Tripod Rock and Bear Rock

Boonton, New Jersey

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4 out of 5
Just north of Morristown’s suburban sprawl, a series of low ridges rises to nine hundred feet above sea level. These Highlands summits, separated by narrow valleys, have remained sparsely settled for centuries. Native Americans once hunted and foraged here. Later, notorious outlaws used the region as a hide-out, while nineteenth-century charcoal makers and quarrymen came and went. This rough country was long recognized for its freakish rock formations, glacial erratics that have since shaped local history. Native Americans may have utilized Tripod Rock (a two-hundred-ton boulder perched atop three basketball-sized stones) as a celestial calendar. Nineteenth-century surveyors used house-sized Bear Rock as a boundary marker. In the twentieth century, hikers laid out trails and made pilgrimages to both sites. Eventually, it was these two unique boulders that inspired conservationists to protect Pyramid Mountain. This 3.0 mile loop hike is celebrated for its spring and autumn wildflowers. It takes walkers to both Tripod Rock and Bear Rock, and to a Manhattan skyline vista.
Nature Walks in New Jersey

DESCRIPTION FROM:

Nature Walks in New Jersey

by Glenn Scherer (Appalachian Mountain Club Books)

Just north of Morristown’s suburban sprawl, a series of low ridges rises to nine hundred feet above sea level. These Highlands summits, separated by narrow valleys, have remained sparsely settled for centuries. Native Americans once hunted and foraged here. Later, notorious outlaws used the region as a hide-out, while nineteenth-century charcoal makers and quarrymen came and went. This rough country was long recognized for its freakish rock formations, glacial erratics that have since shaped local history. Native Americans may have utilized Tripod Rock (a two-hundred-ton boulder perched atop three basketball-sized stones) as a celestial calendar.

Nineteenth-century surveyors used house-sized Bear Rock as a boundary marker. In the twentieth century, hikers laid out trails and made pilgrimages to both sites. Eventually, it was these two unique boulders that inspired conservationists to protect Pyramid Mountain. This 3.0 mile loop hike is celebrated for its spring and autumn wildflowers. It takes walkers to both Tripod Rock and Bear Rock, and to a Manhattan skyline vista.

©  Glenn Scherer/Appalachian Mountain Club Books. All Rights Reserved.

Activity Type: Hiking
Nearby City: Boonton
Distance: 3
Elevation Gain: 400 feet
Trail Type: Loop/Lollipop
Skill Level: Moderate
Duration: 3 hours
Season: Year-round
Local Contacts: Pyramid Mountain, Morris County Park
Topo Map: Tripod Rock and Bear Rock Topographic Map
Guide Book: Nature Walks in New Jersey Guide Book
Driving Directions: View Directions
Trail Directions: View Guide

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Recent Trail Reviews

5/5/2012

Tripod rock offers much to see in a short hike. Animals are everywhere, and wild flowers and mushrooms paint the trails. Tripod rock is amazing to see (if you haven't, GO!), and Bear rock is humbling. The scenic overlooks are disappointing, and if you're looking for pretty vistas you really should look elsewhere. If you're planning a hike to Tripod Rock, I'd recommend going on a weekday as this popular and easy trail can get fairly busy. Being listed as a hike for "families" and "dog walking", the trail can be loud if you don't go on an "off-day".

9/28/2009

Nice trail with great rock formations. We experienced a threat of rain and so had to hike through fairly quickly. Took my 7 year old son who found it enjoyable.

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