Schooleys Mountain

Park Site

Trail Map

Hike Distance: 5.02 Miles

My Map:

Another great day and another great hike.  As I got to the trailhead, it was 59 degrees out, and I was the fourth car.  I seriously debated starting with a jacket on, but packed it – and after a few minutes, I was thankful.  I started with the Blue trail (Falling Waters trail) to head to the falls.  Just before the trail descended, I was able to get this picture of Lake George:

Lake George

Just by the dam, the trail starts down – be prepared, this is rocky and steep in sections.  It was perfect weather on my hike; I can only imagine this section on the wet rocks or with ice.  However, the falls are awesome.  You can scramble all over the rocks to get all kinds of views.  It was nearing 60 degrees, had this been August with high heat and humidity, I might have taken a dip.

The Falling Waters trail follows Electric Brook beneath the falls.  There are ruins of the old power station, but I did not find them.  I followed the trail until the fence marking private property, where the trail bears left and goes straight up hill.  At the top of the hill you will come to a junction of many trails and the end of the Falling Waters trail.  There will be rocks on your right, walk out those for a view.

The map shows a point of interest that comprises a big rock outcropping.  Even though I was making a big loop, I took the Pink trail (not named) to its end where it junctions with the Grand Loop trail.  The Pink trail is more a woods road, so, wide with lots of crushed gravel.  There is an unmarked trail to the right which shortly leads to the rocks.

Behind the rocks there should be a view, but with the leaves on the trees, there wasn’t much to see.  I took Pink back to the junction.

At the junction, I turned left onto a White and Teal Trail (Patriot’s Path and the Highlands trail.)  This I took to Fairview Avenue.

Along the way there was a junction and a sign for a Green trail, not named, but shown, on my map.  On the sign was tacked “most difficult.”  After walking about 100 yards I came to sign that said trail’s end, and a cliff.  The map showed more trail, but I couldn’t find where it went, I must have missed it.  Because what I walked was flatter than the Falling Waters trail.  When I come back, I will have to further explore.

I got back on Patriot’s Path/Highland trail and took that to the parking lot at Fairview Avenue, where I would make a left onto the Yellow Dot trail (Beeline trail.)  Approaching this junction and  parking lot is where I ran into more people – this is a fairly busy lot.  This trail has some steep sections as it climbs onto the back section of Schooleys Mountain.  Junction with the Yellow (Grand Loop trail) and continue.

I rested at the junction of Red (High Cut) but stayed on Yellow to get back to the Orange (Upland Meadow trail.)  Orange cuts through two meadows filled with plenty of wild flowers and trees, bird houses, and lots of crickets.  Under a big tree I stopped for a snack though I was mostly done.  The sun was out, and felt great as it pushed the temperatures into the upper 60s.

I walked back on Yellow to Red to cross over the top of Schooleys Mountain.  Following my GPS, I estimated the summit to be right here:

It gets a little squirrlly at the top, I lost the trail a couple of times; and I suspect I wasn’t the only one.  It doesn’t help when I find blazes in the following locations:

Red junctions with Yellow (again) and I took Yellow back to the car.  This portion of the trail is a wide woods road of crushed gravel.

And just before my car I got one more picture of Lake George.

This was a great hike.  By the time I got back to my car, there were more cars there and more people out and about.  This is a really nice park, as are all of the Morris County parks I’ve hiked in.  The trails are well maintained, well blazed and provide great maps (though print your own, there were none at the trailhead.)

Ticks: 0

Blazes:

Hiked: 9/13/2020

 

Turkey Mountain

Park Site

Trail Map

Hike Distance:  6.26 miles

Trails:  Yellow, White, Red, Green, Blue

My Map:

I had been to this park before, though the other side of the street.  Back in 2017, I hiked Pyramid Mountain with my dad in the rain – rain for most of the hike.  It looked like a higher chance of rain on Sunday, so I made this a Saturday hike.  I arrived at the parking lot at 8:30 in the morning, and it was already packed, so I had to park on Mars Court, across the street.  Be careful parking here, you can only park on one side of the streets; and businesses have ominous signs in their lots.  I was surprised it was that packed that early, though it was a really nice day.  I believe I was the fourth car on Mars Court (and when I returned, there were cars all the way down the street, and on 511 south of the park.)  That’s why there is a gap between my starting and ending points on my map, above.  Almost everyone was on Pyramid Mountain, I had Turkey Mountain virtually to myself.

I like this park:  trails are wide (for the most part) made up of mostly dirt and rocks.  There is great signage and trails are very well marked (except when the turn symbol is on a blowdown.)  I noticed at major trail junctions there were cairns, so it was kind of hard to get lost.

