Pretty route that includes rocky footpaths, several streams, interesting glacial erratics like Tripod Rock and Bear Rock, and two overlooks.
Mileage: 4.4 miles roundtrip, moderate trail surface and elevation gain; one slightly difficult rocky descent.
- Shorter: To create a short-but-sweet 3-mile loop, follow the directions below to Tripod Rock, then retrace your steps to the lot.
- Nearby: Turkey Mountain is across the road, access from this parking area.
Our two cents:
The trail system here is good for beginning hikers, but interesting enough for experienced ones.
To create longer loops, connect the trails with Turkey Mountain, the two trail heads are across the street from the parking lot.
Update 7/31/14: Re-hiked, description updated to included RED trail change, new photos, GPS updated.
Pyramid is now included on the Jersey Highlands Trails map set.
Similar routes can be found in Hiking New Jersey and 60 Hikes Within 60 Miles: New York City, a 2.8-mile loop is in Hiking the Jersey Highlands, variations are found in Hike of the Week and 50 Hikes in New Jersey. Detailed trail descriptions are in The New Jersey Walk Book.
Parking: N40 56.820 W74 23.268
Rt 287 to exit 45. 472 A Boonton Avenue, Montville Township, NJ. Detailed directions here. The parking lot fills up quickly.
In the visitor center when open. Porta-john in the parking lot is seasonal, sometimes not there in the winter
Overview: BLUE (Mennen) – BLUE with WHITE STRIPE side trail – WHITE (Kinnelon) – RED with WHITE STRIPES – BLUE (Mennen) – RED – BLUE (Mennen)
0.0 – Start at the trail kiosk and follow BLUE (Mennen) along a rocky trail, and over a wooden footbridge.
0.2 – Continue on BLUE (Mennen). [YELLOW goes to the right]. GPS: YEL/BLUEmennen. Cross a power line cut, with a large electrical tower on the left.
0.4 – Continue following BLUE (Mennen) to the right. [WHITE (Kinnelon) goes to the left.] GPS: WHT/BLUE JCT
0.5 – Continue following BLUE (Mennen). [RED starts on the left.] The trail heads uphill. GPS: RED/BLUEmennen
0.7 – Watch for a post with rocks for a short side path to a scenic overlook. On a clear day the NYC skyline is visible. GPS: Overlook – NYC visible
1.0 – Turn LEFT and continue following BLUE (Mennen), it is also marked with YELLOW briefly. [YELLOW also goes to the right.] GPS: YEL1/BLUEmennon
Continue on BLUE when YELLOW leaves the left. GPS: YEL2/BLUEmennon
1.1 – Turn LEFT at the sign for “Lucy’s Overlook”. GPS: Overlook spur. Follow the BLUE with WHITE STRIPE trail to Lucy’s Overlook for a view west. GPS: Lucy’s Overlook
Retrace your steps back to the trail. Turn left to continue on BLUE (Mennen).
1.4 – Start following WHITE (Kinnelon) straight ahead. [BLUE (Mennen)/ WHITE (Kinnelon) goes to the left.] GPS: WHT/BLUEmennen
1.5 – Arrive at Tripod Rock… a large boulder balanced on 3 smaller ones. GPS: TripodRock
1.9 – Turn LEFT and start following RED with WHITE STRIPES. [Might be easy to miss, the markers were on a downed tree when we hiked this; and WHITE (Kinnelon) continues straight.] GPS: start RED stripe/WHT
The trail goes downhill through a seasonally wet area, then heads uphill and around a rocky area to what is called Eagle Cliff (no views though).
2.4 – Arrive at Whale Head Rock… a large boulder that does look like a whale head. GPS: WhaleHeadRock
The trail descends steeply over rocks on the one somewhat difficult section of this loop. Once it levels off, watch for the trail markers, as the trail is all rocks and is not an obvious footpath.
2.7 – Turn LEFT to start following BLUE (Mennen) and cross a small stream a footbridge. [RED with WHITE STRIPES ends. BLUE (Mennen) also goes right.] GPS: End RED Stripe/BLUE
3.2 – Bear Rock… another very large glacial erratic. GPS: BearRock
Walk around to the other side of Bear Rock, passing a footbridge on the left. Start following WHITE (Kinnelon)/YELLOW (Kincaid). [Ignore the trails leaving off over the footbridge.]
Shortly after, continue following just WHITE (Kinnelon) when YELLOW (Kincaid) leaves to the right. GPS: WHT/YELkincaid
3.4 – Turn left onto the start of RED. GPS: WHT/REDstart [WHITE (Kinnelon) continues straight and will lead back as well, but follows a power line cut and is in the direct sun.]
Note: RED has been rerouted slightly and now rejoins BLUE (Mennen) at a different point than older maps or GPS data may show.
3.9 – Arrive at the junction of RED and BLUE (Mennen) from earlier. GPS: RED/BLUEmennen Turn RIGHT and retrace BLUE (Mennen) back to the parking lot.
Hiked 5/20/12. Variation, skipping Tripod. Trail Blog: “Whale Head, Bear Rock, Kincaid“
Hiked: 5/10/09. Trail Blog: “Pyramid Mountain – Tripod Rock”