Walk back to the entrance to the parking area and cross Boonton Avenue opposite Mars Court. At a sign for “Turkey Mt. 100 Steps Trail,” the Blue Trail begins. Follow this trail, which parallels the road at first, then crosses beneath overhead power lines. It bears right and follows a footpath through the woods, with the power lines on the right. At one point, it comes out at the power lines...
Walk back to the entrance to the parking area and cross Boonton Avenue opposite Mars Court. At a sign for “Turkey Mt. 100 Steps Trail,” the Blue Trail begins. Follow this trail, which parallels the road at first, then crosses beneath overhead power lines. It bears right and follows a footpath through the woods, with the power lines on the right. At one point, it comes out at the power lines and then goes back into the woods.
After climbing gradually, the Blue Trail again emerges onto the power line corridor and climbs more steeply. Soon, it ascends a series of rock steps, known as the “100 Steps,” with a west-facing view near the top of the climb.
Continue along the Blue Trail as it follows the ridge of the mountain for a short distance, then turns right and descends through the woods to a T-junction. Here, the Blue Trail turns right, but you should turn left onto the Green Trail. The Green Trail soon bears right and reaches an outstanding viewpoint over Lake Valhalla to the south. From the viewpoint, the trail turns sharply left and soon arrives at another junction, marked by a cairn. You'll notice the remains of a small stone cabin alongside the trail. One of several cabins built atop Turkey Mountain, this particular cabin was never completed, the owner having abandoned it due to the construction of the adjacent power line.
The Green Trail turns right at this junction and begins a steady descent. At the base of the descent, it turns left onto a woods road, joining the Red Trail. A short distance ahead, just before the woods road begins to climb steeply, the Red/Green Trail turns right, leaving the road, goes under the power line, and crosses a stream. Immediately past the stream crossing, the Red Trail leaves to the left, but you should continue ahead, following the Green Trail, which soon levels off as it heads through a valley.
In another quarter mile, the Yellow Trail joins from the right. Follow the joint Green/Yellow Trail ahead until you reach North Valhalla Brook, with an attractive waterfall on the opposite side of the brook. This is a good place to take a short break.
After enjoying the scenic view, retrace your steps on the joint Green/Yellow Trail, but when the two trails diverge, bear left, continuing to follow the Yellow Trail, which passes a large quarry pit on the left and crosses under power lines.
After skirting more quarry pits and passing Botts Pond (below on the left), the Yellow Trail descends to cross a small stream and turns left onto a woods road. It follows the road for a short distance, then turns right, leaving the road, and climbs on a footpath to the top of a hill. Just beyond, the trail turns left and follows the rim of a long, narrow ravine, descending gradually. This ravine is a remnant of a quarry that operated in the mid-to-late nineteenth century, with the crushed rock being used to remove impurities from iron that was smelted in nearby Boonton. Although commonly referred to as "limestone," the rock extracted in this area is more correctly known as dolomitic marble.
Towards the end of the ravine, the Yellow Trail bears right, crosses the ravine, and soon turns left onto a woods road. After crossing a footbridge over a stream, the trail continues along the road for a short distance, then (at a large cairn), it bears right, leaving the woods road, and begins to climb along the hillside. Soon, the White Trail begins on the left, but you should continue ahead on the Yellow Trail.
In another third of a mile, the Blue Trail crosses. Continue ahead on the Yellow Trail, which is now level and surfaced with gravel. You'll pass two more trail junctions on the left -- first, with the White Trail, then with the Red Dot Trail -- and in half a mile you'll reach Boonton Avenue. Directly across the road are the visitors center and the parking area where the hike began.Publication: Submitted by Daniel Chazin on 05/09/2002 updated/verified on 04/12/2015
This loop hike climbs a ridge to reach a viewpoint over Valhalla Lake and passes an old stone cabin, a scenic waterfall and the remains of a limestone quarry.
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.