Adventure outside of the five boroughs of New York City and into the mountains!
Did you know the Metro-North has specific stops on the Hudson River specifically for weekend hikes? Every Saturday and Sunday the Metro-North has a stop at Breakneck Ridge and the Appalachian Trail.
Toward the end of the summer I took a train from NYC to Breakneck Ridge, a 1,260 foot high boulder mountain with rock scrambles and Hudson River Views. Here’s what you do.
Take the 80-minute train ride from Grand Central Station for $28 round-trip to Breakneck Ridge. Make sure you get a round-trip ticket, because the stop is only a small platform with no ticket booth or ticket vending machine (same for the Appalachian Trail stop)
Once you exit the train take a right and walk about 10 minutes up the road towards a tunnel. The trail-head is on your right. There’s an information booth with maps and someone to give you trail directions. We picked a trail that took about four hours and offered three viewpoints. Along the way we rock climbed, saw great views of the Hudson River and had lunch at the final viewpoint.
On the weekends the trail can be crowded. You might even find yourself waiting in line to climb a rock scramble, but if you are patient the pack trickles off after a quarter mile.
The Breakneck Ridge starts tough and is rated as challenging online. I would advise beginners against doing this hike. For the rock scrambling sections the trail is marked with arrows and X’s. The X’s are easier alternate routes, but still involve weaving and climbing around boulders. The trail is a steep incline for the first mile. It then levels out and continues down hill for about a half mile where it levels again for the rest of the way. You’ll hike through the ruins of an old power plant, an abandoned mansion and a greenhouse.
When you exit the trail, which is also another entrance on the blue line, you’ll be 1/4 mile from the town of Cold Spring. The walk takes about 15 minutes and once in town there are shops, food, beer and the train station back to Grand Central. Nothing like a post hike beer. It is recommended to catch the train back in Cold Spring because trains run every hour on the weekends and there is a platform and a station. If you start your day from NYC at 9 a.m., you’ll be back in the city by 4 p.m.
Fast forward three months where I went on my first winter hike in New jersey! Unfortunately there isn’t a transit stop to the entrance of this hike. You’ll need a car to get to High Point – New Jersey’s highest peak. High Point State Park is a 50 minute drive from the Tuxedo, NY train station or 68 miles from Manhattan.
It’s noticeable statue directs you to New Jersey’s highest peak of 1,800 feet. The day I went was also the first day it decided to heavily snow in New York & New Jersey with temperatures in the 20s. We chose the monument trail which wraps around the park’s lake and up towards the New York and New Jersey border.
The peak it’s self is accessible by car, but we opted to hike on the trail next to the road. The trip to the top is rather anti-climatic and took us roughly 30 minutes to walk to. However, after we reached the top we kept going only to see sweeping views of snow covered trees and mountain tops. Once we reached a better vantage point I put my new gadget to use, the Jet Boil Flash and made coffee. Highly recommend this all in one water boiler for day trips, over nights and thru-hikes.
Grab a friend and get outside! Kit’s tip: when hiking in cold weather make sure to wear non-cotton clothing. Once cotton gets wet, it takes longer to dry making your hike less enjoyable, especially if your feet or legs get wet early on in the hike.
Until my next adventure ~
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