This awesome hike begins from the highest point of the New Jersey Palisades and steeply descends 530 feet to the Hudson River. Part of the trail is an obstacle course through a sea of boulders and part of it is a series of stone steps leading downward. Wear sturdy hiking shoes because some of the huge rocks are smooth and slippery—particularly when weather conditions are wet or icy.
Although this hike is strenuous in places, it’s well worth any muscle aches you may have afterward, for the views beneath volcanically formed vertical columns are exceptional. No doubt, Italian explorer Giovanni de Verrazano was impressed when he discovered the Palisades in 1524, which he referred to as a “fence of stakes.” Heavy quarrying once threatened this area, but when Congress established the Palisades Interstate Park Commission, the natural beauty of these basaltic cliffs was preserved for all to enjoy. The cliffs of the New Jersey section, whose present appearance dates back about 12,000 years to the Ice Age, have been named a National Historic Landmark and also a National Natural Landmark.
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