From the north end of the parking area, head north, passing the boat basin on the right and the Kearney House on the left. The house, which dates back to the 1700s, is open most weekend and holiday afternoons from May to October. It contains historical artifacts and exhibits on the history of the park, and is well worth a visit.
Past the Kearney House, cross a wooden bridge and bear left, following the white blazes of the Shore Trail. You'll pass a stone monument with a plaque commemorating the landing of the British troops here in 1776 and proceed uphill on the Old Closter Dock Road, paved with cobblestones. This road, which dates back to 1761, was used for many years to access the Closter Landing, where boats took freight and passengers across the river to New York. (Interestingly, the information on the plaque is incorrect in two respects: the British troops crossed the river on November 20, 1776 - not November 18th, and they actually landed at Huyler's Landing, a mile and a half to the south! These errors are pointed out in an adjacent sign).
At the top of the climb, continue ahead on the white-blazed trail, as the orange-blazed Closter Dock Trail (the continuation of the Old Closter Dock Road) leaves to the left. The trail now levels off and continues along a pleasant, shaded woods road. Although the trail closely parallels the river, there is dense vegetation between the trail and the river, and (when there are leaves on the trees) only occasionally do glimpses of the river appear. Soon, you'll notice stone steps climbing the hillside on the left. These steps lead to a bunker once used by the park to store dynamite. Just beyond, you'll cross a stone bridge, with a waterfall to the left.
A short distance beyond, by a large fallen tree, a side trail heads downhill on stone steps to a rocky beach -- the site of Cape Flyaway, a small fisherman's hamlet in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.
After about three-quarters of a mile, you'll reach a fork. A sign painted on a rock indicates that the Shore Trail takes the right fork, but you should bear left and follow the Upper Trail, which continues along the woods road, running about 100 feet above the river. Soon, you'll notice a wide path leading down to the river on your right, with picnic tables above on the left. This is the Excelsior Flats picnic area; you may wish to stop here for lunch.
Continue ahead on the Upper Trail. About a mile from the first junction with the Shore Trail, the Upper Trail descends to the river level, where it ends. Turn sharply right and head south on the Shore Trail, which soon begins to run directly along the river, with panoramic views up and down the river. Yonkers is visible across the river, and the George Washington Bridge may be seen in the distance to the south. The only sounds you'll hear are the waves, the boats on the river, and the trains passing on the opposite shore.
Unlike the rather smooth-surfaced woods road that you have been following up to this point, much of this section of the Shore Trail follows a narrower, rocky path. In some sections, you'll have to step from one rock to another. Use caution here! You should also watch out for the three-leafed poison ivy, which grows in proliferation along the shore.
After about three-quarters of a mile along the Shore Trail, you'll notice steps going uphill to the right and leading down to an abandoned dock on the left. This is the Excelsior Dock. If the tide is low, you might want to walk out to the rocks at the end of the dock, from which you can see Bombay Hook -- a prominent landmark along the Palisades to the north.
The Shore Trail now widens to a woods road and begins to climb. Soon, you'll reach the junction with the Upper Trail. Continue straight ahead, heading south, and retrace your steps along the Shore Trail back to the Alpine Boat Basin, where the hike began.
Publication: Submitted by Daniel Chazinon 06/17/2005updated/verified on 01/17/2019
This “lollipop”-loop hike runs along the Hudson River north of the Alpine Boat Basin, with many scenic views across the river.
From the north end of the parking area, head north, passing the boat basin on the right and the...
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.
Take the Palisades Interstate Parkway to Exit 2 (Alpine) and continue ahead on the Alpine Approach Road, following signs to the Alpine Boat Basin. (You may wish to stop at the Administration Building to pick up a free map.) When you reach a traffic circle near the bottom of the hill, go three-quarters of the way around the circle, then bear right and continue downhill to the boat basin. A $5 parking fee is charged on weekends from Memorial Day to Labor Day.
This is a beautiful trail, and if you are looking for an easy hike on a very hot day, this is the one. I choose this hike on Wednesday because weather was reaching 90 degress. Its a nice trail, plenty of shade, river breezes, no need to wear heavy hiking boots, sneakers are fine. I did not wear long pants and regretted it. 80% of the trail is lined with Poison Ivy. Be very carefull the poison ivy is rampant.
April 18, 2015
Nice easy hike
This was a nice easy hike to start off this summer. An alternate to this route is to walk along the Shore Trail all thru - but the historic features/waterfall and the workout was quite worth it.