Walk back to the entrance to the parking area and cross Boonton Avenue on a crosswalk just north of Mars Court. At a sign for “Turkey Mt. 100 Steps Trail,” the Yellow Trail begins. Follow this trail, which parallels the road at first, then crosses beneath overhead power lines. It bears right and follows a footpath through the woods, with the power lines on the right. At one point, it comes out...
Walk back to the entrance to the parking area and cross Boonton Avenue on a crosswalk just north of Mars Court. At a sign for “Turkey Mt. 100 Steps Trail,” the Yellow Trail begins. Follow this trail, which parallels the road at first, then crosses beneath overhead power lines. It bears right and follows a footpath through the woods, with the power lines on the right. At one point, it comes out at the power lines, crosses a wet area on puncheons, and then goes back into the woods..
After climbing gradually, the Yellow Trail again emerges onto the power line corridor and climbs more steeply. Soon, it ascends a series of rock steps, known as the “100 Steps,” with a west-facing view near the top of the climb.
Continue to follow the Yellow Trail along the ridge for about 300 feet to a junction with the Orange Dot Trail (black dot on orange), which begins on the right. Bear left to continue on the Yellow Trail, which descends a little and then climbs gradually, paralleling and crossing several old stone walls. At 0.8 mile, after passing a stone wall just to the right of the trail which marks the summit of Turkey Mountain (892 feet), the trail levels off. The Yellow Trail reaches a large cairn in a stand of cedars at 1.0 mile. Here, a short side trail leads up a rock outcrop (which offers a limited seasonal east-facing view. Turn left and follow the Yellow Trail as it descends on an old woods road.
At a T-intersection near the base of the descent, the Yellow Trail turns right, but you should turn left onto the Red Trail, which follows another woods road. The Red Trail crosses a stream on rocks, briefly parallels the stream, then skirts a wetland on the right. After paralleling North Valhalla Brook for a short distance, the trail reaches the paved Stony Brook Road. It turns right and crosses the brook on the highway bridge, then turns right again and reenters the woods. The trail now heads south on a footpath, with North Valhalla Brook below on the right and Stony Brook Road above on the left.
After crossing a small stream on a rock slab, the Red Trail turns right and briefly joins a woods road. It then climbs over a knoll and crosses a stream on rocks. A short distance beyond, the trail reaches a junction with a woods road. It turns right onto the road, with Turkey Mountain visible through the trees on the right. Soon, the trail crosses North Valhalla Brook on a footbridge and bears right, passing an attractive waterfall.
Just beyond the waterfall, the Red Trail ends at a junction with the Yellow Trail. Turn left onto the Yellow Trail. In a short distance, the Purple Dot Trail (black dot on purple) begins on the left at a large cairn. Continue ahead on the Yellow Trail, which climbs a little and follows a rocky footpath along the side of a hill.
After crossing a stream on rocks, the Yellow Trail turns left and crosses under the power lines. On the other side of the power lines, the Green Dot Trail (black dot on green) begins on the right, but you should turn left to continue on the Yellow Trail, which now descends.
In a short distance, you'll reach the rim of a long, narrow ravine. This ravine is a remnant of a quarry that operated in the mid-to-late nineteenth century, with the crushed rock being used to remove impurities from iron that was smelted in nearby Boonton. Although commonly referred to as "limestone," the rock extracted in this area is more correctly known as dolomitic marble. The Yellow Trail bears right and follows the rim of the ravine, descending gradually.
Towards the end of the ravine, the Yellow Trail bears right, crosses the ravine, and soon turns left onto a woods road. After crossing a footbridge over a stream, the trail continues along a section of the road improved by rocks and puncheons. At 3.1 miles, the Yellow Trail bears right at a double blaze, leaving the woods road, and begins to climb on a switchback.
Soon, a cairn on the right and a triple-white blaze on the left mark the start of the White Trail. Turn left onto the White Trail, which follows a rather steep and winding route to a rock outcrop that overlooks Lake Valhalla below. Through the trees, you can see the New York City skyline in the distance on a clear day.
The trail now descends rather steeply. After passing a huge glacial erratic, the trail bears left and continues along a contour. Bear left to continue on the White Trail when the Orange Dot Trail leaves to the right. The White Trail now climbs a little, then descends and turns right to parallel a wetland.
Soon, the White Trail ends at a junction with the Yellow Trail. Turn left and follow the Yellow Trail to Boonton Avenue, then cross the road to the Visitors Center and the parking area where the hike began.Publication: Submitted by Daniel Chazin on 11/20/2008 updated/verified on 04/18/2021
This loop hike follows woods roads and footpaths up Turkey Mountain, passing remains of old quarries.
Whether you are going for a day hike or backpacking overnight, it is good practice to carry what we call The Hiking Essentials. These essentials will help you enjoy your outing more and will provide basic safety gear if needed. There may also be more essentials, depending on the season and your needs.
Hiking Shoes or Boots
Water - Two quarts per person is recommended in every season. Keep in mind that fluid loss is heightened in winter as well as summer. Don't put yourself in the position of having to end your hike early because you have run out of water.