I wasn’t planning on taking the red trail right at the beginning, but I thought I saw a viewpoint on the map.  About 300 yards in, I ran into:

There were numerous blowdowns all through the park, most easily navigable.

A shortcut to…mushrooms (JRRT)

While scrambling in the lower portion of the park, it started to get HOT and very humid.  Unlike High Point, I had to zip off the lower portion of my pants.  Not my favorite thing to do, as I’m susceptible to poison ivy, and it’s too easy to get ticks from the fields and high grass.  And no one needs to see my legs.

If you follow the route I took, you will cross the powercut at least four times.  Twice you will go right under towers.  I wasn’t totally prepared for that, as at the first tower, you could hear buzzing.

This guy almost got stepped on.

Following the Yellow trail along the roadside, it suddenly comes out on the road.

Fortunately, it’s pretty well marked, right after the guardrail, make a left into the woods.  (I noticed a pullout parking spot for one car at this spot.)

Left after the guardrail.

At this point, you are heading up Turkey Mountain, I believe to the highest point in the park on this side of 511.  While the trail is wide, I ran into a stone wall that crosses the trail.

When Yellow T-intersects with Red, I took a quick detour to the right to find the actual top of Turkey Mountain.  I couldn’t find a marker, but GPS confirmed that I did in fact reach the highest point.  I retraced my steps, and continued on Red.  There’s a steep descent where you run into Green.  Then a steep ascent, at the top of which are stone ruins.  This area, at one time, was a limestone quarry.

Following Green you come to a great spot overlooking Lake Vallhalla.  There are numerous overlooks along this route, however with the leaves out, many overlooks did not have views.

Finally, I followed Green until Blue, which traveled uphill and up the powercut.  There were some great views from the base of the powerline tower.

This was the beginning of the 100 Stairs, the path down to the road and back to the car.  In the bright, hot and humid sun, this was tough.  In the Fall, it’s probably great.  On a hot and humid day, it’s strenuous.

All in all this was a great hike.  There were a couple of rock hops that probably are trickier in the spring with more water flowing.  Also, it was nice to come back to this park on a day where it wasn’t raining.  When I got back to my car, the street was packed, but I noticed more people returning from Pyramid Mountain.

Tickes:  0

Blazes:

Hiked:  8/22/2020

Pyramid Mountain

On Father’s Day (or the weekend after) I took my dad on a trip to a park that neither of us had hiked previously, Pyramid Mountain – part of the Morris County Parks.  The trails at Pyramid Mountain are known for their glacial erratics – we definitely wanted to see Tripod Rock, but ended up passing a bunch of different rocks.  The day started out nice, however as we got closer to the park it started to rain.  Since we were most of the way there, we were not about to turn back; and it was not yet raining that hard.  That would change.

There were not many other cars in the parking lot when we arrived – probably pretty typical for a rainy day.  I can imagine with the sun out and nice weather that parking lot can get packed. We stopped into the Pyramid Mountain Natural Historic Area visitors center before we started the hike…wow!  What a treat.  The exhibits were great (and given the weather) we had the place to ourselves.  Definitely stop inside if you are hiking in the area, the visitors center is well worth it.

The trailhead was well stocked with maps, and the trail maps for the park are very well done – with a great legend, marked trails and easily read.  It was easy to follow paths, and that I recall, everything was well marked.  We started on the Blue trail and took that to the White trail, which we followed for a while.  We stopped off at Bear rock, a HUGE rock at a trail junction, where we saw the only other people hiking in the park.  We debated cutting over on the Blue/White trail and shortening the hike – it was raining pretty good at this point.  But, we decided to carry on – taking the Blue trail around Bear Swamp and towards the ridge.  There is one steep section that goes up a short distance as you climb onto the ridge.  It’s steep.  I felt it in my thighs when we got to the top.  A short distance from the the top of that climb brought us to Whale Head rock, another very large rock.  I’ll admit, I really did not see the whales head in the rock.  Onward, we hiked on the Red / White-striped trail until it junctioned with the White.  We took the White to Tripod Rock where sits one of the most famous erratics in the park.  I took some pictures here, and this was the only place I took any pictures due to the rain.

After tripod rock, we continued on the Blue trail while on the ridge.  A short detour to Lucy’s Overlook, which probably would have had a magnificent view if it were not cloudy and rainy, was well worth the rocks and the climb.  This “detour” is clearly marked on the Blue trail.  Back on the blue, we hiked until we junctioned with the Yellow and took that all the way back to the visitors center.  (I believe we got back on the Blue for a 300 feet or so to get to the parking lot.)

We had a great time despite the weather.  Turkey Mountain is “across the street” and is something I look forward to coming back to hike.

Hiked:  6/17/2017