Hiking in the Palisades Interstate Park

Everyone is probably already familiar with the route through Tallman Park to get to Piermont and the swimming pool—just use the parking area opposite the 9W golf range development and follow the gravel path. However, there are also great views of the river from the top of the cliffs south of Lamont, and a beautiful trail threads through the woods along the river at the cliffs’ base.

You can access these trails in several spots. First, you can go directly from the intersection of Route 9W and the main Lamont entrance, and look for the painted blazes in the woods behind the large rocks marking the old parking area. Since there is no parking there now, you have to walk up through Lamont from Snedens Landing to walk this trail. This is also a good way to get to the Peanut Leap waterfall.

Another option is to drive a short distance south on Route 9W into New Jersey, and just past the Boy Scout Camp you’ll see the pedestrian overpass that carries a blue-blazed trail over the Parkway. There is a gravel area by the side of the road on the northbound side where you can park. This trail leads to the wonderful folly—a kid-sized stone castle that is a monument to the contribution made by the women’s clubs of New Jersey in the creation of the park system in the early 20th century.

If you follow the trail past the castle, down a hill to a ravine with a stream, you will intersect with the trail that leads down to the edge of the river. The descent is nicknamed “The 400 Steps” and requires a bit of stamina, but is worth it.

Another option is to go the other way, (i.e. south from the castle) along the top of the cliffs. In July, this is an excellent area to find wild raspberries. This cliff-top trail goes past all the rest stops along the Parkway between Fort Lee and us so you can pick it up from any of them to hike a different section. The woods are very dog friendly, although it is a good idea to bring a leash with you because rangers have been known to fine people as much as $75 for not having one.

Spring Palisades Interstate Park Hosts Guided Walks and Lectures

Sunday, March 4

"The Riviera" winter history hike with Eric Nelsen. Meet 11:00 am at Fort Lee Historic Park (access from Hudson Terrace, immediately south of the George Washington Bridge). About 2 miles, 2 hours. Easy. Snow or icy trail conditions may cancel. Free. To confirm the morning of the hike if conditions seem questionable: 201-768-1360 ext. 208.

Thursday, March 22

“A New Deal for the Palisades,” a video lecture with Eric Nelsen for the Tappan Public Library. 7:30 pm at the Library, 93 Main St., Tappan, NY. Free, but please register: 845 359-3877.

Saturday, April 14

"Peanut Leap Cascade" history hike with Eric Nelsen. Meet 11:00 am at Stateline Lookout (northbound PIP opposite Exit 3 in Alpine). About 4 miles, 2 hours. Moderate with some challenging slopes. Free.

Wednesday evenings, April 18 & 25

"Punch & Pie at Mrs. Kearney's Tavern." Tavern night programs at Kearney House with food & drink, music, tall tales & more. 7:30–10:00 pm. $18/guest. Reservations and pre-payment required. (Mail check to Palisades Interstate Park, Box 155, Alpine, NJ 07620, attn: Kearney House.)

Sunday, April 29

"Closter Landing Loop" history hike with Eric Nelsen. Meet 10:00 am at the Kearney House at the Alpine Boat Basin & Picnic Area (PIP Exit 2). About 5 miles, 3 hours. Moderate. Free.

Sunday, May 6

"Shad Bake at Mrs. Kearney's Tavern" with food and drink, music, activities, a shad sampling (at 2:00 pm) and more. 11:00 am –3:00 pm at the Kearney House, Alpine Boat Basin and Picnic Area (PIP Exit 2). $4/participant (suggested donation), $2/child. Sponsored by the Hudson River Foundation, Palisades Nature Association and the Kearney House.

Sunday, May 13

"Mother's Day Hike to the Women's Federation Monument" with Eric Nelsen. Meet 11:00 am at Park Headquarters in Alpine (PIP Exit 2). About 3 miles, 2 hours. Easy. Free.

For more information on walks and events call: 201-768-1360 ext. 208.

You can find other programs at http://www.njpalisades.org/calendar.htm or, for a printer-friendly listing, at http://www.njpalisades.org/caleprint.htm.