From the parking area at the south end of the Boat Basin, proceed past a stone refreshment stand and continue south on the white-blazed Shore Trail, a wide path that runs along the shore of the Hudson River. The George Washington Bridge is visible directly ahead, with the New York City skyline beyond. As you proceed along the trail, you’ll notice several sets of stone steps that lead into the...
From the parking area at the south end of the Boat Basin, proceed past a stone refreshment stand and continue south on the white-blazed Shore Trail, a wide path that runs along the shore of the Hudson River. The George Washington Bridge is visible directly ahead, with the New York City skyline beyond. As you proceed along the trail, you’ll notice several sets of stone steps that lead into the river. These were once used to access swimming beaches along the river.
In about a mile, you’ll reach Ross Dock -- a large picnic and recreation area. The trail continues ahead, proceeding across a grassy area at the base of the cliffs. At the south end of the Ross Dock area, the Shore Trail goes through a pedestrian tunnel under the entrance road. The trail then bears right and continues south along a paved road (which leads to a boat launching ramp just south of the George Washington Bridge).
In 600 feet, you’ll see a flight of stone steps on the right. A sign identifies these steps as the route of the Carpenters Trail, marked with blue blazes. Turn right and climb the steps. You’ll soon reach the imposing stone wall (partially covered with vines) which supports the approach road leading into Ross Dock. Here, the trail turns left and ascends a wide stone staircase which leads to two stone-arch tunnels – first, under the approach road, then under the Henry Hudson Drive. The trail now turns right and proceeds north, parallel to the Henry Hudson Drive, soon reaching a switchback turn. The trail continues to ascend less steeply on switchbacks, following broad rock-lined steps, with views over the Hudson River. After another short but steep ascent on rock steps, the Carpenters Trail reaches the top of the cliffs, where it intersects with the aqua-blazed Long Path.
Turn left, then immediately bear left at a fork to reach a panoramic viewpoint over the river, with two benches. Ross Dock is visible below on the left, and the George Washington Bridge is on the right. Note the red lighthouse across the river, adjacent to the New York tower of the George Washington Bridge. You may want to take a break here to enjoy the great views.
When you’re ready to continue, head north on the Long Path (also the route of the Carpenters Trail), following the signs for Allison Park and the Dyckman Hill Trail, and proceed slightly uphill. In 250 feet, the blue-blazed Carpenters Trail leaves to the left, but you should continue ahead on the Long Path. The Long Path runs parallel to and just below the level of the Parkway, with views through the trees over the river to your right.
After passing a stone parapet on the right, the Long Path passes several stone walls. In another half mile, the trail passes to the right of a gas station along the Parkway, where water, restrooms and snacks are available.
Just north of the gas station, the Long Path crosses a wooden bridge over a stream. The trail soon reaches the iron fence surrounding Allison Park, where it turns left, then turns right and follows the paved access road leading to the park. Although the Long Path skirts the park, the park is open to the public (pets not permitted), and you might want to take a side trip into the park, which offers views over the Hudson River.
At the next intersection, the park access road turns left and goes under the Parkway. Just beyond, the Long Path bears left and heads uphill. It continues north along a parapet which overlooks the grounds of St. Peter’s University on the right. This parcel is the only one along the Palisades that remains in private ownership. After passing St. Michael’s Villa, the Long Path follows the guardrail and a grassy area along the Parkway, then bears right and reenters the woods, crossing a wet area on puncheons. It soon turns left and follows an abandoned paved road. A short distance ahead, an unmarked trail on the right leads to a viewpoint over the Hudson River, with the Englewood Boat Basin visible directly below and the Spuyten Duyvil (spanned by two bridges) on the other side of the river. As the trail once again approaches the Parkway, the pavement ends, and the Long Path continues ahead on a footpath below the level of the Parkway.
After crossing a bridge over a wide stream, the Long Path descends stone steps and reaches Palisade Avenue in Englewood Cliffs. Turn right, leaving the Long Path, and follow the sidewalk along the park entrance road. You will see a sign which marks the start of the yellow-blazed Dyckman Hill Trail. Continue along the park entrance road, which curves to the right and begins to descend, passing excellent views of the river, with the Englewood Boat Basin visible directly below.
Just beyond a waterfall on the right, follow the yellow blazes as they turn left and descend stone steps, passing by another waterfall and then going through an underpass beneath the entrance road. The trail then turns right and continues to descend on stone-paved switchbacks and stone steps. Be cautious as you descend, as the stone paving may be uneven, and the route may be slippery when wet or covered by leaves. When you again reach the park entrance road, cross the road, turn right, then turn left at the end of the stone wall and descend concrete steps. Upon reaching the river level, head across the picnic area to the parking area where you left your car.Publication: Submitted by Daniel Chazin on 11/14/2002 updated/verified on 03/26/2020
This hike begins by following the shoreline of the Hudson River and continues along the top of the Palisades cliffs, with outstanding views.
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.