Breakneck Ridge Sees Another 25 Percent Jump in Number of Visitors
Breakneck Ridge has been dubbed the “most popular trail in North America”—and our Trail Stewards can attest to that. Over the past three years, the Trail Conference’s Breakneck Ridge Trail Stewards have recorded a 25 percent increase in hikers annually. In 2013, the most hikers they saw on any given day was around 500. Last year, the most popular days saw about 700 hikers. This year, Breakneck Ridge hosted over 1,000 hikers on the busiest days.
Stationed at Breakneck Ridge on weekends through Labor Day, the 2015 Trail Stewards—from left: Rich Zayas, Kali Bird, Brian Tragno, Ben Egan, and Eli Fry—interacted with nearly every hiker that approached the trailhead, providing visitors with maps and information on safe hiking. According to State Park officials and the local EMS, there was not an increase in emergency responses needed.
“Being able to give a business card with our info on it was extremely reassuring for most hikers,” said Trail Steward Brian Tragno. “They were happy to know that there was someone they could call if they were in trouble or lost, and the fact that they had already talked to us made it more likely that they would reach out for help before getting super lost.”
The Trail Stewards also provided suggested trail routes—especially for visitors unprepared for the strenuous scramble up Breakneck Ridge—and were trained to teach Leave No Trace Principles to make hikers aware of their impact on the mountain.