Sunday, August 18, 2019

Breakneck Ridge Shortest Loop

Hudson Highlands State Park,
Dutchess/Putnam Co.
New York

Hiking Trails:
Breakneck Ridge Trail: White blaze
Undercliff Trail: Yellow blaze
Connector Trail: Green blaze
Brook Trail: Red blaze

Total Time: 2:30 hour
Estimated Distance: 2.7 Miles

Pros: Challenging climb with amazing views
Cons: Extremely busy with many people

Hiking Partners:
Rayzi Friedman
Joseph Friedman

Breakneck Ridge is one of the most challenging hikes in the region. The climb is a very steep and steady climb of 1500 feet from sea level to the top of the mountain. It has become very popular and busy in recent years, especially on weekends. Nevertheless, I still try to make a trek up the mountain at least once a year. I had not been here in over a year and decided it was due time to make another hike here.

It had been raining overnight, with the morning still cloudy and very steamy. It was hot in the morning, but as we continued the heat increased. I did not know this, but there was a heat advisory because of a high heat index from high temperatures and high humidity. I found myself much more challenged than usual on this hike, and was more exhausted on this hike than in previous times scaling this mountain. Looking back, it makes sense because of the heat index.

We parked along the side of the road on Route 9D together with the many other cars here, and took the Breakneck Ridge Trail up the mountain. We continued straight up on this difficult ascent until reaching the Undercliff Trail. My original plan was to continue further for a longer loop, but due to the heat, humidity, and me feeling week, we decided to take this shorter route.

As we descended along the Undercliff Trail, on the southern side of the mountain, we noticed a new trail blazed which cuts a shortcut to the Brook Trail. This new green-blazed trail connects the trails avoiding the additional ascent on the Undercliff Trail. We then took the Brook trail to its terminus at Route 9D, and then walked north along Route 9D, under the tunnel, back to our car.

Map of the Route

Info Kiosk at the Beginning of the Hike with Volunteers Helping People

The Beginning Ascent

Me at the Beginning Ascent

Storm King Shrouded in Clouds Across the River

Zoomed int to Storm King. Note the Kayakers in the Hudson River

Me at the First Viewpoint

Ascending a Large Boulder Face

View with Storm King Across the River

The American Flat and the Hudson River

View Facing North, Towards Pollepel Island

View Across the River and Towards Newburgh

View Facing South with Route 9D and the Metro North Railroad

Zoomed in to Pollepel Island

Storm King Mountain and a Large Freight Train Across the River

Another View of the Flag and Storm King

View Towards Bull Hill towards the Southeast

View on the Ascent

Profile of Bull Hill

Me in front of Bull Hill

The Start of the Undercliff Trail

Plaque for the new Green-Blazed Connector Trail

Breakneck Ridge from the Road

Approaching the Tunnel on Route 9D

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