Turkey Mountain

This post may contain affiliate links. We may receive a commission for purchases made through these at no cost to you.

Less trafficked hike opposite Pyramid Mountain with a view of NYC and a few other views.

5.4 miles. Moderate, minimal elevation gain. 

Our two cents:

Both Pyramid and Turkey Mountain offer easy access to decent hiking, and are good for beginner hikers.

Four viewpoints: two obscured, one of a lake, and one of the NYC skyline (very faint if it’s hazy). Also pass the ruins of a house.

This is pretty much the longest loop you can put together on the Turkey Mountain side without duplicating trail sections. Easily make a longer day by combining this loop with one at Pyramid Mountain across the street.

Updated: 7/2020: Page refreshed, not re-hiked. 

Map:

Use the park’s map linked above. This park is included on Jersey Highlands Trails but the current (2017) map is now outdated.

NOTE! This park has made changes to trail names/colors that may affect this hike. The description below has not been updated to reflect these changes.

Books:

A 3.5 mile variation is in Take a Hike New York City. A longer version that includes Pyramid is in 60 Hikes Within 60 Miles: New York City.

Detailed trail descriptions found in the The New Jersey Walk Book. Most trail books seem to favor Pyramid over Turkey, probably because of popular Tripod Rock.

Parking: N40.94700° W74.38780°

Rt 287 to exit 45. 472 A Boonton Avenue, Montville Township, NJ.

Restrooms:

In the visitor center, which is open at 10a. There may be a portable toilet in the lot near the exit driveway.

Hike Directions:

Overview: YELLOW – WHITE- RED – GREEN – BLUE.

0.0 – This route starts from the Pyramid Mountain parking lot. Walk out the exit driveway, near the visitor center, cross the road, and start on easy YELLOW trail.

Easy start on the YELLOW trail

0.5 – Turn RIGHT onto WHITE. (You can skip WHITE and stay on YELLOW, and end up in the same spot via a bit easier trail if you like). Trail is more rugged with some switchbacks (elevation change not bad though).

WHITE trail is more rugged.

Pass an overlook with a limited view.

1.2 – Rejoin YELLOW, turning RIGHT. Keep following the well-blazed trail as it passes a unmarked trail, then RED on the left, and zigs around.

The trail crosses a power line cut. 

Crossing the powerline cut
Crossing Valhalla Brook

2.2 – Cross North Valhalla Brook on a bridge.

There should be a small waterfall just north, before crossing the bridge. It wasn’t obvious the day we hiked, but after looking at our photos from a older winter hike we remembered it.

Dug up this little gem, circa 2006, to add to the page (6/2020).

Turkey Mountain waterfall

Either we were just oblivious that day or possibly it’s obscured a bit, or around a corner…. try looking/walking to the left some before you cross the bridge.

Follow YELLOW as it turns LEFT after the bridge.

YELLOW approaches Stony Brook road and parallels it for a bit, with some minor traffic noise.

YELLOW comes out to the road, turn LEFT and walk along the guard rail for just a bit before turning LEFT back into the woods, on a woods road.

3.9 – There is a small trail that leads to a large rock with a very obscured view (perhaps it is better when their is no leaf cover).

Just a few steps later, the YELLOW trail ends and you are at a T-junction with RED.

Turn LEFT and follow RED (if you go right, you will also end up at 100 steps, but will miss stone ruins and a NYC view).

RED trail

4.5 – Turn RIGHT, following GREEN. RED goes straight.

4.6 – Stone ruins of a unfinished cabin. (According to theThe New Jersey Walk Book, the cabin was abandoned when the power lines were added)

08Stone ruins of an abandoned cabin

Look for a GREEN spur trail behind the ruins that leads to the power line and a view of NYC (… faint here, due to humid haze).

Hazy view of the New York skyline in the distance

At the viewpoint, behind you and to the right, a stone chimney can be seen.

4.8 – Viewpoint over Lake Valhalla.

View of Lake Valhalla
Closer view of Lake Valhalla

After that, the GREEN ends and T-intersects with BLUE. Turn RIGHT here and follow BLUE (there is also a blue arrow on a rock. You can also go LEFT for a longer way back to the lot).

Turkey Vultures on a power line
The powerline cut on the way back

4.9 – Trail turns LEFT onto the power line cut, then head down the “100 steps” -a series of steps that head downhill along the cut.

100 steps

The trail arrives at the road, turns left and you have to cross the road back to the entrance to the lot.

Hiked: 6/12/10 – Trail Blog: “Turkey Mountain – 100 Steps and Stone Ruins
Hiked: 2/19/06. Trail Blog: “Turkey Mountain in February
Hiked: 11/9/03.