From the southern end of the parking area, follow the access trail (which starts just north of a large bulletin board) to the Blue Trail. Continue ahead on the Blue Trail, which soon crosses Stony Brook on a wooden footbridge. In another 125 feet, turn right onto the Yellow Trail, which crosses under power lines and heads north on a level footpath, with a camp recreation area below on the...
From the southern end of the parking area, follow the access trail (which starts just north of a large bulletin board) to the Blue Trail. Continue ahead on the Blue Trail, which soon crosses Stony Brook on a wooden footbridge. In another 125 feet, turn right onto the Yellow Trail, which crosses under power lines and heads north on a level footpath, with a camp recreation area below on the right.
In quarter mile, you’ll notice a large cairn and a triple-orange blaze on the right. This marks the start of the Orange Trail. Turn right and follow the Orange Trail, which continues on a relatively level path for another quarter of a mile, then bears right and descends to the shore of Taylortown Reservoir. It continues along the shore of this scenic reservoir, soon reaching a rock ledge overlooking the reservoir. You’ll want to stop here to enjoy the view. After briefly detouring inland and passing cliffs to the left, the trail returns to the shore of the reservoir. At a rock ledge overlooking an island in the reservoir, the trail turns left and begins to climb Pyramid Mountain. Soon, you’ll notice a huge tree, with four trunks, just to the left of the trail. Here, the climb steepens for a short distance, but the grade soon moderates.
At the top of the climb, the Orange Trail reaches a viewpoint to the east from a rock ledge, marked by a lone cedar tree. The trail now bears left and, 100 feet beyond, ends at a junction (marked by a cairn) with the White Trail. Turn left onto the White Trail, which runs along the ridge of Pyramid Mountain, passing through dense stands of mountain laurel. Soon, the Red-on-White Trail begins to the right, but you should continue ahead on the White Trail.
In about half a mile, 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. This is a good place to take a break.
Continue ahead on the White Trail. In about 500 feet, you’ll reach a junction. Here, the White Trail turns right, but you should continue straight ahead, now following the Blue Trail. In a short distance, you’ll notice three blue-and-white blazes to the right, which mark the start of a side trail. Turn right and follow this rocky trail for about 300 feet to Lucy’s Overlook, named for Lucy Meyer, who spearheaded efforts to preserve Pyramid Mountain. After taking in the panoramic west-facing view, continue on the blue-on-white trail to ites terminus on the Blue Trail.
Turn right onto the Blue Trail. In a short distance, you’ll come to a Y-intersection. Turn right, leaving the Blue Trail, and follow the Yellow Trail, which soon begins a steady descent. After a short level stretch, the Yellow Trail reaches a junction with the joint Blue and White Trails. Turn left, now following yellow, blue and white blazes, and cross Bear House Brook on a wooden bridge.
Directly ahead is Bear Rock. This massive glacial erratic, which can be said to resemble a giant bear, has been a local landmark for centuries. It was probably used as a shelter by Native Americans, and today it marks the boundary between Kinnelon Borough and Montville Township. Here, the trails split. You should turn left onto the joint White and Yellow Trails, which follow an old woods road, bordered with a rock wall on the right. Soon, the Yellow Trail departs to the right, but you should continue ahead on the White Trail.
In about a quarter mile, three red blazes on the left mark the start of the Red Trail. Turn left onto the Red Trail and recross Bear House Brook on a wooden bridge. Follow the Red Trail as bears left and begins to climb, then turns sharply right and runs along the hillside, passing a number of interesting boulders. After climbing some more and following along the base of a cliff, the Red Trail ends at a large cairn that marks the junction with the Blue Trail.
Turn right onto the Blue Trail and descend. Near the base of the descent, the White Trail begins on the right at a large cairn. Continue to follow the Blue Trail, which turns left, climbs a little, then descends gradually, crossing under the power lines.
At the next intersection, where the Yellow Trail begins on the left, bear right, continuing along the Blue Trail, which crosses a footbridge over Stony Brook and proceeds ahead to the access trail that leads to the parking area where the hike began.Publication: Submitted by Daniel Chazin on 11/04/2005 updated/verified on 06/18/2014
This loop hike runs along a scenic reservoir, goes by two unusual glacial erratics – Tripod Rock and Bear Rock – and reaches two panoramic viewpoints.
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.