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Shore Trail Lollipop-Loop Hike from Alpine Boat Basin
This “lollipop”-loop hike runs along the Hudson River north of the Alpine Boat Basin, with many scenic views across the river.
Easy to Moderate
Allowed on leash
Views, Waterfall, Fees, Historic feature, Cliffs
Buy Trail Map:
Trail Conference volunteers maintain trails in this park.
Take the Palisades Interstate Parkway to Exit 2 (Alpine) and continue ahead on the Alpine Approach Road, following signs to the Alpine Boat Basin. (You may wish to stop at the Administration Building to pick up a free map.) When you reach a traffic circle near the bottom of the hill, go three-quarters of the way around the circle, then bear right and continue downhill to the boat basin. A $5 parking fee is charged on weekends from Memorial Day to Labor Day.
From the north end of the parking area, head north, passing the boat basin to the right and the Kearney House to the left. The house, which dates back to the 1700s, is open most weekend and holiday afternoons from May to October. It contains historical artifacts and exhibits on the history of the park, and is well worth a visit.
Past the Kearney House, cross a wooden bridge and bear left, following the white blazes of the Shore Trail. You'll pass a stone monument with a plaque commemorating the landing of the British troops here in 1776 and proceed uphill on the Old Closter Dock Road, paved with cobblestones. This road, which dates back to 1761, was used for many years to access the Closter Landing, where boats took freight and passengers across the river to New York. (Interestingly, the information on the plaque is incorrect in two respects: the British troops crossed the river on November 20, 1776 - not November 18th, and they actually landed at Huyler's Landing, a mile and a half to the south! These errors are pointed out in an adjacent sign).
At the top of the climb, continue ahead on the white-blazed trail, as the orange-blazed Closter Dock Trail (the continuation of the Old Closter Dock Road) leaves to the left. The trail now levels off and continues along a pleasant, shaded woods road. Although the trail closely parallels the river, there is dense vegetation between the trail and the river, and only occasionally do glimpses of the river appear. Soon, you'll notice stone steps climbing the hillside to the left. These steps lead to a bunker once used by the park to store dynamite. Just beyond, you'll cross a stone bridge, with a waterfall to the left.
A short distance beyond, you'll pass an open area to the right. Here, several paths and stone steps lead downhill to the remnants of Cape Flyaway, a small fisherman's hamlet in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.
After about three-quarters of a mile, you'll reach a fork. A sign painted on a rock indicates that the Shore Trail takes the right fork, but you should bear left and follow the Upper Trail, which continues along the woods road, running about 100 feet above the river. Soon, you'll notice a wide path leading down to the river to your right, with picnic tables above to the left. This is the Excelsior Flats picnic area; you may wish to stop here for lunch.
Continue ahead on the Upper Trail. About a mile from the first junction with the Shore Trail, the Upper Trail descends to the river level, where it ends. Turn sharply right and head south on the Shore Trail, which soon begins to run directly along the river, with panoramic views up and down the river. Yonkers is visible across the river, and the George Washington Bridge may be seen in the distance to the south. The only sounds you'll hear are the waves, the boats on the river, and the trains passing on the opposite shore.
Unlike the rather smooth-surfaced woods road that you have been following up to this point, much of this section of the Shore Trail follows a narrower, rocky path. In some sections, you'll have to step from one rock to another. Use caution here! You should also watch out for the three-leafed poison ivy, which grows in proliferation along the shore.
After about three-quarters of a mile along the Shore Trail, you'll notice steps going uphill to the right and leading down to an abandoned dock on the left. This is the Excelsior Dock. If the tide is low, you might want to walk out to the rocks at the end of the dock, from which you can see Bombay Hook - a prominent landmark along the Palisades to the north.
The Shore Trail now widens to a woods road and begins to climb. Soon, you'll reach the junction with the Upper Trail. Continue straight ahead, heading south, and retrace your steps along the Shore Trail back to the Alpine Boat Basin, where the hike began.