With the park situated right next to I-287, traffic noise is inevitable but it won’t follow along throughout the entire hike. Take the blue-blazed trail up the steps in front of the kiosk at the far end of the parking lot, and bear right at the fork just ahead. Elevation gain will start to subdue the roar of cars and trucks below. Turn left on the orange-blazed trail 0.5 mile into the hike...
With the park situated right next to I-287, traffic noise is inevitable but it won’t follow along throughout the entire hike. Take the blue-blazed trail up the steps in front of the kiosk at the far end of the parking lot, and bear right at the fork just ahead. Elevation gain will start to subdue the roar of cars and trucks below. Turn left on the orange-blazed trail 0.5 mile into the hike to deaden the traffic sound a little more. The blue trail joins back in before crossing a bridge at a Boy Scout shelter. Make left on blue after the bridge, where the orange trail continues straight ahead.
Stay on the blue trail which will lead to your destination, the mountain straight ahead, which can be seen when there is no foliage. The ascent becomes steep, just short of a rock scramble, so expect an effort to reach the views. At the top, 1.1 miles into the hike, the traffic noise is long gone and benches invite a break from the climb up. To the left the New York City skyline can be seen on the horizon and a bench on the other side of the kiosk to the right overlooks the mountains of northern New Jersey.
Leave the mountaintop, continuing on the blue-blazed trail, which descends somewhat more gradually than the steep ascent.
Cross over the orange-blazed trail again (woods road), then shortly thereafter bear left to continue on the blue trail, as an orange/blue connectiing trail begins on the right. At the next junction, turn right onto a red/blue connecting trail and bear right at the following junction. Continue on the red/blue connecting trail until it ends at a junction with the red trail (at a bench). Turn left onto the red trail, which ascends, but not as steeply as the blue-blazed trail. You will catch a break every so often with a flat stretch before the trail ascends again until it reaches the top and follows along a ridge.
At another bench, turn right onto a black-stripe-on-red connecting trail for 250 feet, then turn left onto the western leg of the red trail. The red trail leads down between massive rock formations into a pleasant wooded valley. After parallelling a stream on the right, you'll come to the end of the loop of the red trail. Continue ahead on a black-square-on-red connecting trail, with noise from the traffic now starting to increase. Follow this connecting trail to a kiosk and a metal gate, and turn left onto the road to reach the parking area where the hike began.
NOTE: The Director of Pequannock Parks and Recreation has confirmed that leashed dogs are permitted and the signs in the parking lot are to be corrected if they still show that dogs are not allowed.
Rugged hiking trails in a town park lead to 360-degree views which include the North Jersey mountains and the New York City skyline.
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.