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We started our hiking season early last spring with this classic trek and I'm secure enough to admit that a winter of sitting on the couch watching CSI and eating chocolate donuts left me sucking wind as I slowly ambled up the side of this formidable mountain. Six months of cycling, paddling, and hiking have left me in much better shape and this time up I plan to bound up this steep rock face, scrambling from boulder to boulder as effortlessly as a butterfly flits from one flower to another.
If you don't know, now you know ...
Named one of the 10 best hikes in the country, Breakneck Ridge steeply climbs the mountainside up from the Hudson River, and has many spectacular views of the Hudson Valley and surrounding area. If you're from the tri-state area and haven't done this hike then you haven't really hiked. I won't beat around the bush -- this is a tough one with very challenging terrain to cover, we'll be doing some serious rock scrambling and tackling some near vertical ascents but the reward is well worth the effort.
After the hike if we still have any energy left we'll wander into the nearby historic village of Cold Spring to take a look around and have a bite to eat.
The important stuff ...
This is an intermediate/advanced level hike of about 6 miles and I recommend that attendees be in good cardiovascular shape -- being a triathlete isn't necessary but "exercise" shouldn't be a four-letter word to you. There are numerous rock scrambles and a 1,260 foot elevation gain so be prepared for a challenge. Also, if you have a fear of heights this might not be a good hike for you. There are areas where you will skirt along ledges and near lengthy drop offs.
This is a social hike, the pace will be moderate -- we'll be stopping to take in the views and smell the flowers. If you yearn to channel your inner Mountain Goat and feel the need to race everyone to the top of the mountain, this is not the hiking trip for you. Dress in layers of non-cotton clothing, wear hiking boots or trail shoes (I wouldn't recommend sneakers but that is at your discretion), a hat, bring 3 liters of fluid, a packed lunch and/or snacks, sunscreen, and insect repellent. Rain cancels the hike. No guests allowed, sorry. RSVP only if you seriously plan to attend as space is limited. If you RSVP and I notice you have a number of no shows or a history of last minute cancellations, you will be removed. I will distribute my mobile phone number to the confirmed RSVPs two days before the event. Don't leave home without it. How to get there ....
Take the Metro-North East Hudson Line to the Breakneck Ridge flag station, the 8:50 AM train from Grand Central gets you there at 10:05 AM. The off peak round-trip train fare is $24.50 and make sure you are sitting in the last car to get off at this station. When you disembark, walk about a half mile South down Route 9D to the start of the trailhead, which is on the Southbound side of the road, just before the entrance to the Breakneck Ridge tunnel underpass. (See photo below.)
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 the small parking area on the left (West) side of the road. (See photo below. 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).
This hike is cross-posted in Evenings and Weekends in NYC. Check there when trying to set up a carpool