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Pyramid Mountain and Kakeout Reservoir from Kakeout Road in Kinnelon
Directions to trailhead
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, where street parking is available.
Take 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.
This hike approaches Pyramid Mountain Natural Historic Park from the north, using lesser-used portions of the Blue and White Trails. It is particularly useful for those arriving by public transportation, as the trailhead is less than a mile from the bus stop on Route 23. It includes several short sections of road walking, but it also features a scenic walk close to the shore of the Kakeout Reservoir.
To start the hike, 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 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, at the dam of the Kakeout Reservoir. Here, the blue-on-white-blazed Butler Connecting Trail leaves to the left, crossing the dam (this will be your return route). Continue straight ahead on the Blue Trail, which now becomes a narrow footpath.
For the next mile, the Blue 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 the brook on a wooden footbridge. Just beyond, it crosses several wet areas on puncheons.
About two miles from the start, the Blue Trail crosses Fayson Lake Road. In another half mile, after passing through an area with many fallen trees and climbing a little on an old woods road, the trail turns left and descends to cross a small stream. It proceeds through a meadow, where it bears left and continues along a woods road. Upon reaching a second meadow, the trail turns sharply left and climbs to Miller Road, opposite the Shepard School. (Be careful to follow the blue blazes at the second meadow, as the more obvious route curves to the right.)
The Blue Trail turns right and runs along the paved road for about 500 feet, then turns right at a metal gate and descends gradually on a woods road. At the base of the descent, the trail bears left, leaving the woods road, and begins to ascend. Just ahead, the trail turns right onto a moss-covered footpath and climbs gradually 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. It turns right onto a footpath, descends to cross Bear House Brook on a wooden footbridge, then turns right and heads south, paralleling the brook. Soon, the Red-on-White Trail begins on the left, and the Blue Trail bears right and recrosses the brook on another wooden footbridge.
The Blue 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 footbridge. 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 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, which climbs gradually. In 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 White 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 Trail and turn right. The trail now descends more steeply. At the base of the descent, the trail crosses a wooden footbridge over a stream and reaches a junction with the Green Trail, which begins on the right.
The White 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 White Trail bears right onto a woods road that parallels the paved road. In half a mile, it crosses Fayson Lake Road and heads north on a woods road. Soon, the trail turns left onto another woods road and 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 rise, the trail turns left, leaving the road, and descends. It soon 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 Trail to return to the trailhead and your car.