Know the New Hiking How-tos
Hook Mountain State Park
For access from Nyack Beach State Park, take U.S. Route 9W north to Nyack, New York. Two blocks north of its intersection with N.Y. Route 59 (Main Street), turn right onto High Avenue. Continue for one block and turn left onto North Midland Avenue. After about a mile, continue straight ahead as the main road curves to the left. Follow Midland Avenue through the village of Upper Nyack until the road ends at the entrance to the Marydell Faith and Life Center, then turn right onto Larchdale Road. At the next intersection, turn left onto Broadway and follow it into Nyack Beach State Park (a parking fee is charged on weekends). Continue ahead to the parking area.
Free parking is also available at the end of Landing Hill Road, off Rockland Lake Road. Space is limited; tends to fill up on weekends. GPS Coordinates: 41.14358, -73.91232
Public Transportation: Rockland Coaches
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Hook Mountain State Park's southernmost summit rises to 728 feet, the second highest (after High Tor) along the Palisades ridge.
The Long Path runs along the escarpment above, while a bike path follows the river's edge from Haverstraw Beach State Park in "Dutchtown," a quaint section of Haverstraw, to Nyack Beach State Park in Upper Nyack. Three connecting paths to the Long Path-one each at the north, south, and middle points of the magnificent facade of the Hook-allow for circular hikes of varying lengths. The full loop of the Long Path and bike path is 12 miles. To find detailed descriptions of specific hikes, click here and scroll down the "Parks" column to Nyack Beach State Park or to Rockland Lake State Park.
Hook Mountain State Park
Hook Mountain State Park, Nyack Beach State Park and Rockland Lake State Park are contiguous and part of the Palisades Interstate Park system. Just north of the Nyacks, the Palisades ridge, which had moved inland to form a shallow bowl, returns to the river's edge. The familiar columnar formations reappear as Hook Mountain, jutting its massive curved and quarried face into the river and demarcating the Tappan Zee from Haverstraw Bay. The name is derived from the Dutch Verdrietige Hoogte (tedious or troublesome point), named for the contrary winds that sailors encountered while trying to round it.
In the last quarter of the nineteenth century, quarrying, which started on the Jersey Palisades, spread upriver, threatening to deface Hook Mountain on the Tappan Zee and the entire riverfront. There was a bustle of new activity at some landings, such as Snedens, Tappan Slote (Piermont), Rockland Landing, and Waldberg (Snedekers), where ferries plied across the river or steamers docked en route to New York. In 1872, the erection of a stone crusher at Hook Mountain signaled the beginning of large-scale operations. By 1900, this and 31 smaller quarries between Piermont and Nyack were operating. Sentiment was growing to stop this defacement, as had been done on the Jersey Palisades.
George W. Perkins, president of the Palisades Interstate Park Commission, played an instrumental role in influencing the philanthropists of his time as to the importance of preserving the Palisades. He believed the forested Highlands of the Hudson, famous for their scenery and as Revolutionary strongholds, would become a recreational resource for the people of the metropolitan district. The acquisition of Hook Mountain by the Commission was made possible by generous contributions by members of the Harriman, Perkins, and Rockefeller families, who have been adding to park holdings even up to the present time.