Hiking the Palisades

Hiking the Palisades

On Monday, my husband and I went hiking in Palisades Park, in NJ.  We hiked about 4 miles up to New York, looped up the cliffs and hiked back.  If you are looking for a surprisingly beautiful and challenging hike that faces the Hudson and NYC skyline, this 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 this hike 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, and I wouldn’t recommend bringing any small kids or pets.

We started on the “long trail” which went down next to the shore of the Hudson.  You could easily put your feet in the water if you wanted too, but I absolutely did not want too.  I think seeing the floating dumpster justified that.  For about 3 miles we hiked along the water just admiring the view.

hiking the palisades park nj

Easy terrain

I knew we would eventually have to get up to the top, 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, we saw this:

hiking the palisades park nj

It took us about 90 minutes 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!

Around the halfway point 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.

hiking the palisades park nj

Finally, after about 90 minutes, we made it up to the top.  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 but on the “upper level”.  There was a small waterfall where many people were taking photos, so of course, we did too.  You can access the waterfall 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.  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 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. However, 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 definitely 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 ever walked across a state line?


4 responses

  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!

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