Loop Hike South of State Line Lookout
Directions to trailhead
Take the Palisades Interstate Park north from the George Washington Bridge. Continue for 1.7 miles beyond Exit 2, and turn right at a sign for the State Line Lookout. Follow the access road for about half a mile until it ends at a large parking lot near the lookout. (If you are coming from the north on the Parkway, bear left just beyond Exit 3 and follow the signs for the lookout.)
To access this hike by bus, take the Rockland Coaches (Coach USA) Bus 9, 9A or 9W from the George Washington Bridge Bus Station in Manhattan to the entrance to the Boy Scout Camp on Route 9W in Alpine (the camp entrance is about 2.5 miles north of Closter Dock Road). Walk south along the west side of Route 9W, cross the footbridge over Route 9W, then continue heading south on a footpath between Route 9W and the Palisades Interstate Parkway, following the blue/white blazes of the Forest View Trail. Cross the bridge over the Parkway and continue to follow the blue/white blazes. You now join the route of this hike described below, beginning with the third sentence of the third paragraph of the description.
The hike begins at the northwest corner of the State Line Lookout parking area, at a sign for the Long Path. Follow the wide path into the woods. You'll soon reach a junction where the Long Path turns left and Trail A comes in from the left and proceeds ahead. Continue ahead on the wide path. Just beyond, you'll come to another junction. Here, Trail C begins on the right, but you should continue ahead on Trail A. About five minutes into the hike, you'll reach a third junction, marked by an old rock monument on the left. Trail A turns left here, but you should continue ahead on Trail B, which begins to climb.
After approaching the Parkway, Trail B curves to the left. Soon, with the access road to State Line Lookout visible ahead, a branch of Trail B goes off to the left, but you should continue ahead to the paved access road. Cross the road and turn right along its shoulder for 400 feet. Just beyond a "Do Not Enter" sign, at a sign "9W Overpass 0.1 mi.," there is a break in the stone guardrail. Turn left here and descend on an unmarked trail, which climbs a little and bears left, crosses a wooden footbridge, and begins to parallel the Parkway.
After turning left, away from the Parkway, the unmarked trail ends at a woods road just east of the Parkway. Turn left onto this road, and just ahead you'll reach a junction with the blue/white-blazed Forest View Trail. To the right, this trail crosses a footbridge over the Parkway, but you should proceed ahead (east) on the trail, which follows a wide woods road. At the next junction, turn sharply right onto another road - the route of the aqua-blazed Long Path - and continue to follow the Long Path when, in about 500 feet, it turns left onto another woods road.
In another 0.3 mile, the Long Path curves to the left and begins to approach the cliff edge. When it curves to the right near the cliff edge, continue ahead on a footpath that leads towards a concrete-block wall. Just to the right of the wall is a spectacular viewpoint, known as Ruckman Point. This overlook - situated 520 feet above the Hudson River below - offers panoramic views up and down the river. The abandoned pilings in the river to the north are the remains of the former Forest View marina.
When you're ready to continue, go back to the Long Path and head west, retracing your steps for about 200 feet, then turn right onto a wide, unmarked footpath (before reaching a concrete culvert). Follow this trail for about 0.2 mile along a section of cliff that has split from the main face of the Palisades, with a steep ravine on the left. At the end of the trail, there is another panoramic viewpoint from which you can see north as far as the Tappan Zee Bridge.
Now retrace your steps, returning to the Long Path, and turn right, crossing a concrete culvert over a stream. About 100 feet beyond the culvert, you'll notice a gravel path that goes off to the right. Turn right and follow this unmarked trail which heads north, parallel to but on the other side of the ravine. Soon after reaching the end of the isolated cliff section on the right, you'll approach another ravine. Here, a side trail leads right to another panoramic viewpoint.
Continue ahead on the unmarked trail, with an interesting shallow ravine on the left. Soon, another side trail on the right leads to a viewpoint with a bench. In the spring, daffodils and periwinkle bloom in this area. Beyond the viewpoint, the trail passes through the former estate of John and Cora Burnett, which was taken by eminent domain in the 1950s to enable the construction of the Palisades Interstate Parkway. You'll notice on the left a number of exotic plants and the remnants of their swimming pool.
After widening into a woods road, the unmarked trail ends at an intersection with the blue/white-blazed Forest View Trail and the aqua-blazed Long Path. Turn right and follow these trails, which lead to the Women's Federation Monument - a small stone "castle" that commemorates the efforts of the New Jersey Federation of Women's Clubs to preserve the Palisades in the early 20th century.
Continue to follow the aqua-blue/white blazes, which descend steadily on rock steps to a T-intersection. Here, the Forest View Trail turns right, but you should turn left, following the aqua Long Path blazes, which cross a footbridge over a stream and climb rather steeply on rock steps. At the top of the climb, follow the Long Path as it crosses the access road to State Line Lookout and re-enters the woods. A short distance ahead, the Long Path turns right onto Trail A. Continue along the Long Path/Trail A, which passes a vernal pond and returns to the parking area where the hike began.
To view a photo collection for this hike, click here.