Pyramid Mountain Shorter Loop
Directions to trailhead
If coming from the north, 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 Natural Historic Area, on the left, opposite Mars Park.
If coming from the south, take I-287 North to Exit 44 (Main Street, Boonton) and bear right onto Lathrop Avenue. Turn right at the stop sign onto Main Street (County Route 511), proceed along Main Street for 0.3 mile, then turn right onto Boonton Avenue. Continue on Boonton Avenue, still designated County Route 511, for 3.3 miles to the parking area for the Pyramid Mountain Natural Historic Area, on the left (the parking area is opposite Mars Park, about 0.7 mile north of the intersection of Route 511 and Taylortown Road).
From the southern end of the parking area, follow the access trail, which starts just north of a kiosk and immediately passes a memorial plaque for Stephen Klein, Jr. In 150 feet, you’ll reach a junction with the Blue Trail. Continue ahead on the Blue Trail, which crosses Stony Brook on a wooden footbridge. Just beyond, the Yellow Trail begins on the right, but you should continue ahead on the Blue Trail, which soon begins a short but steep climb to the shoulder of Pyramid Mountain. The climb continues under a high-voltage power line. After a short descent, a large cairn marks the start of the White Trail, but you should bear right and continue to follow the blue blazes. When you reach the next junction, turn left and continue on the Red Trail.
The Red Trail heads through a rocky area, with many large boulders on the slope to the right, then makes a short, steep descent. The trail levels off, continues on a rocky footpath along the side of a hill, then descends gradually and crosses footbridges over two branches of Bear House Brook to reach a junction with the White Trail. Turn right at this junction and follow the white blazes along an old woods road, with Bear House Brook on the right.
In a quarter mile, the Yellow Trail joins from the left, and a short distance beyond, you’ll reach the massive Bear Rock, a huge glacial erratic, which marks the boundary between Kinnelon Borough and Montville Township. Turn right at Bear Rock, now following white, blue and yellow blazes, and cross a wooden footbridge over the brook. In a short distance, you’ll come to a fork, where the Yellow Trail leaves to the right. Bear left, following the sign for “Tripod Rock,” and continue along a level footpath, parallel to the brook, marked with blue and white blazes. Soon, you’ll begin a steep, rocky climb up to the ridge of Pyramid Mountain. You gain only about 150 feet in elevation, but this is the steepest climb of the hike.
Just beyond the crest of the ridge, the trail arrives at a T-junction. Turn left here, following the white blazes, and in about 500 feet you’ll reach Tripod Rock -– a huge boulder, perched on three smaller stones. Geologists explain that this boulder was deposited here by glacial action, although some believe that it may be a Native American calendar site. This unusual feature helped galvanize public support to preserve the mountain when it was threatened by development.
When you’re ready to continue, retrace your steps to the junction and continue heading south along the ridge, now following the Blue Trail. Soon, you’ll notice a blue-and-white-blazed side trail on the right. Follow this trail, which leads in a short distance to Lucy's Overlook, named for Lucy Meyer, who led the crusade to save the area from development. There are views to the south and west over Stony Brook Mountain from rock outcrops. Continue ahead on the blue-and-white-blazed trail until it ends at the Blue Trail, then turn right, now once again following blue blazes. Soon, the Yellow Trail joins from the right and, in a short distance, leaves to the left.
The Blue Trail gradually climbs to the highest elevation on Pyramid Mountain (934 feet), marked by a cairn. Here, you should bear left and head to an east-facing overlook from open rocks, with the New York City skyline visible on the horizon on a clear day.
After taking in the view, return to the Blue Trail, bear left, and follow the trail as it gradually descends the southwest face of the mountain on switchbacks. Continue ahead past the junctions with the Red, White and Yellow Trails, and follow the blue blazes back to the parking area where the hike began.