Located in Morris County Pyramid Mountain provides a moderately challenging hike with many well-defined trails, three overlooks including one of New York City and a geological marvel which could be New Jersey’s very own Stonehenge.
I’ve been pumped to try Pyramid Mountain Natural Historic Area for a while now and had previously marked out a 7 mile figure eight shaped trail that would encompass Pyramid Mt. as well as neighboring Turkey Mountain. Saturday’s rain forced us to move the hike to Sunday, which also meant there was only half a day to complete the trail because my hiking partner Brett had to catch a flight afterward.
With the help of a really handy trail map provided by Morris County Parks at the Visitor’s Center, Brett and I mapped out a 3 mile hike of Pyramid that looked like this: Blue–Red-White-Yellow/White-Blue/White-Blue. Hiking the trail took roughly 2 hours and 15 minutes with some stops for photographs and water.
The hike started out easy and became increasingly rocky with views of … large power lines. Things got interesting as we began to hike the white trail seeing signs of springtime and running water. Though the brooks seemed easy to cross, there were foot bridges at every crossing.
Nervous Nellie found her courage on this foot bridge. She is queen of the outdoors! Next came the most exciting part of this trail: giant rocks!
Bear Rock is considered to be one of the largest glacial erratics in North Jersey. According to 50 Hikes in NJ, approximately 12,000 years ago during the last Ice Age, it rode the Wisconsin glacier to its final resting spot in Boonton, NJ. It’s quite a site– testament to the strength of nature.
After Bear Rock and the Wetland area of Bear Swamp, we came to the great natural spectacle that is Tripod Rock.
Did glaciers thousands of years ago carry this boulder and by sheer chance leave it resting on these three smaller rocks? Or did ancient people erect this tripod as a spiritual site? You tell me because Wikipedia couldn’t. Apparently, geologists are also undecided, however, I found an interesting discussion about it here.
For the rest of the trail we stayed on high ground until a quick rocky descent near the end. We visited Lucy’s Overlook and two overlooks of NYC, but the rocky terrain kept more of my attention. I wouldn’t suggest hiking Pyramid Mt. without proper footwear. Even with proper footwear, those with knee issues take it slow. Your legs will get toned on this trail. I say this because my left knee was a little swollen after the hike. Even Brett, who was visiting from the hiking haven of San Francisco, said he broke a sweat!
A few last items of note: Dogs were allowed on a leash. I also noticed a kids’ trail about 20 paces in from the start of the Blue trail. It was marked with a friendly green acorn. Though the parking lot was filled, the trails didn’t seem too crowded. There were enough trail options to keep hikers dispersed. The parking lot also had a port-o-john that was both clean and stocked with TP!
I’d say the Pyramid Mountain hike met my expectations in terms of difficulty and attraction. I can’t wait to get back to the area to hike Turkey Mountain!