Hackensack River Canoe & Kayak Club

paddling for over a third of a century

Hike: Pyramid Mountain Historical Area
by Scott Hagaman

November 23, 2008
Trip Coordinator: Scott Hagaman
Photos by: Laurie Cochran

The Pyramid Mountain area is chock full of good character to make for an interesting day hike; varied terrain with many boulders, cliffs and crevices, several well marked and maintained trails including a reservoir shoreline trail, mountain-top vistas out to NYC and mystical rock formations held sacred by generations of Indians gone by. Oh, and lets not forget a cozy visitors’ center with restrooms.

The weather was sunny, high thirties and a light breeze as thirteen members met mid-morning. We almost had fourteen but one member left her hiking boots back home by mistake. I usually have extra jackets, gloves or hats in the back of the car to lend but ladies hiking boots are not in my gear bag.

We chose a trail loop that starts out fairly level, allowing us a leisurely warm-up before gaining elevation. It ran parallel to the base of the steep eastern side of Pyramid Mountain. The leaves were all down which allowed for wide views of the mountainside’s beautiful rock outcroppings and small cliffs. One trailside cliff had long icicles which some took portraits next to and then chomped on for hydrating fun. This section of the trail also paralleled the shoreline of Taylortown Reservoir which is undeveloped except for the beaver lodge we noted on a small island.

There is a 200 to 300 foot elevation gain from the reservoir to the top ridge of the mountain. The trail zigged and zagged up this height in a short stretch and we were taking in nice views from above before long. We found ourselves peeling off layers of fleece one minute and throwing them back on the next if we stopped to enjoy the views for more than a brief moment. The sun on the east-facing rocks would be inviting to bask in for snack-time but we all agreed to keep going to the main attraction of the mountain – Tripod Rock.

Every time I have been to Tripod Rock, I can’t help but notice how it mesmerizes people. We all walk around it, many crawl under it and some think about the tricky climb to the top of it. It is one of those marvelously entertaining glacial masterpieces of nature that really makes hiking this area special for all ages. Hopefully, you will find the accompanying pictures do it more justice than any further words could convey.

The trail system here has many intersections which allow for plenty of variety in trip length and scenery. We stayed on the trail that followed the ridgeline until one final vista to the east which included the NYC skyline.

In all, the hike was slightly over 4 miles and took about 3 hours – a nice easy pace with plenty of time to talk and enjoy the surroundings.