Located in the Hudson Highlands State Park, Breakneck Ridge is a fantastic hike that at many parts will see you ascending at more of a climb than a straight walk. The vertical ascent is very challenging, but the views at the top more than makeup for the expended effort. Along the way, you may be treated to glimpses of eagles, vultures, hawks, and deer among other wildlife here.
Newsweek magazine lists Breakneck Ridge as one of the top 10 hikes in the US, and it is one of the most popular hiking spots in the region, but not because it’s an easy hike. The white trail takes you up the face of the mountain and is more of a rock scramble, not for the faint of heart or those who are not in good shape. But it is popular, and you’ll find crowds there on weekends. You’ll marvel at the views of Storm King Mountain, Bannerman Castle on Pollepel Island (a crumbling castle that had once been an ammunitions stockade), Mount Beacon, and the Newburgh-Beacon Bridge over the Hudson River.
The 2.8-mile Breakneck Ridge Trail is easily accessible by car via Route 9D and by train from Manhattan via Metro-North’s Hudson Line. Wear comfortable athletic shoes or hiking boots and bring plenty of water and snacks.
The most important thing you want to do is arrive at Breakneck Ridge early in the morning..preferably before 8 a.m. That way you can get a decent parking spot relatively close to the trailhead and you can avoid the crowds, because trust us, Breakneck Ridge will get crowded after around 10a.m..especially during the weekend.
With picture taking and breaks, this hike should take no more than 5 hours.
Trekking poles and lightweight Camelbak Hydration backpacks are recommended..cuz honestly, who wants to carry around plastic bottles for 4-6 hours...
On the way down, to challenge yourself, you can go back down the way you came, which is also shorter. Or you could follow the white trail till you hit the yellow and red, which will bring you back to the main road. Follow the road till you get back to the parking areas