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...
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, following the sign to "Tripod Rock," 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 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.Publication: Submitted by Daniel Chazin on 01/17/2019 updated/verified on 04/05/2021
This loop hike passes the gigantic Bear Rock and climbs to the fascinating Tripod Rock and a viewpoint over the New York City skyline.
Whether you are going for a day hike or backpacking overnight, it is good practice to carry what we call The Hiking Essentials. These essentials will help you enjoy your outing more and will provide basic safety gear if needed. There may also be more essentials, depending on the season and your needs.
Hiking Shoes or Boots
Water - Two quarts per person is recommended in every season. Keep in mind that fluid loss is heightened in winter as well as summer. Don't put yourself in the position of having to end your hike early because you have run out of water.
Map - Know where you are and where you are going. Many of our hiking areas feature interconnecting network of trails. Use a waterproof/tear-resistant Tyvek Trail Conference map if available or enclose your map in a Ziplock plastic bag. If you have a mobile device, download Avenza’s free PDF Maps app and grab some GPS-enhanced Trail Conference maps (a backup Tyvek or paper version of the map is good to have just in case your batteries die or you don't have service). Check out some map-reading basics here.
Food - Snacks/lunch will keep you going as you burn energy walking or climbing. Nuts, seeds, and chocolate are favorites on the trail.
Sunscreen and insect repellent
Rain Gear and Extra Clothing - Rain happens. So does cold. Be prepared for changing weather. Avoid cotton--it traps water against your skin and is slow to dry. If you are wearing wet cotton and must return to your starting point, you risk getting chills that may lead to a dangerous hypothermia. Choose synthetic shirts, sweaters and/or vests and dress in layers for easy on and off.
Compass - A simple compass is all you need to orient you and your map to magnetic north.
Light - A flashlight or small, lightweight headlamp will be welcome gear if you find yourself still on the trail when darkness falls. Check the batteries before you start out and have extras in your pack.
First Aid Kit - Keep it simple, compact, and weatherproof. Know how to use the basic components.
Firestarter and Matches - In an emergency, you may need to keep yourself or someone else warm until help arrives. A firestarter (this could be as simple as leftover birthday candles that are kept inside a waterproof container) and matches (again, make sure to keep them in a waterproof container) could save a life.
Knife or Multi-tool - You may need to cut a piece of moleskin to put over a blister, repair a piece of broken equipment, or solve some other unexpected problem.
Emergency Numbers - Know the emergency numbers for the area you're going to and realize that in many locations--especially mountainous ones, your phone will not get reception.
Common Sense - Pay attention to your environment, your energy, and the condition of your companions. Has the weather turned rainy? Is daylight fading? Did you drink all your water? Did your companion fail to bring rain gear? Are you getting tired? Keep in mind that until you turn around you are (typically) only half-way to completing your hike--you must still get back to where you started from! (Exceptions are loop hikes.)
Check the weather forecast before you head out. Know the rules and regulations of the area.
The Leave No Trace Seven Principles
- Know the regulations and special concerns for the area you'll visit.
- Prepare for extreme weather, hazards, and emergencies.
- Schedule your trip to avoid times of high use.
- Visit in small groups when possible. Consider splitting larger groups into smaller groups.
- Repackage food to minimize waste.
- Use a map and compass to eliminate the use of marking paint, rock cairns or flagging.
- Durable surfaces include established trails and campsites, rock, gravel, dry grasses or snow.
- Protect riparian areas by camping at least 200 feet from lakes and streams.
- Good campsites are found, not made. Altering a site is not necessary.
- In popular areas:
- Concentrate use on existing trails and campsites.
- Walk single file in the middle of the trail, even when wet or muddy.
- Keep campsites small. Focus activity in areas where vegetation is absent.
- In pristine areas:
- Disperse use to prevent the creation of campsites and trails.
- Avoid places where impacts are just beginning.
- Pack it in, pack it out. Inspect your campsite and rest areas for trash or spilled foods. Pack out all trash, leftover food and litter.
- Deposit solid human waste in catholes dug 6 to 8 inches deep, at least 200 feet from water, camp and trails. Cover and disguise the cathole when finished.
- Pack out toilet paper and hygiene products.
- To wash yourself or your dishes, carry water 200 feet away from streams or lakes and use small amounts of biodegradable soap. Scatter strained dishwater.
- Preserve the past: examine, but do not touch cultural or historic structures and artifacts.
- Leave rocks, plants and other natural objects as you find them.
- Avoid introducing or transporting non-native species.
- Do not build structures, furniture, or dig trenches.
- Campfires can cause lasting impacts to the backcountry. Use a lightweight stove for cooking and enjoy a candle lantern for light.
- Where fires are permitted, use established fire rings, fire pans, or mound fires.
- Keep fires small. Only use sticks from the ground that can be broken by hand.
- Burn all wood and coals to ash, put out campfires completely, then scatter cool ashes.
- Observe wildlife from a distance. Do not follow or approach them.
- Never feed animals. Feeding wildlife damages their health, alters natural behaviors, and exposes them to predators and other dangers.
- Protect wildlife and your food by storing rations and trash securely.
- Control pets at all times, or leave them at home.
- Avoid wildlife during sensitive times: mating, nesting, raising young, or winter.
- Respect other visitors and protect the quality of their experience.
- Be courteous. Yield to other users on the trail.
- Step to the downhill side of the trail when encountering pack stock.
- Take breaks and camp away from trails and other visitors.
- Let nature's sounds prevail. Avoid loud voices and noises.
The Trail Conference is a 2015 Leave No Trace partner.
(c) Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics: www.LNT.org.