Hikes Along The Hudson

As a resident of Palisades it never ceases to amaze me the good fortune of having miles of protected green space supporting magnificent nature trails along the mighty Hudson within minutes of my doorstep.

Tallman State Park is home to our own familiar path in the woods and a scenic option for walking or biking to Piermont. A walk to the upper picnic area will give you some added great vertical views. The more rugged trail in Tallman rolls along the top of the cliffs. The closest parking lot is just north of the Market.

Then the Hook Mountain walk begins with a short drive up 9W from Palisades into the Nyack Beach State Park, at the top of North Broadway in Upper Nyack. This mostly flat path hugs the shore and is great for family bicycling, easy walking, even wheel chairs. You can stroll a good distance, all the way up to Haverstraw 4.8 miles away, and it connects to an upper trail, part of the Long Path, for a longer and more vigorous hike. Hawks and bald eagles are often sighted flying above.

Did you know that the Palisades Interstate Park, managed by the Palisades Interstate Commission, consists of more than 100,000 acres of parklands and historic sites in N.Y. and N.J.? The two states formed the Commission in 1900 to stop the defacement of the Palisades by stone quarries, which were blasting the famous cliffs into gravel. There are more than 30 miles of hiking trails, riverfront picnic groves, playgrounds, two boat basins, historic sites, and mile after mile of rugged woodlands. The Palisades are a National Natural Landmark and the Long Path and Shore Trail are National Recreation Trails.

Behind Lamont Doherty’s newest glass Geochemistry building is a short entrance trail that leads to both the Shore Trail (white blaze markers) and the Long Path (aqua blaze markers). Work your way downhill to the sign for Shore Trail, note the 0.3 mile descent down to Peanut Leap Falls. This is a short but strenuous hike as it meanders down the ravine, including some steep and large steps to the falls, which after a big rain are fast flowing and spectacular. For those wanting an even more exciting challenge, continue southbound along the river for a mile where you’ll meet the Giant Stairs. Another option from back up at the signpost is to walk southbound across a small wooden bridge, then up steep stone steps to Eagle Rock, a place with magnificent views. You can also access the Long Trail from 9W at Washington Spring Road by following the aqua blazes, walking south to 135 9W (the daycare and preschool driveway), and stepping into the woods there. It’s a lovely path leading up to the Lamont entrance, where you’ll see the brown sign and trail entrance at the beginning of Old Route 9W. From here, you can hike to Peanut Falls and Eagle Rock. These trails are rugged. Walking the Old Route 9W is hilly but easier, and about a mile to the state line lookout.

To experience the grandeur of both the Long Path and the Shore Trail, I recommend driving down to Exit 2 on the Palisades Parkway and parking in the Park and Police Headquarters lot. Pick up a map inside. For a fantastic 5 mile loop, walk north on the Long Path (it runs close to the parkway for a time but is still beautiful), and within two miles you come to the Women’s Federation Monument. Engraved on it is the quote, “The blast of the quarry man will never again resound along those splendid cliffs - waking their echoes in protest of the modern spirit of greed which threatened their ancient repose.” Continue north for just a bit before descending down many steps to the Shore Trail. Walk south along the shore for about two miles until you come to the Closter Dock Trail sign, then walk up the wide path to the Park Headquarters, 0.6 miles. It is well worth the approximately two to three hours of your time. Or hike the southern loop from Park Headquarters down to the Closter Dock Trail to the Shore Trail walk south to Huylers Landing, then follow red blazes (it zigzags) up to the Long Path, head north to Alpine Lookout, and continue north to Park Headquarters. This is a wonderful hike, too, and a bit shorter.

For an easy flat path walk with breathtaking views of the George Washington Bridge and the city, drive south along River Road from Park Headquarters, (a gorgeous drive, by the way) to the Englewood boat basin, then walk along the Shore Trail (a wide path about a mile long) down to Ross Dock Picnic Area.