May 25, 2024
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May 25, 2024
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Linking Northern and Central NJ, Bronx, Manhattan, Westchester and CT

Hike the Loop Hike Along the Palisades South of State Line Lookout

This three-mile easy-to-moderate hike along the Palisades, beginning at the State Line Lookout in Alpine (Bergen County, New Jersey), features many panoramic views over the Hudson River and Westchester County across the river. It also passes by the Women’s Federation Monument — a small stone “castle” that commemorates the efforts of the New Jersey Federation of Women’s Clubs to preserve the Palisades in the early 20th century. The hike is nearly flat for most of the way, but it includes a descent and then a climb of stone steps towards its end. It can be completed in two hours, but it might take you a little longer if you spend some time at the viewpoints along the way. 

To reach the trailhead from Teaneck, take N.J. Route 4 East to Fort Lee and head north on the Palisades Interstate Parkway. Continue for about nine miles (1.7 miles beyond Exit 2), and turn right at a sign for the State Line Lookout. Follow the access road for about half a mile until it ends at a large parking lot near the lookout. The hike is about 14 miles from Teaneck, and it should take about 20 minutes to get there. Metered parking is in effect at the State Line Lookout ($1.50 per hour weekdays; $2.50 per hour weekends; no fee on Wednesdays). The first hour of parking is free, provided you enter your license plate number into the metered parking system.

The hike begins at the northwest corner of the State Line Lookout parking area, at a sign for the Long Path. Follow the wide path into the woods. You’ll soon reach a junction where the Long Path turns left and Trail A comes in from the left and proceeds ahead. Continue ahead on the wide path. Just beyond, you’ll come to another junction. Here, Trail C begins on the right, but you should continue ahead on Trail A. About five minutes into the hike, you’ll reach a third junction, marked by an old rock monument on the left. Trail A turns left here, but you should continue ahead on Trail B, which begins to climb.

After approaching the Parkway, Trail B curves to the left. Soon, with the access road to State Line Lookout visible ahead, a branch of Trail B goes off to the left, but you should continue ahead to the paved access road. Cross the road and turn right along its shoulder for 400 feet. Just beyond a “Do Not Enter” sign, at a sign “9W Overpass 0.1 mi.,” there is a break in the stone guardrail. Turn left here and descend on an unmarked trail, which climbs a little and bears left, crosses a wooden footbridge, and begins to parallel the Parkway.

After turning left, away from the Parkway, the unmarked trail ends at a woods road just east of the Parkway. Turn left onto this road, and just ahead you’ll reach a junction with the blue/white-blazed Forest View Trail. To the right, this trail crosses a footbridge over the Parkway, but you should proceed ahead (east) on the trail, which follows a wide woods road. At the next junction, turn sharply right onto another road – the route of the aqua-blazed Long Path – and continue to follow the Long Path when, in about 500 feet, it turns left onto another woods road.

In another 0.3 mile, the Long Path curves to the left and begins to approach the cliff edge. When it curves to the right near the cliff edge, continue ahead on a footpath that leads towards a concrete-block wall. Just to the right of the wall is a spectacular viewpoint, known as Ruckman Point. This overlook – situated 520 feet above the Hudson River below – offers panoramic views up and down the river. The abandoned pilings in the river to the north are the remains of the former Forest View marina.

When you’re ready to continue, go back to the Long Path and head west, retracing your steps for about 200 feet, then turn right onto a wide, unmarked footpath (before reaching a concrete culvert). Follow this trail for about 0.2 mile along a section of cliff that has split from the main face of the Palisades, with a steep ravine on the left. At the end of the trail, there is another panoramic viewpoint from which you can see north as far as the Tappan Zee Bridge.

Now retrace your steps, returning to the Long Path, and turn right, crossing a concrete culvert over a stream. About 100 feet beyond the culvert, you’ll notice a gravel path that goes off to the right. Turn right and follow this unmarked trail which heads north, parallel to but on the other side of the ravine. Soon after reaching the end of the isolated cliff section on the right, you’ll approach another ravine. Here, a side trail leads right to another panoramic viewpoint.

Continue ahead on the unmarked trail, with an interesting shallow ravine on the left. Soon, another side trail on the right leads to a viewpoint with a bench. In the spring, daffodils and periwinkle bloom in this area. Beyond the viewpoint, the trail passes through the former estate of John and Cora Burnett, which was taken by eminent domain in the 1950s to enable the construction of the Palisades Interstate Parkway. You’ll notice on the left a number of exotic plants and the remnants of their swimming pool.

After widening into a woods road, the unmarked trail ends at an intersection with the blue/white-blazed Forest View Trail and the aqua-blazed Long Path. Turn right and follow these trails, which lead to the Women’s Federation Monument – a small stone “castle” that commemorates the efforts of the New Jersey Federation of Women’s Clubs to preserve the Palisades in the early 20th century.

Continue to follow the aqua-blue/white-blazed trail, which descends steadily to a T-intersection. Here, the Forest View Trail turns right, but you should turn left, following the aqua-blazed Long Path, which crosses a footbridge over a stream and climbs rather steeply on rock steps. At the top of the climb, follow the Long Path as it crosses the access road to State Line Lookout and re-enters the woods. A short distance ahead, the Long Path turns right onto Trail A. Continue along the Long Path/Trail A, which passes a vernal pond and returns to the parking area where the hike began.

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