Shore Trail/Long Path Loop via Carpenters Trail from Fort Lee Historic Park
Directions to trailhead
Follow I-80/95 or Route 4 East to Fort Lee, take Exit 73 (Lemoine Avenue, Fort Lee), and continue ahead on the service road (Bruce Reynolds Boulevard). At the bottom of the hill, cross Hudson Terrace and proceed ahead into the Fort Lee Historic Park. At the top of the ramp, turn left and park in the parking area. Metered parking fees are in effect from April 1st to October 31st.
Note: Leashed dogs are permitted in Palisades Interstate Park, but dogs are not permitted in Fort Lee Historic Park, where this hike begins.
Follow a macadam path that leads into the woods from the southwest corner of the northern parking area, bearing left at the fork. You'll notice some white blazes on trees along the path. These mark the route of the Shore Trail, which you'll follow for the first part of the hike. After descending steps, continue along a concrete sidewalk parallel to the park entrance road. At the entrance to the park, turn left and head south (downhill) on the wide macadam path along the east side of Hudson Terrace. Bicycles are allowed on this “multi-use path,” and hikers should be alert for bicyclists proceeding downhill at high speeds.
At the end of the “multi-use path,” cross Henry Hudson Drive (the paved road leading into the Palisades Interstate Park) and immediately turn left (passing between rocks) onto a dirt footpath that parallels the road (do not continue ahead into the private Edgewater Colony). You are continuing to follow the white-blazed Shore Trail. Soon, the trail descends a series of stone steps and moves away from the road. It continues to descend more steeply on switchbacks (be sure to bear left at a T-intersection).
At the base of the descent, you’ll reach a panoramic viewpoint over the Hudson River. The skyscrapers of lower Manhattan may be seen on the right, and the George Washington Bridge is on the left. Several stone benches installed here by the Edgewater Colony, which owns the land over which the trail passes, invite you to pause and enjoy the view.
Continue along the Shore Trail, heading north along the river on a wide dirt path. As you approach the George Washington Bridge, you’ll come to a large paved area, with a boat ramp on the right. Proceed ahead, crossing under the bridge, and continue north on a paved road. You might see an Amtrak train heading to or from Penn Station on the tracks across the river.
About 0.4 mile north of the bridge (after passing the Carpenter’s Grove picnic area on the right, and before reaching the Ross Dock area), you’ll notice a sign on the left for the Carpenter’s Trail (the trailhead is also marked by a triple-blue blaze on a boulder). Turn left onto this blue-blazed trail and climb the stone steps.
You’ll soon reach the imposing stone wall which supports the approach road leading into Ross Dock. Here, the trail turns left and ascends a wide stone staircase to two stone-arch tunnels – first, under the approach road, then under the Henry Hudson Drive. The trail now turns right and proceeds north, soon reaching a switchback turn. Just beyond, there are good views across the river. The trail continues to ascend on switchbacks, following broad rock-lined steps. After a short but steep ascent on rather uneven rock steps, the Carpenter’s Trail reaches the top of the cliffs, where it joins 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 rest from the steep climb and enjoy the great views. When you're ready to continue, head south along the aqua-blazed Long Path, bearing left at an intersection with a wider gravel road.
Approaching the George Washington Bridge, the Long Path veers to the right, away from the cliffs, and it bears right again at a Y-intersection (the left fork leads in a short distance to a panoramic viewpoint over the Bridge). Soon, the Long Path descends a flight of steps to a ramp. Turn left onto the ramp, go around a sharp curve, then immediately bear left and descend another flight of steps, which leads to Hudson Terrace in Fort Lee. Turn left and follow the sidewalk under the George Washington Bridge to the entrance to the Fort Lee Historic Park, then turn left and proceed uphill to the parking area where the hike began.
To view a photo collection for this hike, click here.