Open / Closed in the Park:
See the Parkway Police Twitter feed for updates.
|Allison Park: Open daylight hours. Restrooms closed for season.|
|Alpine Boat Basin: Closed for season.|
|Alpine Picnic Area: Open daylight hours. Pavilion restrooms closed for season (parking plaza restrooms remain open). Kearney House closed for season.|
|Englewood Boat Basin: Please contact J.M. Englewood Marina: 201-568-1328.|
|Englewood Picnic Area: Open daylight hours. Snack Shack closed for season.|
|Fort Lee Historic Park: Grounds open daylight hours. Metered parking (year-round, click here for rates). Visitor Center open Weds. to Sun., 10 AM – 4:45 PM. 201-461-1776.|
|Greenbrook Sanctuary: Open daylight hours (membership required). 201-784-0484.|
|Hazard’s Ramp: Closed for season.|
|Henry Hudson Drive: Conditions permitting, Fort Lee to Englewood open daylight hours. Englewood to Alpine closed to motor vehicles for season.|
|Palisades Interstate Parkway in New Jersey: Open 24 hrs.|
|Park Headquarters: Administrative offices open Mon. to Fri., 8:30 AM – 4:30 PM except New Jersey State holidays. 201-768-1360. Parkway Police desk staffed at all times: 201-768-6001. Click here for Court information.
|Ross Dock Picnic Area: Open daylight hours. Restrooms closed for season (Port-A-Johns available).|
|State Line Lookout: Grounds open daylight hours. Lookout Inn (State Line Cafe & bookshop) open 9:30 AM – 5 PM. 201-750-0465.|
|Trails: Open daylight hours. Trail construction with intermittent closures this winter on the Shore Trail between Ross Dock and Englewood.|
|Undercliff Picnic Area: Open daylight hours.|
Sidebar last updated:
February 10, 2017.
The information posted here is subject to change without notice.
The hikes on this page are better suited to hikers who have some real hiking experience. The trails traversed are in places rugged and have steep slopes. (“The Giant Stairs” includes a challenging rock scramble coupled with steep slopes and is the most difficult hike in the park.) These hikes may take over three hours to complete, and younger children may not be able to complete them. Older children and adults should be in good shape and confident of their hiking abilities. Hikers should take a moment or two to read our hiking tips (on our main hiking page) before setting out.
Bombay Hook (Forest View Hike)
Length: 8 mi. (round-trip distance)
Time: 5 hr.
Start: Alpine Picnic Area
Click to download a printable version of this hiking description (condensed for printout), with a map and “Tips for Hikers.”
This hike will bring you to some of the most impressive scenery in the area. And if the ascent up the Forest View Trail seems daunting, you can always turn around at that point...
Begin at the Kearney House at the north end of the Alpine Picnic Area. As you look north up the river, you will notice a pronounced point — or “hook” — extending out into the river. This is “Bombay Hook,” and the stone column you see on it is called “the man in the rock.” This geological formation is at the center of this hike. Head north along the white-blazed Shore Trail, which ascends behind the stone picnic pavilion. The trail will level off at its intersection with the orange-blazed Closter Dock Trail. Keep heading north along the wide, inviting Shore Trail. Here you will pass through an area that was once a small fisherman’s village, known as “Cape Fly Away.” Several stone stairways to the river make interesting side trips.
About 0.75 mi. from the start, the trail divides, with the official Shore Trail going downhill, toward the river. The other trail, the “Upper Trail,” will rejoin the Shore Trail in another 0.75 miles — you can use either trail (after heavy rains, the Upper Trail is preferred, as the Shore Trail tends to flood). The two trails eventually rejoin, now staying close to the river. In less than a mile you will come on spectacular views of the wild cliff face of the Palisades. (Looking north, you should be able to make out the “Indian Head” profile at the top of the cliffs.)
The shore will grow wider and meadow-like. You are entering the park’s old Forest View Area — a picnic area and boat basin that was abandoned to nature after World War II. Keep a sharp eye out for the blue-and-white-blazed Forest View Trail to your left — take a break! — then climb this steep trail toward the summit.
Near the top, the Forest View Trail intersects with the aqua-blazed Long Path at a wooden bridge. Stay on the Forest View Trail (do not cross the bridge), heading south, as it overlaps the Long Path, continuing on the final ascent to the summit and the Women’s Federation Monument. (This makes a good lunch spot.)
A side trip: Just south of the Monument, you’ll see a wide unmarked trail that enters the woods, headed more or less south, roughly parallel to the cliff edge. Following this trail takes you into the former Timken-Burnett property, a large estate owned by Cora Timken (heiress of the Timken roller bearing fortune) and her husband, John Clawson Burnett, an osteopath and scientist. Little remains of the estate, but what does is intriguing. A short way along, for example, on the right (west) side of the unmarked trail, is their former swimming pool, now mostly filled in, but of a unique shape and design. The area is fascinating to explore, but please keep to the several unmarked but obvious trails, use caution around slopes and cliffs, and do not “bushwhack” through this area, which is also prime habitat for wildlife.
