Walk back to 450 Piermont Avenue (the building with a large mural painted on it) and turn right onto Tate Avenue, a narrow street which heads uphill, soon curving to the right. You will notice the aqua blazes of the Long Path, which you will follow for the next six miles. When you reach a flight of stairs on the left, climb the stairs, and continue uphill along a footpath that leads to Ash...
Walk back to 450 Piermont Avenue (the building with a large mural painted on it) and turn right onto Tate Avenue, a narrow street which heads uphill, soon curving to the right. You will notice the aqua blazes of the Long Path, which you will follow for the next six miles. When you reach a flight of stairs on the left, climb the stairs, and continue uphill along a footpath that leads to Ash Street at the site of the former Piermont railroad station. Turn left here and follow Ash Street uphill as it curves to the right. At the next intersection, turn left onto Piermont Place, then turn right onto Crescent Road, which soon curves to the left. When the driveable road ends, continue ahead, then turn right at a double blaze just beyond a house with a wooden fence, and reach U.S. Route 9W.
Follow the Long Path as it turns right, briefly following Route 9W. Almost immediately, it turns left onto Castle Road, which soon curves to the right. Just past a gate, where the paving ends, the Long Path turns right and continues through the woods. It soon rejoins the road, which leads into Rockland Cemetery. At the next intersection, turn sharply right and follow the paved cemetery road as it climbs to the crest of the Palisades, making a sharp switchback to the left on the way. After about half a mile, the road reaches the upper section of the cemetery. Bear right at the fork in the road, then bear left at the next intersection. You will pass the monuments marking the graves of Henry Honeychurch Gorringe, who brought Cleopatra's Needle from Egypt, and of General John Charles Fremont, the first Republican candidate for President of the United States (he lost the election to James Buchanan in 1856).
As the road curves left, you will notice a sign setting forth the cemetery's rules. Here the Long Path turns right, leaving the cemetery, and reenters the woods, soon entering Clausland Mountain County Park. In another 0.7 mile, the Long Path turns sharply left, as an orange-blazed woods road continues straight ahead uphill. This orange trail leads in 0.3 mile to a parking area on Nike Lane and rejoins the Long Path in 0.6 mile. Follow the Long Path as it descends to cross a stream and then climbs to its second junction with the orange-blazed trail. Here, the Long Path turns left and begins a steady descent. At the base of the descent, it crosses a stream on a wooden bridge and ascends rather steeply to reach Clausland Mountain Road, 3.3 miles from the start of the hike.
The Long Path crosses the road and goes through a parking area for Tackamac Town Park, where it descends on a series of woods roads. Pay careful attention to the blazes here. It reaches a water impoundment by an old dam and turns right, following a stream, then turns left and crosses the stream on a wooden bridge. After crossing paved Marsico Court in a residential area, the trail enters Blauvelt State Park, passing through several stands of evergreens.
In another half a mile, the Long Path climbs over an embankment, descends a short set of wooden steps, and turns right on a woods road. This embankment is the site of the rifle range of Camp Bluefield, a pre-World War I National Guard training camp. It was abandoned after only three years because bullets often landed in the Village of Grand View, on the eastern side of the ridge! At the end of the embankment, you will note the entrance to a long concrete tunnel that served as a safe passage between the target wall and the firing line. The tunnel can be entered, but extreme caution must be exercised.
The Long Path turns right at a T-intersection, swings left, then turns left at a four-way intersection (where the blazes may be hard to find). It descends to a T-intersection, where it turns right to cross a stream, then climbs steadily to Tweed Boulevard. It crosses the road and continues uphill to an expansive southwestern-facing viewpoint over the Hackensack River valley. The Tappan Zee is to the left, and in the distance, both New York City (to the left) and Newark may be seen on a clear day. You've now gone 5.3 miles from the start, and this is a good place to take a lunch break.
The trail continues along the ridge, with some ups and downs. To the right, there are seasonal views through the trees of the Tappan Zee Bridge and Nyack. In another half a mile, it begins a steady descent, finally emerging onto Bradley Hill Road. You will now leave the route of the Long Path and follow a series of roads downhill to reach the Village of South Nyack. Turn right onto Bradley Hill Road, then left at the next intersection. Continue downhill, past the athletic fields of Nyack College. At the following intersection, continue straight ahead onto Terrace Drive, then turn sharply left onto Lowland Drive, which switchbacks to the right and ends at Hillside Avenue (Route 9W). Turn left and, in about 200 feet, turn right and cross over the New York Thruway. Bear left at the fork in the road, and make the first right onto Clinton Avenue.
You will immediately come to the Old Erie Railroad Bed. This is the route of the Nyack spur of the Northern Railroad of New Jersey, later the Erie Railroad, which provided passenger service to Jersey City. Built in 1870, the line was abandoned in the late 1960s and has been converted into a rail-trail. Turn right and follow this delightful, nearly level trail for three miles back to Piermont, with intermittent views to the left over the Tappan Zee Bridge and the river. You will notice old telegraph poles along the right-of-way and, near Piermont, you may spot a concrete marker on the left with the inscription "JC 25" -- indicating the distance to Jersey City. When you reach the old Piermont station, cross the street and follow the footpath down to Tate Street, then turn right and continue to Piermont Avenue, the start of the hike.Publication: Submitted by Daniel Chazin on 03/28/2002
This loop hike traverses historic Rockland Cemetery, goes through the remains of a pre-World War I rifle range and returns via a rail-trail with views over the Hudson River.
