Know the New Hiking How-tos
Turkey Mountain Loop via Blue, Red, Yellow and White Trails
Directions to trailhead
Take I-287 South to Exit 47 (Montville/Lincoln Park) and turn left at the bottom of the ramp onto Main Road (Route 202). In 0.7 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.
Walk back to the entrance to the parking area and cross Boonton Avenue at a crosswalk just north of Mars Court. At a sign for “Turkey Mt. 100 Steps Trail,” the Blue 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. After climbing gradually, the Blue Trail again emerges onto the power line corridor and 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 Blue Trail along the ridge for about 300 feet, then turn left onto the Red Trail, which descends a little and then climbs gradually, paralleling and crossing several old stone walls. A stone wall just to the right of the trail marks the summit of Turkey Mountain (892 feet). Continue ahead on the Red Trail to a large rock outcrop (which offers a limited seasonal east-facing view). Here, the Red Trail turns right and begins to descend, but you should turn left onto the Yellow Trail.
Follow the Yellow Trail as it descends on an old woods road. At a T-intersection near the base of the descent, the Green Trail begins on the right, but you should continue on the Yellow Trail, which turns left onto another woods road. The Yellow 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, with North Valhalla Brook below on the right and Stony Brook Road above on the left.
After bearing right, the Yellow Trail climbs over a knoll, crosses a tributary stream on rocks, and moves away from the paved road. Soon, 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. In a short distance, the trail crosses North Valhalla Brook on a footbridge and bears right, passing an attractive waterfall.
Just beyond the waterfall, follow the Yellow Trail as it bears sharply left, joining the Green Trail. When the two trails diverge at a large cairn, bear left, continuing to follow the Yellow Trail, which passes a large quarry pit on the left and crosses under power lines.
After skirting more quarry pits and passing Botts Pond (below on the left), the Yellow Trail descends to cross a small stream and reaches a woods road. It turns left onto the road and follows it for a short distance, then turns right, leaving the road. Here, the Red Trail joins. The joint Yellow and Red Trails climb on a footpath to the top of a hill. Just beyond, the Red Trail leaves to the right, while the Yellow Trail turns left and follows the rim of a long, narrow ravine (a remnant of quarry operations in the late nineteenth century), descending gradually. Towards the end of the ravine, it bears right, crosses the ravine, and soon turns left onto a woods road.
The Yellow Trail crosses a footbridge over a stream. A short distance beyond, at a double blaze, the trail bears right, leaving the woods road, and begins to climb along the hillside. Soon, a small 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 the top of a peak which overlooks Lake Valhalla below. Through the trees, you can see quite a distance to the east.
The trail now descends rather steeply. After passing a huge glacial erratic, the trail turns left and continues along a contour. Continue ahead on the White Trail when the Blue 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.