Pyramid Mountain Natural Historic Area

Park Overview:

The area features unusual glacial erratics, dramatic rock outcrops, extensive wetlands, waterfalls, and several scenic overlooks – including views of the Manhattan skyline. How about Tripod Rock, a 160-ton boulder resting atop three smaller boulders?

Trail Uses:Hiking, X-C skiing
Dogs:Dogs on leash
Trail Miles:30 miles
Park Acreage:1500 acres
Buy Trail Map:Jersey Highlands: Central North Region Trails Map
Web Map:Morris County Park Commission trail map
Buy Book:Hiking the Jersey Highlands - Illustrated Guide

Trail Conference volunteers maintain trails in this park.
Park Description:

Pyramid Mountain Natural Historic Area encompasses Pyramid and Turkey mountains in Kinnelon, Boonton and Montville.  Its features include unusual glacial erratics, dramatic rock outcrops, extensive wetlands and waterfalls.  The two most remarkable erratics in the area are Bear Rock, one of the largest in the state, and Tripod Rock, a 160-ton boulder perched atop three smaller boulders.

Trails Overview:

The nearly 30 miles of marked trails provide opportunities to experience expansive views from flat-topped ridges, visit glacial erratics, see waterfalls and observe wetlands.  The Visitors Center is a starting point for loop hikes.  There are more than a dozen trails in Pyramid Mountain and [just across Boonton Ave, County 511] in Turkey Mountain, ranging from 0.7 to 7.3 miles.  Several new trails were added to the park in 2008/09, including a 1.2-mile white-blazed trail, plus a black-dot trail and yellow-blazed trail, with a combined length of 2.8 miles.  The longer of these two runs from Powerville Road in Boonton Township to Bear Rock at Pyramid Mountain.

Click for detailed descriptions of hikes in the park (GPS trailhead coordinates are included)


  • From I-287 North:  Take Exit 45 (Wootton Street). Proceed to the stop sign and turn left onto Wootton Street. Pass under the highway. Go through the light and up the hill to the 4-way stop sign. Turn right onto Boonton Avenue (County Road 511). After approximately 2¾ miles, turn left into Pyramid Mountain entrance.
  • From I-287 South: Take  Exit 47 (Montville/Lincoln Park) and turn left at the bottom of the ramp onto Main Road (Route 202). In 0.6 mile, just before reaching a fire station, turn right onto Taylortown Road and continue for 1.8 miles to Boonton Avenue (County Route 511). Turn right and continue for 0.7 mile to the entrance to the Pyramid Mountain County Park Natural Historic Area, on the left, opposite Mars Park.
  • From Route 23 traveling north:  In Butler, take Boonton Avenue [County Road 511 South]. Follow 4.4 miles past Taylortown Reservoir on your right. Turn right into Pyramid Mountain entrance.
  • Public transportation:  NJ Transit bus #194 to the Meadtown Shopping Center [NJ 23 & Kinnelon Road in Butler].  To walk to Butler-Montville Trail [blue] proceed south for 0.1 mile on Kinnelon Road, then continue on Kakeout Road for 0.6 mile to Bubbling Brook Road. 
Contact Information:Morris County Park Commission
Region:Morris County

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

Getting lost on Y-trail

Having hiked Pyramid Mountain a few years ago without problem was looking forward to coming back.  But the yellow marks were too messy to follow.  At one place there were trees with yellow marks on two different paths in front of us.  We got lost following the yellow marks, and wound up on Stony Brook Road on the other side of Turkey Mountain.   Called Park Police, they couldn't help us because we were on the other side of the road outside the park.  Transferred our call to Montville Police.  Little while later patrolman Y came, took our names, phone #s, addresses, and told us there was nothing he could do to help us.  Except he gave us directions to walk back on our own.  Which we did, some four or five miles around the outside of the park on public roads facing oncoming traffic.  But when we got back to our car he was sweet enough to be there, making sure we had survived our walk!  My friend was in pain but showed great spirit through the ordeal.      

Pyramid Mtn Yellow Trail

In checking with our Pyramid Trail Supervisor,   we believe you may have become confused in an area where the yellow and green trails are jointly blazed leading to the falls.  At that point the yellow trail goes around the falls and out to Stoneybrook Rd.  If, at the junction of these two trails, had they gone "Right", back to the visitors center on the yellow trail instead of straight on the combined yellow and green trails, they would have returned to the Pyramid Mt. parking lot - the trails are clearly marked as are the maps.  The Maps are well maintained and show all the trails.  The maps are available at the kiosk in parking lot as well as in the Visitor Center.  Sorry that you had to deal with a long road walk. 

Hiking Kincaid Woods!

Check out a description at of a great hike in Morris County's Kincaid Woods!Packed with Photos!!

