scrambling Breakneck Ridge, NY

Disappointed with the other day hikes I’d checked close to NY City, I made a special trip to the best of the best.

Breakneck Ridge is a mountain along the Hudson River … Its distinctive rocky cliffs are visible for a long distance …

Breakneck from Hudson

… Lying within Hudson Highlands State Park, it offers many stunning views of the river and region and is quite popular with hikers, to the point that a rail flag stop has been established on the Metro North line which runs right by the base of the ridge along NY 9D.

While several routes exist, most hikers take the white-blazed route up the mountain’s west face that begins on the West (Southbound) side of Route 9D near the tunnel.

trailhead

After circling around to cross above the tunnels, it begins a steep, rocky and challenging climb up to the first bump of the mountain, about 720 feet (219 m) above the river, where there are sweeping views of the river and Highlands. …

Here’s that first “bump”, this flagpole.

Breakneck flag

As a former gymnast, I loved it. Using my hands as much as possible.

Scramble

The only time my heart rate jumped above 180 beats / minute was when I nearly stepped on this BIG BLACK (possibly deadly, I assumed) Western rat snake.

snake

(Or is it a northern black racer?)

I left a Summit Stone atop the highest point I could find.

Trip report by Big City girl Amy Cao:

With its close proximity to New York City (only an eighty-minute train ride from Grand Central), stunning vistas of the Hudson, Storm King Mountain, Mount Taurus and West Point Academy, it’s no wonder why Breakneck Ridge is an immensely popular hiking destination for those seeking to escape the frenetic city pace, if just for a day.

Repeatedly voted as one of the best trails in the country, Breakneck Ridge offers 5.5 miles of challenging rock climbs and rugged hikes for even the most seasoned Eagle Scout. You’ll need all four limbs to scramble up the first mile when suddenly the vertical ascent will have you scrunching your brow at how you managed to get stuck—and without safety equipment—between a rock and a hard place, with no way to go but up. The adrenaline is pumping at this point. …

I scrambled up and down. But you could opt for the Breakneck Ridge Loop.

MAP (PDF)

more photos of my day hike

yet more photos – Breakneck Ridge & Sugarloaf Mountain Hike

I rented a car. Tented at Beaver Pond Campground – Harriman State Park. Quiet mid-week, party central on summer weekends.

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