Sunday, February 23, 2020

Pyramid Mountain County Park, NJ - Turkey Mountain

Pyramid Mountain County Park - Morris County Parks

GPS Coordinates 40.946752, -74.388308
At 7:30 AM my car was the only car in the lot.  At 1:30 PM the lot is packed and cars are parked up and down both sides of Boonton Avenue.

Pyramid Mountain Trail Map - Morris County Park Commission
Jersey Highlands Trails Map #125 - NY/NJ Trail Conference
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HIKE DISTANCE:  9.8 miles

Head towards the parking lot exit to find...
... the beginning of the yellow trail.
A short path leads to a crosswalk over Boonton Avenue.
A right on red leads to ...
... a swamp with tons of singing birds.
Those loud birds were elusive.  From the blind I only saw ...
... a red-winged blackbird.
Red makes a little loop and heads back to yellow where we continued right.
Right on white.
White goes around the back side of the swamp.
Staying right on white when blue starts to the left.
A winter view of Lake Valhalla
When white ends, right on yellow.
Following along the limestone quarry.  There is an unmarked woods road on the other side that we would be taking later in the hike.
Turning right on red into The Glen for an out-and-back along North Valhalla Brook.
Red ends at Hemlock Drive just across from Lake Valhalla.
Heading back.
Right on yellow.
Thinking this might be a turkey vulture skull.  It was in the middle of the trail so I moved it off to the side so it wouldn't get trampled.
The Falls
Continuing on yellow.  No more bridges at this farther, remote part of the yellow trail.  It's all rock hops.
When yellow follows parallel to Stony Brook Road, a short bushwhack over to Stony Brook Road ...
... leads to a pond on the other side.  The map shows this as park property.
There is an old structure ...
... that looks like stables.
The map says you can park here although it looks like there is only room for about 1 car without blocking the park access road.  Turns out there is better alternate parking farther along that is not on the map.
It's a short bushwhack back ...
... to yellow.
Yellow comes out on the road briefly to cross over North Valhalla Brook on the bridge.
The trail goes back into the woods just after the guardrail and ahead is a nice parking pad for about 3 cars (not on the map), a great option to do this hike and avoid the madness at the main parking lot.
Now yellow is a smooth woods road along wetlands.
Left on green ...
... coming back up on the falls from the other side.
Retracing a bit on yellow/green ...
... then right on green when yellow goes left.
Right on red...
... steeply uphill on Turkey Mountain.
Winter views of Lake Valhalla and a little bit of Boonton Reservoir beyond.
Staying left on red when yellow starts to the right.
Red ends in the power cut; right towards blue ...
... then left at the post.  Straight ahead is 100 steps but we'd be returning for that later.
Left on green ...
... to New York City skyline and ...
... Lake Valhalla views.
Stone ruins a little farther along on green.
Right on red heading towards the limestone quarry ...
... where we turned right just before the quarry on an unmarked trail.
This runs right back into yellow.
Balloon #12 of the year.
Staying on yellow where we came off of white at the beginning of the hike.
Right on blue.
Left at the post in the power cut ...
... to 100 Steps descending steeply in the power cut.
Looking back up the steps.
Back at the parking lot.  I'd say 90% of those people are on the Pyramid Mountain side.  The Turkey Mountain side becomes far less crowded.