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Loop Hike South of State Line Lookout
This loop hike passes several panoramic viewpoints over the Hudson River and goes by the Women's Federation Monument
Easy to Moderate
Allowed on leash
Views, Woods, Cliffs
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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.)
A brochure, which includes a map, is available at www.njpalisades.org.
The hike begins at the rear of the State Line Lookout parking area, at a sign for the "Ski Trails." Follow the wide path, marked with the aqua blazes of the Long 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 to 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 to the left (the faded words "Shore Path" may be visible). 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 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 before reaching a "Do Not Enter" sign, there is a break in the stone guardrail. Turn left here and descend on an unmarked trail, which climbs a little, crosses a wooden footbridge, bears left, and begins to parallel the Parkway.
Soon, the unmarked trail ends at the blue/white-blazed Forest View Trail. To the right, this trail crosses a footbridge over the Parkway, but you should bear left and proceed ahead (east) on the trail, which follows a wide woods road. At the next junction, turn right on 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 an unmarked footpath. 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 to 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 see the roots of a huge uprooted tree to the right. Turn right here and follow another 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 to the left. Soon, the trail divides into several branches. Bear right and follow the route that goes closest to the cliffs, and you will come to another side trail that leads to yet another viewpoint. In the spring, daffodils and periwinkle bloom in this area.
A short distance ahead, 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.