Walk back to the entrance to the parking area and cross Boonton Avenue at a crosswalk just north of Mars Court. At a sign for “Turkey Mt. 100 Steps Trail,” the Yellow 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. After climbing gradually,...
Walk back to the entrance to the parking area and cross Boonton Avenue at a crosswalk just north of Mars Court. At a sign for “Turkey Mt. 100 Steps Trail,” the Yellow 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. After climbing gradually, the Yellow Trail again emerges onto the power line corridor and 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 Yellow Trail as it follows the ridge of the mountain for a short distance, then reaches a junction with the Orange Dot Trail. Turn right onto the Orange Dot Trail, which descends through the woods. Be alert for a junction with the Green Dot Trail, which begins on the left. Turn left onto the Green Dot Trail, which soon bears right and reaches a panoramic 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 cabin was never completed, the owner having abandoned it due to the construction of the adjacent power line.
The Green Dot Trail turns right at this junction and begins a steady descent. At the base of the descent, the Green Dot Trail ends at a junction with the Yellow Trail. Turn left onto the Yellow Trail, which goes under the power lines and cross a stream. Continue along the Yellow Trail, which proceeds through a rocky area, makes a short but rather steep descent, then turns left and levels off.
In another quarter mile, the Purple Dot Trail begins on the right. Continue ahead on the Yellow Trail 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 Yellow Trail, but when you reach the junction with the Purple Dot Trail, bear left onto the Purple Dot 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 Purple Dot Trail descends to cross footbridges over two streams and reaches a junction with an unmarked woods road. Turn right and follow the road for a short distance, then turn right, leaving the road, and climb on an unmarked footpath to a junction with the Yellow Trail at the top of a hill.
Turn left onto the Yellow Trail, which 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 bears right at a double blaze, leaving the woods road, and begins to climb along the hillside. Soon, at a large cairn, the White Trail begins on the left, but you should continue ahead on the Yellow Trail, which continues to climb.
In another third of a mile, the Orange Dot 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 03/19/2021
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
Plan Ahead and Prepare
- 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.
Travel and Camp on Durable Surfaces
- 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.
Be Considerate of Other Visitors
- 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.