Trail Notes: Hiking the Palisades from NYC

A view from the Palisades trail, overlooking the George Washington Bridge

A view from the Palisades trail, overlooking the George Washington Bridge

Want a challenging hike with gorgeous Hudson River views, but with an easy commute from NYC? Too easy. Just take the A train to 175th St (in Washington Heights, Manhattan), and it’s just a few short blocks over to the walking ramp on the George Washington Bridge (beginning at 178th and Cabrini). Once you walk to the NJ side (walking the GW Bridge is about a mile), make a right, walk maybe 200 feet and then it’s a short walk up stairs and a short ramp to the Palisades Interstate Park trailhead.  From there, you have the choice to walk three or thirty miles (or connect with other trails to walk all the way to the Adirondacks, if you’re so inclined), linger along the riverside playgrounds and other recreational areas, or otherwise enjoy this fantastic park space however you’d like.

Thanks to the New York City Hiking Group on Meetup.com, I got to experience this firsthand and enjoy a late-summer evening hike along the thickly wooded, rocky banks and cliffs overlooking the Hudson with about 20 other great people. We hiked a 4-mile loop that took us up and down rocky steps and pathways with gorgeous views of the river, past a small waterfall, and on wooded trails that sometimes ran right alongside the Palisades Parkway. Park rangers don’t want people out too late after dusk, but we spent nearly an hour hiking in darkness, lit by headlamps and city lights reflecting from the river. Perfect, relaxing, peaceful–and all within short range of the City.

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