There is plenty of mystery surrounding Tripod Rock; how did it form, what was it used for, and how is it still standing? It is possible that the rock was used by Native Americans as a sort of calendar, as other rocks in the area line up with the sunset and other places along the horizon, adding to the intrigue of the arrangement. Traversing Pyramid Mountain affords hikers an opportunity to get up close to the rock formation and see the improbable structure from all angles.
What to Expect
From the Pyramid Mountain Natural Historic Area Visitor’s Center, Kyle and I began our loop on the blue trail, the only trail that begins from the parking lot. The first 15 minutes or so of hiking are relatively flat, but this is followed by a moderately challenging incline for about 5 minutes. After this steep section, we continued along the blue trail. As we walked it began to snow, and the trail became dusted with the white powder, making for a beautiful winter scene as we walked.
The blue trail eventually links up with the yellow trail and bears left; Kyle and I turned right where the blue trail again diverged (we only followed the blue and yellow blaze for about a minute before we turned). Shortly after turning, a sign pointedus in the direction of Lucy’s Overlook, which provided us with a sweeping albeit slightly obstructed view. We then backtracked and continued to follow the blue trail, which eventually became the white trail.
Shortly after, we came upon the main attraction, Tripod Rock. Seeing the precarious structure with my own eyes was mind-boggling; a seemingly impossible formation stood in front of me. Kyle and I took the time to view the rocks from all angles. Nothing that we saw made any sense, but there it was. After finally arriving at Tripod Rock, we were left with more questions than answers as to how it remained standing and what it may have been used for.
We then went back the way we came, turned right onto a trail marked with a blue and white blaze, passed Bear Rock (anotheer massive glacial erratic), and followed the white trail for another 20 minutes or so, where it met back up with the blue trail. The blue trail then returned us to the parking lot, where we began our hike.
Hiking at a moderate to brisk pace, it took us around an hour and a half to complete the approximately 3 mile loop. Though the parking lot was full when we arrived, other hikers were scarce (we went in the middle of January). Although the hike was peaceful and beautiful, it was not the most exciting excursion we’ve ever embarked upon. Minus the wintry charm of the bare trees and the snow, hikers should not expect too many interesting sights along the route (with the overlook and Tripod Rock itself being exceptions).
Take I-287 to exit 45 toward Wootton Street/Boonton. After continuing onto Park Ave, turn left onto Wootton St. After half a mile, turn left onto Boonton Ave. After another 3 miles, the parking lot is on the left.
There is only one lot near the visitor center, and it fills up quickly. We suggest arriving before noon in order to secure a spot in the lot.