May 26, 2024
Search
Close this search box.
Search
Close this search box.
May 26, 2024
Search
Close this search box.

Linking Northern and Central NJ, Bronx, Manhattan, Westchester and CT

Hike Along the Hudson River in the Palisades Interstate Park

This moderate loop hike in the New Jersey section of the Palisades Interstate Park combines a stroll along the river with a walk along the top of the cliffs, passing several outstanding viewpoints and interesting ruins of a former estate. It’s about eight miles long and should take about five hours to hike. You have to climb about 400 vertical feet from the river to the top of the cliffs and then descend back to the river level, but the climb follows an old road with gentle grades. Dogs are permitted on leash.

To get there, take N.J. Route 4 East to the last exit in New Jersey, and continue onto Bruce Reynolds Boulevard. In 0.2 miles, turn right onto Hudson Terrace. Proceed downhill on Hudson Terrace for 0.4 miles and turn left onto Henry Hudson Drive, entering the Palisades Interstate Park. Proceed north on Henry Hudson Drive for about 2.5 miles to the Englewood Boat Basin, and continue to the northern end of the boat basin. Note: The park entrance road that provides direct access from Palisade Avenue in Englewood Cliffs to the Englewood Boat Basin (known as Dyckman Hill Road) was severely damaged by Tropical Storm Ida on September 1, 2021, and is closed to all traffic. The only access to the Englewood Boat Basin is via the park entrance at the Fort Lee/Edgewater boundary. The trailhead is about 8.5 miles from Teaneck (via the above route), and it should take about 20 minutes to get there.

While metered parking is in effect in the southern part of the Englewood Boat Basin, there is no charge for parking at the northern end of the Boat Basin.

From the northern end of the Englewood Boat Basin, proceed north along the white-blazed Shore Trail, immediately passing on the left the stone ruins of the Bloomer’s Bathhouse. Follow the Shore Trail as it runs along the narrow strip between the Palisades cliffs on the left and the Hudson River on the right. The trail goes through an area infested with poison ivy, so be sure to wear long pants and avoid touching this plant, characterized by its three leaves. Although the trail is mostly level, sections of the trail are rocky, and care should be exercised.

In about half a mile, the trail reaches a beach and briefly runs adjacent to the Henry Hudson Drive, which descends to the river level here. A short distance beyond, you’ll pass the ruins of the Undercliff Bathhouse in an open area.

For the next three miles or so, the trail runs through a secluded area. New York City and Yonkers are across the river, but all is quiet, except for the occasional noise from boats in the river, aircraft above or trains on the other side of the river. You’ll pass some old stone picnic tables and former beaches, and at one point you can look up at the cliffs on the left.

About 1.7 miles from the ruins of the Undercliff Bathhouse, you’ll cross a wooden bridge and pass a small waterfall, known as Lost Brook Falls, on the left. About a third of a mile ahead, you’ll notice a beach and a stone jetty on the right. This is the site of the old Lambier’s Dock. Then, in another third of a mile, you’ll reach Greenbrook Falls, a large waterfall over a rock face to the left of the trail. The trail crosses just below the falls on large boulders.

Half a mile beyond Greenbrook Falls, you’ll pass the ruins of a stone jetty on the right, with a beautiful view upriver to the north. Just beyond, at an historical marker, a woods road departs to the left. This is the Huyler’s Landing Trail, marked with dark red blazes. Bear left here and follow this trail as it switchbacks up a wide woods road, soon reaching the paved Henry Hudson Drive. Turn left and follow the drive for about 300 feet, then turn right, ascend wood-and-concrete steps, and continue to ascend on a narrower path. The ascent is steady but moderate. As the trail nears the top of the cliffs, it turns right and climbs wide stone steps. Finally, just before reaching the Palisades Interstate Parkway, the Huyler’s Landing Trail ends at a junction with the aqua-blazed Long Path.

Turn left at this junction and follow the Long Path south, parallel to the Parkway. Although the noise of the traffic on the Parkway can constantly be heard, the Parkway itself is often out of sight. At first, the Long Path follows a grassy woods road. It soon dips down, climbs back to the level of the Parkway, and begins to parallel the fence of the Greenbrook Sanctuary on the left. A short distance beyond, it dips again to cross a stream. In another half mile, the trail crosses the paved entrance road to the Greenbrook Sanctuary, which is open to members only.

On the other side of the road, the Long Path climbs wooden steps, continues across several wet areas on puncheons (wooden planks), which may be slippery when wet, and crosses the Green Brook on a stone-faced bridge. In three-quarters of a mile, a short side trail on the left leads to Clinton Point—a magnificent viewpoint over the river, with Yonkers visible on the left across the river. There is no fencing here, so use caution and do not approach the edge of the cliffs.

In two-thirds of a mile, after crossing a wet area on puncheons, you’ll reach another viewpoint, with the Henry Hudson Parkway bridge across the river to the right. After passing the stone ruins of the former Cadgene estate, you’ll arrive at the Rockefeller Lookout, with fine views over the river. The George Washington Bridge is visible to the south, with the New York City skyline beyond.

Half a mile south of the Rockefeller Lookout, the Long Path swings to the left, away from the Parkway. Just beyond, as the trail curves to the right, you’ll notice an unmarked path leaving to the left. Turn left and follow this short side trail, which leads to the High Tom overlook, with outstanding views across the Hudson River and up the river to the north. After enjoying this beautiful spot, return to the main trail, turn left, and proceed south.

You’ll soon arrive at Palisade Avenue in Englewood. Descend stone steps, turn left and briefly parallel the ramp to the northbound Parkway, then turn left again and follow the sidewalk which descends along the park entrance road (although the park entrance road is closed to vehicular traffic, the trail is open to pedestrians). You’ll notice the yellow blazes of the Dyckman Hill Trail, which begins here. Follow the yellow blazes as they turn left and descend stone-and-concrete steps, passing by a waterfall and then going through an underpass beneath the entrance road. The trail then turns right and continues to descend on stone-paved switchbacks. When you again reach the park entrance road, cross the road, turn right, then descend steps on the left. Upon reaching the river level, head north until you reach the northern end of the boat basin area, where you parked your car.

By Daniel Chazin

Leave a Comment

Most Popular Articles