Saturday, June 28, 2014

Breakneck Ridge Hikin'

For our one year annivesary, my boyfriend and I woke up bright and early in Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn took the subway to Grand Central for Metro North for one of 3 trains on Saturdays that stops at the Breckneck Ridge trailhead. It took about 2.5 hours in all to get there. It's really great that one of the most challenging hikes in the area is so easily accessible from the city. This has it's downsides, of course, because everyone and their mom and dog goes on this hike - the experienced and not, but this is only frustrating for the first 45 minutes or so when everyone is waiting in line to rock scramble their way up to almost 1,000 ft - with glorious views of the Hudson River, Storm King Mountain, and Pollepel Island/Bannerman's Castle.

If you click on this photo you will see 
the view of the rock scramble 
from Little Stony Point Park
Hike Length: 3.8 miles
Hike Time: About 5 hours **We took our time once we saw ruins**
Peak Elevation: 1,260 ft (384m)

Everyone starts the trail the same way, on the White trail - it is the rock scramble which gives this hike a 9 out of 10 on difficulty on New York-New Jersey Trail Conference website, but honestly the rest of the trail we did was easy, breezy so Josh and I agreed on rounding it off at 6 out of 10 due to the rock scramble. Side note: I purchased a set of maps for East Hudson Trails from Paragon Sports printed by the NYNJTC - really helpful, clear, colorful maps of the trails. I highly recommend them!

Our path: White - then a right at the blue trail which turns into the red trail for a hot minute and then we're back on blue (Cornish trail) which ends out across the tracks from Little Stony Point Park.

Climbing the rock scramble for about an hour off and on.
(And thanks to my great, former supervisor Lauri for that backpack - 2 years later it's still going strong!)
Feelin' successful and we're only 10 minutes in.
Hudson River and a piece of Storm King Mountain.
Hudson River views.
Pollepel Island with Bannerman Castle
You can see the train tracks that brought us to the trailhead.

This was Josh's third hike ever. It's been so exciting sharing these adventures with him.
Here is Josh stunned and bewildered that we still have all that way to get to the top of Breakneck.

Pollepel Island/Bannerman's Castle
I love dead trees in a sea of greenery.
Great day, and a great way to celebrate a year together!
Green field along the blue trail.
The epic ruins we saw on this hike surpass the old hotel ruins we saw on Overlook Mountain the month before. Northgate or the Edward J. Cornish Estate was a 650 acre estate with a mansion, garage, swimming pool, garden, barn, and assumingly much, much more. The ruins along these trails have been falling apart since 1938 when Cornish and his wife died two weeks apart. Of course when we hiked this trail we did not know these details and simply marveled at the beauty of them all. If you are curious to see what the estate/mansion looked like in roughly 1918, please follow this link: Northgate original photos.

Old barn ruins along the Blue trail
Old barn ruins.
Old barn ruins.
Who used to live here?
Paper beats rock? Nature beats human.
Hi, honey! I'm home!
More ruins!
Much further down, already on the Cornish/blue trail - A well or a swimming pool?
An old Greenhouse in an old green forest.
Most beautiful ruins towards the end of the blue/Cornish trail - Northgate/Cornish Estate
Northgate/Cornish Estate Ruins - This must have been the mansion, it was my favorite as the grass and trees grew all around it making it look so magical.
Northgate/Cornish Estate Ruins
Northgate/Cornish Estate Ruins. Glorious, look at those plants!
Northgate/Cornish Estate Ruins.

Once we exited the trail we were right on a road and train tracks across from Little Stony Point, a peaceful spot to swim or dip your toes into the Hudson River after a long hike. We unfortunately under packed water with us so we could not stay here long, but we did get to sit and rest before we moved onward to Cold Spring for an early dinner (photos not included).

Little Stony Point - a lovely spot on the Hudson River
Peace on the Hudson River East.
Train tracks led us back home...


  1. Hi,

    I'd really like to take the route you took to hike Breakneck Ridge. When you ended your hike at Little Stony Point Park, how did you get from there to Breakneck Ridge Station?

    Is it more than a 15 min walk/ convenient to get back to the station?

    Really appreciate your response, thanks :)

    1. Hi!

      You would have to walk to the Cold Spring Station as the Breakneck Ridge Station only drops people off at 2-3 times on weekend mornings. The walk is about 15-20 minutes. At first you're walking along the road, but then you wind up in town, close to the Hudson River and walk on the sidewalk. It's a very small town and area, so it should be easy to find and if not, just ask anyone you run into =)

      Hope this helps and I'm sorry for the late response.