Although most visitors to Lewis Morris County Park come to enjoy the facilities around Sunrise Lake, the park also features an extensive network of trails. There are no views, but the trails offer an opportunity for a pleasant walk through the woods. Most trails in the park, including those that make up this hike, are open to bicyclists, but on a recent visit to the park on a weekday, only one bicycle was encountered.
From the parking area, cross Mendham Road at the pedestrian crossing and continue ahead on a gravel road, the route of the Yellow Trail (also of the Blue Trail and the Patriots’ Path), passing Sunrise Lake on the left. Just beyond the lake, follow the Yellow Trail as it turns right, leaving the road, and continues on a footpath.
In about half a mile, the Yellow Trail turns sharply left and descends to cross a stream on a wooden footbridge. The trail now climbs on switchbacks. At a sharp bend to the right, the Orange Trail begins on the left. The Orange Trail will be your return route, but for now, continue ahead on the Yellow Trail.
After a gradual uphill climb, you’ll reach a T-intersection, marked by cut sections of the trunk of a fallen log along the trail. The Teal Trail begins on the left, but you should turn right and continue to follow the Yellow Trail. The trail levels off for a short distance, then begins to descend. At the base of the descent, it crosses a stream on a footbridge. The trail now winds through dense barberry thickets.
After a steady climb, you’ll reach a T-intersection with a woods road. Turn right to continue on the Yellow Trail, which now begins to descend. At the next intersection, turn right and begin to follow both the Yellow Trail and the Red Trail, which comes in from the left. Soon, the joint Yellow and Red Trails cross a stream on a footbridge and begin to climb.
Near the southern boundary of the park (about 2.5 miles from the start of the hike), the joint Yellow and Red Trails emerge onto a dirt park entrance road (leading to a camping area) at a kiosk/parking area. The trails turn left and briefly follow the road, but just ahead, follow the Yellow Trail as it bears right and continues on a footpath parallel to the road (the Red Trail continues ahead on the road).
After paralleling the boundary between Lewis Morris County Park and the Morristown National Historical Park, the Yellow Trail once again reaches the park entrance road. The Yellow Trail turns right and heads downhill on the road, rejoining the Red Trail. At the next Y-intersection at the base of the descent, take the right fork and continue to follow both yellow and red blazes along a wide dirt road. In 0.3 mile, the Red Trail turns left, leaving the road.
Continue to follow the Yellow Trail along the road for another 250 feet, then turn left onto the Green Trail, which immediately crosses a stream on a footbridge and heads downhill on a footpath parallel to the stream. This beautiful section of the Green Trail, which passes interesting wetlands along the stream, is a welcome contrast to the unattractive dirt road that you had just been following.
When you reach a fork in the trail in 0.4 mile, bear left and begin to follow the Orange Trail, which heads uphill on winding switchbacks. Just beyond the crest of the rise, you’ll pass on the left the northern end of the Teal Trail. Continue ahead on the Orange Trail, which now descends steadily. Many unmarked trails cross the Orange Trail in this area, so be sure to follow the orange blazes.
After climbing a little, the Orange Trail passes a bench and ends at a junction with the Yellow Trail. Turn right onto the Yellow Trail and retrace your steps back to the parking area where the hike began.