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 Blue 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 where a branch of the Blue Trail goes off to the right. Continue ahead on the Blue Trail, which crosses Stony Brook on a wooden footbridge. Just beyond, you’ll reach a fork, where the loop of the Blue Trail begins. Bear left at the fork and follow the western leg of the Blue Trail, which soon begins a steady climb to the shoulder of Pyramid Mountain. After passing under high-voltage power lines, the trail continues to climb.
At the crest of the rise, the trail once more approaches the power lines, then bears right and descends to a large cairn, which marks the start of the Orange Trail. Bear left and continue along the Orange Trail, which follows a rocky footpath parallel to the power lines on the left. After looping around to the left and passing directly under the power lines, enabling hikers to experience the wildflowers that bloom in the spring beneath the power lines, the Orange Trail crosses Bear House Brook on a wooden bridge. A short distance beyond, the stone foundation of the old Morgan home may be seen on the right.
After 0.7 mile on the Orange Trail, the Pink Dot Trail (black dot on pink) begins on the left. Continue ahead, following the sign to "Bear Rock." 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 onto the Yellow Dot Trail (black dot on yellow) and cross a wooden footbridge over the brook. In a short distance, you’ll come to a fork, where the Yellow Dot Trail goes off to the right. Bear left onto an unmarked trail and continue along a level footpath, parallel to the brook. 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 unmarked trail arrives at a T-junction. Turn left onto the Blue Dot Trail (black dot on blue), 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 on the Blue Dot Trail. Soon, you’ll notice a purple-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 limited views to the south and west over Stony Brook Mountain from rock outcrops. Continue ahead on the purple-blazed trail until it ends at the Blue Dot Trail, then turn right onto the Blue Dot Trail. Soon, the Yellow Dot Trail begins on the right. You should bear left to continue on the Blue Dot Trail.
In a short distance, the Blue Dot Trail ends at a junction with the Blue Trail. Bear right and continue ahead on the Blue Trail, which gradually climbs to the highest elevation on Pyramid Mountain (934 feet), marked by a large cairn. Here, at a sign for the "Overlook," you should turn 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 junction with the Orange Trail, and follow the blue blazes back to the parking area where the hike began.