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This hike climbs to the summit of High Tor, with panoramic views.
Out and back
Allowed on leash
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Trail Conference volunteers maintain trails in this park.
Take the Palisades Interstate Parkway to Exit 10 (North Middletown Road). At the end of the ramp, turn right onto Germonds Road. In 0.7 mile, turn left onto N.Y. Route 304. In 3.8 miles, turn left onto Ridge Road (County Route 23) and follow it for 0.9 mile to its end at Old Route 304 (County Route 90). Park in the grassy area at the southwest corner of the intersection. If the area is covered with snow, you can park along Parliament Drive (the first side street off Ridge Road, heading south from Old Route 304).
One of Rockland County's best known landmarks, High Tor offers outstanding views of the Hudson River and the town of Haverstraw below. During the Revolutionary War, beacons were placed on the summit to alert the Colonists of approaching British troops.
High Tor is composed of diabase (commonly referred to as “trap rock”), which was much in demand for use in construction during the early twentieth century. Operators of nearby quarries sought to purchase the mountain from its owner, Elmer Van Orden, but he consistently refused to sell. Soon after Van Orden’s death, the mountain was acquired in 1943 by the Palisades Interstate Park Commission. The last part of the climb to the summit is rather steep, but hikers are rewarded with panoramic views.
If you choose to do this hike during the winter, snowshoes and/or traction devices may be needed, depending on the conditions. Be sure you have the proper equipment before starting the hike.
From the intersection of Ridge Road, proceed west on Old Route 304. At the fourth telephone pole from the intersection, a double blaze indicates that the Long Path (which has been proceeding along the road) turns right and enters the woods. You will be following the aqua-blazed Long Path for the entire hike.
After leaving the road just beyond the power line, the Long Path climbs moderately. Soon, it bears left, crosses a stream on a wooden bridge, and continues to climb. In half a mile, after gaining about 250 feet in elevation, the trail bears left and levels off. It descends a little to reach a junction with the white-blazed Spur Trail, which begins on the left (the junction is marked by a sign). Proceed ahead on the Long Path, which soon resumes a gradual climb.
In another third of a mile, the Long Path reaches the crest of the ridge. You can see the Hudson River ahead through the trees. An unmarked woods road proceeds ahead, but you should turn sharply left, continuing to follow the aqua blazes of the Long Path.
After a short level stretch, the trail begins a steep climb of High Tor. The grade moderates as the trail skirts a rocky knob and descends a little, but the steep climb soon resumes. Finally, you’ll emerge on the 832-foot-high summit of High Tor, having climbed over 600 vertical feet from the start of the hike.
The views from High Tor are spectacular. Directly below to the northeast is the town of Haverstraw, with the Hudson River just beyond. To the south, you can see the large Lake DeForest. To the north and west are the rolling hills of Harriman State Park. An aircraft beacon was once located on the summit, and the anchors of the beacon are still visible.
After taking in the panoramic views from the summit, return to your car by retracing your steps along the Long Path.