A short way down the trail from the Monument, the Long Path will separate from the Forest View Trail to head south. Stay on the aqua-blazed Long Path, following it south (you’ll be on the Long Path for most of the rest of this hike). The Long Path will eventually wind back toward the cliff edge, at an impressive overlook called Ruckman Point (it’s worth investigating some of the “graffiti” carved into the rocks from over a century ago), where you can look down on the route you took earlier.
Another side trip: From Ruckman Point, a well-defined but unmarked trail heads north, parallel to the cliff edge. This trail actually goes out for about 0.5 mi. onto a large “point” on the cliffs — in essence, it is a dead end. But it is also one of the most picturesque spots in the park, and a great location for observing hawks and other raptors.
Keep south on the Long Path as it goes through the woods above Bombay Hook. You will eventually cross a stream on a wooden bridge. Keep an eye out for “Grey Crag,” with an old concrete span that goes out to a free-standing crag of rock. This bridge was built by John Ringling, of the Ringling Brothers’ Circus, to accompany his summer mansion at this location (you can find some of the foundation remains of the mansion just south of the concrete bridge). Cross this bridge at your own risk, noting that the crag is prone to poison ivy growth.
The Long Path will bring you to Park Headquarters in about 0.5 mi. (Restrooms and a drinking fountain are available here.) Continuing south, you will get to the top of the orange-blazed Closter Dock Trail, right where the Long Path crosses Alpine Approach Road through a small tunnel to continue south. Take the Closter Dock Trail (orange) downhill to the Shore Trail, just a couple of hundred yards from where you started.
- Learn about life around Cape Fly Away a century ago in “Fly Away.”
- Learn more about the Women’s Monument in “A Stop along the Long Path” — and what the deal is with that swimming pool in “Stranger than Weird.”
- Learn about Gray Crag and the Ringlings in “Gray Crag.”
The Giant Stairs
Length: 4 mi. (round-trip distance)
Time: 2+ hrs.
Start: State Line Lookout
Click to download a printable version of this hiking description keyed to a map and including “Tips for Hikers.”
- Begin this loop hike at Lookout Inn at State Line Lookout. From here, you can begin by going either south or north.
To begin south: Begin at Lookout Inn and go to the ski trail entrance at the northwest corner of the parking area. At your first left, take ski trail “A” which also overlaps with the aqua-blazed Long Path. Follow until it comes to a junction, where you turn left to cross the entrance road to State Line Lookout (use caution here). Continue through the gap in the parapet stones and into the woods.
The trail goes down a ravine on stone steps. At the base of the ravine, the aqua Long Path crosses a wooden bridge and then intersects the blue-and-white-blazed Forest View Trail; here you will turn left (east) on the Forest View Trail, taking it down to the river, where it will end at the white-blazed Shore Trail (this descent is very steep). Take the white Shore Trail north about 0.25 mi. to the beginning of the Giant Stairs, a formation created by rockslides over thousands of years. You’ll scramble over the rocks for about 1 mi., following the white blazes all the way. The Shore Trail finally levels off along the river, and leads to Peanut Leap Cascade. After a steep ascent on the white Shore Trail, turn left (south) on the aqua-blazed Long Path, cross the stream, and follow the Long Path back to start.
To begin north: Head north along Old Route 9W, noting the aqua blazes of the Long Path along the way — you’ll be following these markers for the first part of this hike. About 100 yds. along, the Long Path leaves the old cement road and goes into the woods, more or less following the cliff edge (and for a while overlapping Ski Trail E). About 1 mi. along, you come to the State Line Monument and a chain link fence; here the trail jogs right (east) to go around the fence, and begins to descend a series of stone steps, with excellent vistas north toward the Tappan Zee. At the base of the steps, the trail jogs to the left, to bear northwest for a time and so headed away from the river. In less than 0.5 mi., you’ll cross a stream on wooden bridges. Across this stream, turn right (east), at the start of the white-blazed Shore Trail that follows the stream toward the river. Just before the river, this trail gets quite steep and is prone to erosion — use caution. You will arrive at river level at the base of Peanut Leap Cascade. Continue on the white-blazed Shore Trail as it heads south along the Hudson, then follow it over the Giant Stairs, finally to the trailhead of the blue-and-white-blazed Forest View Trail. This will lead you steeply back up to the aqua-blazed Long Path. Here, turn right (north), cross the bridge, still going up, and follow the Long Path back to the starting point.