Thursday, October 11, 2012

Palisades State Border Hike

Palisades Interstate Park
Bergen and Rockland Counties,
New York and New Jersey

Hiking Trails:

Long Path: Green blaze
Shore Trail: White blaze
Trail E: Unblazed

Total Time: 1:30 hours
Estimated Distance: 3.3 miles
Level of Difficulty: Difficult
Level of Recommendation: Recommended for a tough hike with good views close to NYC
Points Of Interest: Amazing views above cliffs, hike to riverfront

Google Maps of Parking:

View 2012 Hiking in a larger map

This hike has many interesting parts to it that make it unique:
  • The hike starts at the top with the main view above, and then one hikes down.
  • The hike straddles two states: New York and New Jersey.
  • Though the hike is a very close proximity to New York City, it is a very rugged and serene terrain.
This hike features sweeping views of the Hudson River atop tall vertical cliffs ascending straight above the western shore of the Hudson River. These cliffs are a volcanic rock formation known as the Palisades (after which both the Parkway and the Mall are named after.)

The hike starts at the State Line Lookout on the Palisades Parkway. (If driving southbound on the Palisades, turn around at exit 3 to get here.) After parking I took the Long Path north, which eventually crosses the state border, at which point there is a large monument marking the state line. Immediately after crossing into New York, the trail is literally immediately above the cliff above the river and offers sweeping views including that of the Tappan Zee Bridge directly north crossing the Hudson River. After descending the steep stairs into the valley, the Long Path goes slightly inland and crosses a small stream. Here is the intersection with the Shore Trail.

The Shore Trail further descends along the side of the stream and winds up steeply at the shoreline of the river. At this point where it hits the water stands a small waterfall, known as Peanut Leap Falls (which was mostly dry), and an old ruin known as The Pergola, which supposedly was an old estate. I would have liked to continue at this point ahead to the Giant's Stairs, which is an amazing hiking experience, but the trail had been closed. On May 12, 2012 there was a giant rock slide (no pun intended) below the State Line Lookout, and entirely covered the Shore Path at the Giant's Stairs. (View this article for additional information on this massive rock slide.) The rock slide caused the closure of the trail, and it is uncertain when the trail will be rebuilt and reopened. Anyone who has any additional information on this should please share this in the comments section.

At this point I turned around, climbed back up the path above the falls, and then did a small bushwack cutting across back to the Long Path before the stairs. Retraced my path to the Long Path, and then veered off a parallel Cross Country Ski Path with a sign calling it Trail E, which took me to the old abandoned part of Route 9W which I took back to the parking area.

Map of the Route.
I just installed a new Topo KMZ file for Google Earth,
so my maps should be better quality now when they overlap a USGS zone.

View at the beginning. Looking south towards Yonkers and The Bronx.

View at the beginning looking North.

Junction at the Long Path.
Sign says that the Giant's Staircase is currently out.

Interesting Balanced Rock.
I think this is called "Station Rock".

NY/NJ State Border Monument.

View Immediately North of the Border in NY.
Facing north towards the Tappan Zee Bridge.

Interesting Diabase Column Formation

Looking north before descent viewing the Tappan Zee Bridge.

The same view zoomed out.

A trickling Peanut Leap Falls on the left,
with the Pergola ruin on the right.

Shorline on the Hudson River at the end of the hike.
Step ascent back up on the Long Path.

At the end of the hike facing south.
Note the facial formation on the rock. Looks like an Indian.

Zoomed In to the Indian.

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