Know the New Hiking How-tos
On August 12th, 2009 Estelle replied:
Hi Dave, above is the link to the TC web page for Pyramid, the trails there are not in our North Jersey Map set. They will be in a new mapset that's in the works. The Pyramid Mtn Visitor Center has a trail map available, newly revised. If you can't pick it up prior to your hike, you can easily figure out a loop hike once you get there. I'm not familiar with the trails so can't recommend anything, but there are a couple of new trails that extend away from the Center; you can park a car at Kincaid Rd and Powerville Rd and hike through if you wanted a longer hike. There are people at the Center that can help you. It is a good place for rookie hikers. Also, there's the Tourne in Mountain Lakes, one big hill with really great views, a wildflower trail, and then you can hike on all the other trails to get a longer hike out of it. There's a very large beaver dam with their newly created lake along one trail. Maps at the kiosks.
On August 21st, 2009 keberts replied:
Hi Dave, I am very familiar with Pyramid. There is a fairly extensive trail system, so you will need a map (usually freely available in the lot). By far the most popular hike takes you past Tripod Rock - I would recommend this for your first visit, but note that this is a very popular destination on weekends especially, so expect crowds. If you're looking for something quieter, you can try crossing the road and hiking Turkey Mtn, although there is somewhat less to see there (the view of Lk Valhalla is nice though). As for your desired distance, you can probably hit 5 miles or so without crossing the road. It's tough to hit all the interesting spots without retracing your steps a bit, but it wouldn't be too bad. For a ~5 mile hike (may be a bit shorter actually), I'd recommend starting at the lot and walking the lower trail (sorry, I don't have a map handy so you'll have to go by my landmarks) NE along the reservoir (there is a nice piney outcropping with a view of the reservoir along this trail), then cutting back up the mtn and to the SW to visit Tripod Rock. From there I would head back the way you came a take a left at the start of the red trail (I think!) which cuts across to another interesting glacial erratic called Whaleshead (on your left) then ultimately reaches a T where you will turn left towards Bear Swamp and Bear Rock. Beyond Bear Rock, I usually return to the lot via the power cut to look for hawks and dragonflies, but there is an alternative trail I believe if the power lines bother you. If you still have energy, cross the road an walk the "hundred steps" up to some stone ruins on Turkey mountain, then I'd recommend looking for that southward view of Lake Valhalla. Enjoy!
On August 11th, 2009 DaveH84 says:
Hi, I'd like to do a hike on pyramid mountain, and while I like to just strike out and explore new territory, I'll probably be bringing other people and therefore should have some idea what to expect and where to go. I haven't checked but I have the trail map set for north jersey and I believe the mountain is on there. I was wondering if anyone could give me some mileage, difficulty ratings, and an overview of the hike. (i'm not sure if there are multiple trails or just one big loop). Alone I'll hike anything, but if I do bring my friends I would be looking for a 5 maybe 6 mile hike, easy-moderate, with at least one decent destination for people to take pictures or whatever. If this kind of hike is not possible there, then I would still appreciate a description of any kind and I'll just save the hike for when I'm not bringing rookies.
On March 19th, 2009 arnabbanerjee asked:
Which are the trails to view best spring wildflowers? Can anyone let me know the best ones and timings where one should go? I am expecting the flowers to be coming out from mid-april or so. Any recommendations will be very useful Thanks
On March 23rd, 2009 gpettypoet replied:
I can answer for the New Jersey Highlands wildflower walks. If you want a prepared short wildflower walk with examples of most wildflowers in each season, try the one at Morris County Tourne Park in Mountain Lakes NJ., tended with great care by the Rockaway Valley Garden Club. The Land Conservancy also has a tended wildflower plot in back of their headquarters in Montville. If you want a hike with some wildflowers along the way, the answer is more complicated. For good early spring flowers (April 15 to May 3) try a hike from Weis Ecology Center [Editor's note: located in Norvin Green State Forest] out the W trail along Blue Mine Brook up to the old farm foundations, then back on the Green Trail to the Red Dot Trail out to the Blue Mine. Come back to Weis with a detour up the yellow Dot Trail in back of the Roomy Mine to catch a fine patch of columbine. In all seasons, the Pyramid Mountain Natural Historic Area in Montville white trail has very good flowers. The Ryker Lake trails are also good in early spring, but the loop around the lake is blocked by a beaver dam at the north end. Better still, sign up for one of my wildflower hikes from Weis Ecology Center. Even better, get a copy of my Hiking The Jersey Highlands; it pays special attention to wildflowers along Highlands Trails. You can order it on this website. GPetty.