Map - Know where you are and where you are going. Many of our hiking areas feature interconnecting network of trails. Use a waterproof/tear-resistant Tyvek Trail Conference map if available or enclose your map in a Ziplock plastic bag. If you have a mobile device, download Avenza’s free PDF Maps app and grab some GPS-enhanced Trail Conference maps (a backup Tyvek or paper version of the map is good to have just in case your batteries die or you don't have service). Check out some map-reading basics here.
Food - Snacks/lunch will keep you going as you burn energy walking or climbing. Nuts, seeds, and chocolate are favorites on the trail.
Sunscreen and insect repellent
Rain Gear and Extra Clothing - Rain happens. So does cold. Be prepared for changing weather. Avoid cotton--it traps water against your skin and is slow to dry. If you are wearing wet cotton and must return to your starting point, you risk getting chills that may lead to a dangerous hypothermia. Choose synthetic shirts, sweaters and/or vests and dress in layers for easy on and off.
Compass - A simple compass is all you need to orient you and your map to magnetic north.
Light - A flashlight or small, lightweight headlamp will be welcome gear if you find yourself still on the trail when darkness falls. Check the batteries before you start out and have extras in your pack.
First Aid Kit - Keep it simple, compact, and weatherproof. Know how to use the basic components.
Firestarter and Matches - In an emergency, you may need to keep yourself or someone else warm until help arrives. A firestarter (this could be as simple as leftover birthday candles that are kept inside a waterproof container) and matches (again, make sure to keep them in a waterproof container) could save a life.
Knife or Multi-tool - You may need to cut a piece of moleskin to put over a blister, repair a piece of broken equipment, or solve some other unexpected problem.
Emergency Numbers - Know the emergency numbers for the area you're going to and realize that in many locations--especially mountainous ones, your phone will not get reception.
Common Sense - Pay attention to your environment, your energy, and the condition of your companions. Has the weather turned rainy? Is daylight fading? Did you drink all your water? Did your companion fail to bring rain gear? Are you getting tired? Keep in mind that until you turn around you are (typically) only half-way to completing your hike--you must still get back to where you started from! (Exceptions are loop hikes.)
Check the weather forecast before you head out. Know the rules and regulations of the area.
The Leave No Trace Seven Principles
- Know the regulations and special concerns for the area you'll visit.
- Prepare for extreme weather, hazards, and emergencies.
- Schedule your trip to avoid times of high use.
- Visit in small groups when possible. Consider splitting larger groups into smaller groups.
- Repackage food to minimize waste.
- Use a map and compass to eliminate the use of marking paint, rock cairns or flagging.
- Durable surfaces include established trails and campsites, rock, gravel, dry grasses or snow.
- Protect riparian areas by camping at least 200 feet from lakes and streams.
- Good campsites are found, not made. Altering a site is not necessary.
- In popular areas:
- Concentrate use on existing trails and campsites.
- Walk single file in the middle of the trail, even when wet or muddy.
- Keep campsites small. Focus activity in areas where vegetation is absent.
- In pristine areas:
- Disperse use to prevent the creation of campsites and trails.
- Avoid places where impacts are just beginning.
- Pack it in, pack it out. Inspect your campsite and rest areas for trash or spilled foods. Pack out all trash, leftover food and litter.
- Deposit solid human waste in catholes dug 6 to 8 inches deep, at least 200 feet from water, camp and trails. Cover and disguise the cathole when finished.
- Pack out toilet paper and hygiene products.
- To wash yourself or your dishes, carry water 200 feet away from streams or lakes and use small amounts of biodegradable soap. Scatter strained dishwater.
- Preserve the past: examine, but do not touch cultural or historic structures and artifacts.
- Leave rocks, plants and other natural objects as you find them.
- Avoid introducing or transporting non-native species.
- Do not build structures, furniture, or dig trenches.
- Campfires can cause lasting impacts to the backcountry. Use a lightweight stove for cooking and enjoy a candle lantern for light.
- Where fires are permitted, use established fire rings, fire pans, or mound fires.
- Keep fires small. Only use sticks from the ground that can be broken by hand.
- Burn all wood and coals to ash, put out campfires completely, then scatter cool ashes.
- Observe wildlife from a distance. Do not follow or approach them.
- Never feed animals. Feeding wildlife damages their health, alters natural behaviors, and exposes them to predators and other dangers.
- Protect wildlife and your food by storing rations and trash securely.
- Control pets at all times, or leave them at home.
- Avoid wildlife during sensitive times: mating, nesting, raising young, or winter.
- Respect other visitors and protect the quality of their experience.
- Be courteous. Yield to other users on the trail.
- Step to the downhill side of the trail when encountering pack stock.
- Take breaks and camp away from trails and other visitors.
- Let nature's sounds prevail. Avoid loud voices and noises.
The Trail Conference is a 2015 Leave No Trace partner.
(c) Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics: www.LNT.org.