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Let's Scramble Breakneck

  • Nov 18, 2012 · 10:00 AM
  • This location is shown only to members

Level: Strenuous rated by AMC

Length: 6 miles

A demanding hike up the steepest and most exposed scenic trail in the Highlands, with sustained views from open ridges and returning through quiet forests. The steep windswept spine of Breakneck Ridge is considered the most difficult and rugged ascent in the Highlands. Rising from nearly sea level on the Hudson at Breakneck Point, to 1,100 feet on Breakneck’s summit in less than 0.5 mile, it is a rock scramble requiring an all-fours approach.


The hike begins on west (southbound) side of the road just north of the underpass where you will find the Breakneck Ridge Trail (white blazes). This first section of the hike involves 1.5 miles of sometimes difficult climbing and rock scrambling.

The Notch trail (blue blazed) will merge with the Breakneck Ridge trail. Continue following the combined trails. The trails will make a left onto an unpaved, unmarked and rough woods road. Very soon after you will reach a fork in the road where the Breakneck Ridge and the Notch trails will take the right fork. You should take the left fork. About half a mile later make another left onto the Wilkinson Memorial trail (yellow blazes - some of which may have faded to white). In about 1.5 miles you will reach two nice views (and good lunch spots!) from atop Sugarloaf Mountain. Continue on Wilkinson trail until it takes you back to the road and your car (on the left).

Driving Directions

Take the Palisades Interstate Parkway to its northern terminus at the Bear Mountain Bridge. Cross the bridge and proceed north on N.Y. Route 9D for about 8.5 miles to the Village of Cold Spring. Continue ahead on Route 9D for another two miles past the intersection with N.Y. Route 301 in Cold Spring. Immediately after passing through a tunnel under Breakneck Ridge, park in a small parking area on the left (west) side of the road. (If this parking area is full, continue north for another 0.2 mile to a much larger parking area on the west side of the road).


Metro-North Hudson Line to Beacon station. The trail entrance is approximately 1.5 miles from the train station. As you come out of the train station on the side of the town of Beacon turn right onto Beekman St (towards Dia Beacon). After 0.4 miles Beacon St. turns into Wolcott Ave. Keep walking on Wolcott Ave until it makes a sharp right turn at Howland Ave. The trail entrance will be on your left.

Hike overview: Scramble/hike up Breakneck along the white trail. Then take the blue trail to the yellow (Wilkinson) trail over Sugarloaf Mountain and back to the parking.

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  • A former member
    A former member

    Thanks Julie for Leading me to Breakneck for the first time. Totally awesome!!!!
    Next time we take it too Beacon. Great hike!!!

    November 19, 2012

  • Julie

    My cell number is[masked]-7809. Looking forward to seeing you tomorrow!

    November 17, 2012

  • Julie

    Thanks, Jim. It should be fixed now. The hike is in Cold Spring, NY, not Queens.

    November 17, 2012

  • A former member
    A former member

    The link shows an address in Queens NY!!

    November 17, 2012

  • A former member
    A former member

    FYI....My plus one can't make it now..

    November 17, 2012

  • A former member
    A former member

    Anyone interested carpool?l

    November 14, 2012

7 went

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