approaches the shore of the Kakeout Reservoir. It crosses a dike of the reservoir, turns right, then bears left and reenters the woods, ascending gradually along an old woods road. 

At the crest of the hill, the trail turns left, leaving the road, and descends. It soon turns right and reaches a junction with the blue-on-white-blazed Butler Connecting Trail. Turn left and follow this blue-on-white trail downhill. After traversing a rocky area and turning right on a woods road, the trail reaches the dam of the reservoir. Turn left, cross the dam, then turn right onto the blue-blazed trail to return to the trailhead and your car.

Comment: Please be relevant, civil, non-commercial.

boy was this confusing

When you get to the "meadows" before Miller Road, there are no trails and no blazes.  You can hear cars on the road and follow that.  When you pass the school and go off road at the gate, there are no blazes past the gate.  We opted to walk up Miller Road til we found the blazes on the left side of the road, which were partly covered in vegetation.  Also, 2 typos:  when you come back from the Orange Trail, make a right onto the white blazed trail, and the distance along Lakeview before you turn into the woods is more like 100 feet.  Most of this hike is well marked and well maintained.

Trail through the meadows

I do agree that the trail through the meadows before reaching Miller Road is not well blazed and somewhat diffcult to follow.  However, using the above description, I was able to follow it on a recent hike.  As you mention, the idea is to climb up to the road, so if you hear the sound of cars and proceed in that direction, you will eventually reach the road.  It is also true that the first part of the woods road past the gate is poorly blazed, but if you follow the road a little further, you will see some blazes, and the left turn off the road is marked with a double blaze if you look carefully.  I have corrected the first typo you pointed out.  As for the distance along Lakeview Road, I'm not sure of the preccise distance, so I have not changed that part of the descripton.  Thanks for your comments!

Trail Markers

This is a great hike but be aware that trail markers are either misleading or missing.  Shortly after crossing the first road the trail marker indicates a right turn but the trail actually goes left.  Also, there is no turn marker at the meadow and the trail is very overgrown is it's not obvious. We made a small rock cairn to indicate the turn.  When you do the longer road walk the marker on the street sign indicates a left turn but you actually go straight.  At two points where there is a hard left off the trail there is no marker for the turn and the marker for the new trail is approx. 50' into the trail.  This is a slight issue after the road walk by the church.  The turn to the BW trail toward the end is more obvious. 

Trail markers are accurate

I did this hike this past Monday (April 7, 2014). There are no misleading trail markers, and relatively few are "missing."  Your comment that "shortly after crossing the first road the trail marker indicates a right turn but the trail actually goes left" does not appear to be correct.  I think I know the location you are referring to.  There are blazes on the right side of the trail there, although the trail does turn left.  But there is a double blaze, with the upper blaze offset to the left -- which indicates that the trail turns left.  This was quite clear to me.  It is true that the blazing in the meadow leaves much to be desired, but the supervisor for the area has indicated to me that he tried to improve the blazing by installing posts, but the posts were ripped out by ATV users.  If you follow the hike directions, you should be able to get through this area without undue difficulty.  Otherwise, we found that the trail was generally very well marked, and we did not have any problem following the hike route as described above.

A long good workout

As we were going thru the trail, we were wondering if maybe we had chosen a easy trail, but the length of the trail more than made up for the lack of height ascents..We were in for a surprise waterfall (seemed seasonal too) right opposite Bear Rock. Tripod Rock was quite a site too..Maybe it was because we went a day immediately after rainfall, or otherwise, but be ready for some mosquitoes/flies in the area..Overall, a great hike, and we felt it was another day well spent

Great Directions

What a great hike! The Description is fantastic, very easy to follow. Thanks so much for posting, I would recommend this hike to anyone. Bear and Tripod Rock do not disappoint!!