From the "Forums/Hike Recommendations" page


Trails with spring wildflowers

On March 19th, 2009 arnabbanerjee asked:

Which are the trails to view best spring wildflowers? Can anyone let me know the best ones and timings where one should go? I am expecting the flowers to be coming out from mid-april or so. Any recommendations will be very useful Thanks


wildflower hikes

On March 23rd, 2009 gpettypoet replied:

I can answer for the New Jersey Highlands wildflower walks. If you want a prepared short wildflower walk with examples of most wildflowers in each season, try the one at Morris County Tourne Park in Mountain Lakes NJ., tended with great care by the Rockaway Valley Garden Club. The Land Conservancy also has a tended wildflower plot in back of their headquarters in Montville. If you want a hike with some wildflowers along the way, the answer is more complicated. For good early spring flowers (April 15 to May 3) try a hike from Weis Ecology Center [Editor's note: located in Norvin Green State Forest] out the W trail along Blue Mine Brook up to the old farm foundations, then back on the Green Trail to the Red Dot Trail out to the Blue Mine. Come back to Weis with a detour up the yellow Dot Trail in back of the Roomy Mine to catch a fine patch of columbine. In all seasons, the Pyramid Mountain Natural Historic Area in Montville white trail has very good flowers. The Ryker Lake trails are also good in early spring, but the loop around the lake is blocked by a beaver dam at the north end. Better still, sign up for one of my wildflower hikes from Weis Ecology Center. Even better, get a copy of my Hiking The Jersey Highlands; it pays special attention to wildflowers along Highlands Trails. You can order it on this website. GPetty.

From the "Forums/Hike Recommendations" page

On August 11th, 2009 DaveH84 says:

Pyramid Mountain trail descriptions please?

Hi, I'd like to do a hike on pyramid mountain, and while I like to just strike out and explore new territory, I'll probably be bringing other people and therefore should have some idea what to expect and where to go. I haven't checked but I have the trail map set for north jersey and I believe the mountain is on there. I was wondering if anyone could give me some mileage, difficulty ratings, and an overview of the hike. (i'm not sure if there are multiple trails or just one big loop). Alone I'll hike anything, but if I do bring my friends I would be looking for a 5 maybe 6 mile hike, easy-moderate, with at least one decent destination for people to take pictures or whatever. If this kind of hike is not possible there, then I would still appreciate a description of any kind and I'll just save the hike for when I'm not bringing rookies.

From the "Forums/Hike Recommendations" page


On August 12th, 2009 Estelle replied:

Pyramid Mountain

Hi  Dave, above is the link to the TC web page for Pyramid, the trails there are not in our North Jersey Map set.  They will be in a new mapset that's in the works.  The  Pyramid Mtn Visitor Center has a trail map available, newly revised. If you can't pick it up prior to your hike, you can easily figure out a loop hike once you get there.  I'm not familiar with the trails so can't recommend anything, but there are a couple of new trails that extend away from the Center; you can park a car at Kincaid Rd and Powerville Rd and hike through if you wanted a longer hike.  There are people at the Center that can help you.   It is a good place for rookie hikers.   Also, there's the Tourne in Mountain Lakes, one big hill with really great views, a wildflower trail, and then you can hike on all the other trails to get a longer hike out of it.  There's a very large beaver dam with their newly created lake along one trail.  Maps at the kiosks.  

From the "Forums/Hike Recommendations" page


On August 21st, 2009 keberts replied:

Pyramid loops

Hi Dave, I am very familiar with Pyramid. There is a fairly extensive trail system, so you will need a map (usually freely available in the lot). By far the most popular hike takes you past Tripod Rock - I would recommend this for your first visit, but note that this is a very popular destination on weekends especially, so expect crowds. If you're looking for something quieter, you can try crossing the road and hiking Turkey Mtn, although there is somewhat less to see there (the view of Lk Valhalla is nice though). As for your desired distance, you can probably hit 5 miles or so without crossing the road. It's tough to hit all the interesting spots without retracing your steps a bit, but it wouldn't be too bad. For a ~5 mile hike (may be a bit shorter actually), I'd recommend starting at the lot and walking the lower trail (sorry, I don't have a map handy so you'll have to go by my landmarks) NE along the reservoir (there is a nice piney outcropping with a view of the reservoir along this trail), then cutting back up the mtn and to the SW to visit Tripod Rock. From there I would head back the way you came a take a left at the start of the red trail (I think!) which cuts across to another interesting glacial erratic called Whaleshead (on your left) then ultimately reaches a T where you will turn left towards Bear Swamp and Bear Rock. Beyond Bear Rock, I usually return to the lot via the power cut to look for hawks and dragonflies, but there is an alternative trail I believe if the power lines bother you. If you still have energy, cross the road an walk the "hundred steps" up to some stone ruins on Turkey mountain, then I'd recommend looking for that southward view of Lake Valhalla. Enjoy!