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.
In general, the hikes on this page can be completed in two hours or less by hikers with little or no hiking experience, including school-age children who are among the group. Hike leaders should take a moment or two to read our hiking tips (on our main hiking page) before setting out on these hikes.
- Shore Trail at Bloomer’s
- Ross Dock to Englewood Boat Basin
- Cape Fly Away Loop
- Women’s Federation Monument
Shore Trail at Bloomer’s
Length: <1 mi. (round-trip distance)
Time: <1 hr.
Start: Englewood Picnic Area
Beginning at the north end of Englewood Picnic Area (by Bloomer’s Beach), find the unmarked trail that goes up behind the old bathhouse. Follow this trail going north until you meet the Shore Trail (white), which splits into a lower trail and an upper trail (to be used during high tide). The lower and upper trails meet just south of Undercliff Picnic Area (it’s worth the extra few minutes to keep going north to take a look at the bathhouse ruins at Undercliff Beach). This hike is suitable for small children or picnickers who want to take a short hike.
- Learn about when Undercliff Beach bustled in “Summer Job” and why the beaches on the Palisades closed in “The ‘Mystery’ of the Beaches.”
Ross Dock to Englewood Boat Basin
Length: 3 mi. (round-trip distance)
Time: 1 hr.
The Shore Trail from Ross Dock to Englewood Picnic Area (alternatively begun at the Englewood Area and proceeding south to Ross Dock) is level and open enough that it is popular among joggers, as well as those out for a simple riverside stroll. Begin at the white-blazed Shore Trail at the northern end of Ross Dock Picnic Area. Continue north until you reach Englewood Picnic Area. The Shore Trail is flat and wide in this area, with even, dry terrain. The trail closely follows the river, allowing for many scenic views. Return on the same route.
Cape Fly Away Loop
Click to download a printable version of this hiking description, keyed to a map and including “Tips for Hikers.”
Length: 3 mi. (round-trip distance)
Time: 1.5 hrs.
Start: Alpine Picnic Area
This relatively short hike makes a great introduction to Palisades hiking for hikers of all ages. Begin at the Kearney House at the north end of the Alpine Picnic Area. Head north up the white-blazed Shore Trail behind Alpine Pavilion. This is the steepest section of your trip, but it soon levels off at the intersection with the orange-blazed Closter Dock Trail.
Keep north on the wide Shore Trail, which was originally laid out as a road in the 1840s, called the Cape Road. You will cross a stone-railed bridge by a pretty waterfall, and you may notice a set of stone steps going uphill nearby: these led to a storage bunker for dynamite during the 1930s. You will get to a relatively cleared area with lilies and other non-native growth. This was known as Cape Fly Away, a small fisherman’s hamlet in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. A pair of stone stairways to old docks on the river frames the Cape Fly Away area, and these are interesting to explore (but be aware of poison ivy growth along the stairways, especially in summer).
In about 0.75 mi., the trail splits. The Shore Trail goes downhill to the river; to the left is an unmarked but very wide and obvious trail, the “Upper Trail,” which continues on the same level you are on. Take the Upper Trail, realizing it will rejoin the Shore Trail in another 0.75 mi. This is a pretty and easy section of trail, winding its way through a mature hardwood forest growing on the talus slope beneath the cliffs. You will pass by the Excelsior picnic area along the way. (If you keep a sharp eye to the right, some distance after the picnic area you will find the foundation remains of a nineteenth-century “bone factory,” where animal bones were ground into bone meal.) The Upper Trail will eventually descend to the river to rejoin the Shore Trail.
The more ambitious may want to follow the Shore Trail north about another 0.5 mi. to the cliff-face vistas that begin just beyond Bombay Hook, which will add close to an hour to this hike’s round-trip time. Otherwise, begin your return south on the Shore Trail. You will in many instances be fewer than a hundred feet from your outbound route, but the change in habitat could not be more dramatic: the mature forest is replaced by a riot of sun-fueled growth along the shoreline (and beware of poison ivy, especially in summer). The trail is also much narrower here and in places quite rocky. (At low tide, there is some good beach-combing south of the old jetty, called Twombly’s Landing, which you will pass not long after beginning your return trek.) Eventually, the trail will begin to climb uphill, to return to the split at the Upper Trail. At the base of this hill is a set of stairs leading out to the old Excelsior Dock; another set of stairs leads uphill to the Excelsior picnic area (you can take this route if you’d like to, and then return by heading south when you get to the Upper Trail).
Return on the Shore Trail to the Alpine Picnic Area.
- Learn about what life around Cape Fly Away was like a century ago in “Fly Away.”
Women’s Federation Monument
Click to download a printable version of this hiking description (condensed for printout), with a map and “Tips for Hikers.”
Length: 2 mi. (round-trip distance)
Time: 1 hr.
Start: State Line Lookout
This short hike is ideal for children, who will find the ravine just challenging enough and the “castle” at the end a fun destination. 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, cross the green wooden bridge. The aqua Long Path then intersects the blue-and-white-blazed Forest View Trail; as you go up the other side of the ravine, the two trails overlap. At the top you will find the Women’s Federation Monument, which is in the shape of a watchtower, or “castle.” (The New Jersey State Federation of Women’s Clubs led the fight to save the Palisades at the end of the 19th century — take a moment to read the plaque on the southern end of the Monument and the interpretive sign to the south of the Monument.) Explore a bit (can you find the old swimming pool a few hundred feet south of the Monument?), then return using the same route.
Those wishing to avoid the ravine on the return: Take the blue-and-white Forest View Trail east from the Women’s Monument. Just before the pedestrian bridge that crosses the Parkway, take the unmarked but obvious trail going north (right turn). This will take you to the entrance drive to State Line Lookout. Follow the entrance drive a short distance north until you see the start of ski trail B across the road. Using caution, cross and take ski trail B right (north) to the Long Path and back to start.
- Learn more about the Women’s Monument and the fight to save the Palisades in “A Stop Along the Long Path” — and what the deal is with that swimming pool in “Stranger Than Weird.”