Hiking the Palisades Interstate Park

hiking the palisades park nj

Palisades Interstate Park

On Monday, my husband and I went hiking at Palisades Interstate Park, in NJ.  At Palisades Interstate Park, we hiked about 4 miles up to New York, looped up the cliffs and hiked back.  At Palisades Interstate Park there are plenty of hiking trails, long paths, boat basins, historic sites. At the Palisades Interstate Park, you can even see Bear Mountain in the distance. If you are looking for a surprisingly beautiful and challenging hike that faces the Hudson and NYC skyline, Palisades Interstate Park is your hike.  There are a lot of different options, and you can even just park and look over the cliffs if you prefer.

We had wanted to do Palisades Interstate Park for a while, but the timing never worked out.  I wanted a clear day (to see New York City) and snowy days weren’t an option because there is a 1-mile scramble across rocks.

What is scrambling? Scrambling is a walk up steep terrain involving the use of one’s hands.  Basically, it means hopping from rock to rock.  Doing that on icy or snowy rocks is extremely dangerous.  You don’t have to do the scramble portion at Palisades Interstate Park, and I wouldn’t recommend bringing any small kids or pets.

At Palisades Interstate Park , we started on the “long trail,” which went down next to the shore of the Hudson.  While hiking the shore trail, you could easily put your feet in the water if you wanted too, but I absolutely did not want to put my feet into the Hudson River. I think to see the floating dumpster justified that.  For about 3 miles of the Palisades Interstate Park, we hiked along the water just admiring the view of NYC.

hiking the palisades park nj
Easy terrain

I knew we would eventually have to get up to the top at Palisades Interstate Park, but I did not know or think about hard that might be.  I thought maybe we would take a natural staircase (which there were a few that we passed).  All of a sudden at Palisades Interstate Park, we saw this:

hiking the palisades park nj

It took us about 90 minutes at Palisades Interstate Park to hike up a single mile.  I didn’t take any photos because I needed both hands just to get up there.  It was quite the challenge and honestly one of the toughest hikes we’ve ever done.  I wasn’t expecting that at Palisades Interstate Park.

Around the halfway point at Palisades Interstate Park,  we also made it into New York!  As you can see by this fancy and prohibiting fence.  I wish there was a sign that said Welcome to New York or New Jersey, but I guess both states decided to fund other things other than Palisades Interstate Park.

hiking the palisades park nj

Finally, after about 90 minutes, we made it up to the top at Palisades Interstate Park. I haven’t felt that accomplished in a long time.


hiking the palisades park nj
It’s a long way down

From there we hiked back the way we came back on the “upper level.”  There was a small waterfall at Palisades Interstate Park where many people were taking photos, so of course, we did too.  You can access the waterfall at Palisades Interstate Park with about a mile of hiking, and don’t need to do the scramble (for my own personal reference LOL).  It’s a nice view and worth the stop.

hiking the palisades park nj

I was tired after that, but we still had a few miles to go at Palisades Interstate Park. We also discovered a small castle at the top, which was fun!hiking the palisades park nj

You can go into the castle and look out over the Hudson River too.

hiking the palisades park nj me new york

hiking the palisades park nj me new york

We finally made it back to our car after about 5 hours and a much more difficult hike than anticipated.  I loved the hike at Palisades Interstate Park. I wasn’t ready for the scramble or the climbing.  I’m glad I wore the Brooks Cascadia because I doubt I would have made it in regular running shoes and not in anything else.

You can see more hikes I’ve done here.

Questions for you:

What is the hardest hike you’ve done? Have you been Palisades Interstate Park?

Have you ever walked across a state line?


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  1. Wow, that’s pretty intense! We’ve done a lot of hikes up in Vermont, as well as a few in Maine, and those have been pretty tough! We drive past the Palisades when we are going to/from NJ for visiting my family, but the most we’ve ever done is gotten out at one of the “scenic lookout” spots for a quick walk, read a few plaques, and look at the river. I’m impressed by you guys!

      1. We’ve hiked Mt. Abraham a few times, as well as at Mad River Glen (the place we usually ski at during the winter).

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