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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.
Allowed on leash
Views, Public Transportation
Trail Conference volunteers maintain trails in this park.
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.
BusTake 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.