Whether you are going for a day hike or backpacking overnight, it is good practice to carry what we call The Hiking Essentials. These essentials will help you enjoy your outing more and will provide basic safety gear if needed. There may also be more essentials, depending on the season and your needs.
Hiking Shoes or Boots
Water - Two quarts per person is recommended in every season. Keep in mind that fluid loss is heightened in winter as well as summer. Don't put yourself in the position of having to end your hike early because you have run out of water.
Map - Know where you are and where you are going. Many of our hiking areas feature interconnecting network of trails. Use a waterproof/tear-resistant Tyvek Trail Conference map if available or enclose your map in a Ziplock plastic bag. If you have a mobile device, download Avenza’s free PDF Maps app and grab some GPS-enhanced Trail Conference maps (a backup Tyvek or paper version of the map is good to have just in case your batteries die or you don't have service). Check out some map-reading basics here.
Food - Snacks/lunch will keep you going as you burn energy walking or climbing. Nuts, seeds, and chocolate are favorites on the trail.
Sunscreen and insect repellent
Rain Gear and Extra Clothing - Rain happens. So does cold. Be prepared for changing weather. Avoid cotton--it traps water against your skin and is slow to dry. If you are wearing wet cotton and must return to your starting point, you risk getting chills that may lead to a dangerous hypothermia. Choose synthetic shirts, sweaters and/or vests and dress in layers for easy on and off.
Compass - A simple compass is all you need to orient you and your map to magnetic north.
Light - A flashlight or small, lightweight headlamp will be welcome gear if you find yourself still on the trail when darkness falls. Check the batteries before you start out and have extras in your pack.
First Aid Kit - Keep it simple, compact, and weatherproof. Know how to use the basic components.
Firestarter and Matches - In an emergency, you may need to keep yourself or someone else warm until help arrives. A firestarter (this could be as simple as leftover birthday candles that are kept inside a waterproof container) and matches (again, make sure to keep them in a waterproof container) could save a life.
Knife or Multi-tool - You may need to cut a piece of moleskin to put over a blister, repair a piece of broken equipment, or solve some other unexpected problem.
Emergency Numbers - Know the emergency numbers for the area you're going to and realize that in many locations--especially mountainous ones, your phone will not get reception.
Common Sense - Pay attention to your environment, your energy, and the condition of your companions. Has the weather turned rainy? Is daylight fading? Did you drink all your water? Did your companion fail to bring rain gear? Are you getting tired? Keep in mind that until you turn around you are (typically) only half-way to completing your hike--you must still get back to where you started from! (Exceptions are loop hikes.)
Check the weather forecast before you head out. Know the rules and regulations of the area.
The Leave No Trace Seven Principles
- Know the regulations and special concerns for the area you'll visit.
- Prepare for extreme weather, hazards, and emergencies.
- Schedule your trip to avoid times of high use.
- Visit in small groups when possible. Consider splitting larger groups into smaller groups.
- Repackage food to minimize waste.
- Use a map and compass to eliminate the use of marking paint, rock cairns or flagging.
- Durable surfaces include established trails and campsites, rock, gravel, dry grasses or snow.
- Protect riparian areas by camping at least 200 feet from lakes and streams.
- Good campsites are found, not made. Altering a site is not necessary.
- In popular areas:
- Concentrate use on existing trails and campsites.
- Walk single file in the middle of the trail, even when wet or muddy.
- Keep campsites small. Focus activity in areas where vegetation is absent.
- In pristine areas:
- Disperse use to prevent the creation of campsites and trails.
- Avoid places where impacts are just beginning.
- Pack it in, pack it out. Inspect your campsite and rest areas for trash or spilled foods. Pack out all trash, leftover food and litter.
- Deposit solid human waste in catholes dug 6 to 8 inches deep, at least 200 feet from water, camp and trails. Cover and disguise the cathole when finished.
- Pack out toilet paper and hygiene products.
- To wash yourself or your dishes, carry water 200 feet away from streams or lakes and use small amounts of biodegradable soap. Scatter strained dishwater.
- Preserve the past: examine, but do not touch cultural or historic structures and artifacts.
- Leave rocks, plants and other natural objects as you find them.
- Avoid introducing or transporting non-native species.
- Do not build structures, furniture, or dig trenches.
- Campfires can cause lasting impacts to the backcountry. Use a lightweight stove for cooking and enjoy a candle lantern for light.
- Where fires are permitted, use established fire rings, fire pans, or mound fires.
- Keep fires small. Only use sticks from the ground that can be broken by hand.
- Burn all wood and coals to ash, put out campfires completely, then scatter cool ashes.
- Observe wildlife from a distance. Do not follow or approach them.
- Never feed animals. Feeding wildlife damages their health, alters natural behaviors, and exposes them to predators and other dangers.
- Protect wildlife and your food by storing rations and trash securely.
- Control pets at all times, or leave them at home.
- Avoid wildlife during sensitive times: mating, nesting, raising young, or winter.
- Respect other visitors and protect the quality of their experience.
- Be courteous. Yield to other users on the trail.
- Step to the downhill side of the trail when encountering pack stock.
- Take breaks and camp away from trails and other visitors.
- Let nature's sounds prevail. Avoid loud voices and noises.
The Trail Conference is a 2015 Leave No Trace partner.
(c) Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics: www.LNT.org.